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Old 12-20-2015, 08:09 AM   #1
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Adding Access Port To A Fiberglass Tank

Mornin' y'all...

Bess and I are big believers in keeping tanks clean. In our last boat, withing the first few weeks of owning it, we opened the fresh water tank to find some of the most putrid and disgusting water... and we were drinking that stuff!!! So FFW to today. Our new boat has heavy-duty centerline fiberglass tank (100-ish gallons) with no access panel that I can see. So I want to add one. Any tips? Would a standard screw-out port work?



I will try and post pics of the area later today.

Thanks!
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Old 12-20-2015, 08:17 AM   #2
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Water, fuel, waste ?
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Old 12-20-2015, 08:18 AM   #3
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Tom:

Sea Built Seabuilt - Access Plate Systems offers off the shelf inspection ports in aluminum and stainless steel, I'd choose the latter for a water tank. They are relatively easy to install, however, where FRP tanks are concerned, if the sealing surface where the port is to be installed is too rough or uneven, it may require some profiling with thickened epoxy, making a leveling shim of sorts. I've done this many times, it's not difficult for someone with composites experience.
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Old 12-20-2015, 08:24 AM   #4
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Greetings,
Mr. TB. Depending on the baffle arrangement, if any, more than one port may be necessary AND placement of aforementioned baffles should be considered for the cutting of access holes.
Oh, as an aside with your morning coffee...There's a good chance the water you're NOW drinking used to be dinosaur pee.

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Old 12-20-2015, 08:31 AM   #5
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Water, fuel, waste ?
This is our fresh water tank.
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Old 12-20-2015, 08:36 AM   #6
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Contact the manufacturer for baffle layout, if any.

That said, I have never felt the need to go into the water tank. I would consider throwing a half teaspoon of bleach per gallon in and going for a ride in some chop then draining. On subsequent fills add 1/8 teaspoons bleach per gallon.

However, for drinking, coffee etc I always use bottled water.
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Old 12-20-2015, 08:36 AM   #7
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Greetings,
Mr. TB. Depending on the baffle arrangement, if any, more than one port may be necessary AND placement of aforementioned baffles should be considered for the cutting of access holes.
Yea... I thought of that too. I think I can pull the filler tube and see enough in there to make that call.
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Old 12-20-2015, 08:38 AM   #8
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Yea... I thought of that too. I think I can pull the filler tube and see enough in there to make that call.
Everyone needs one of these: (or better)

http://www.amazon.com/Solar-Eclipse-...bs_401578011_5
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Old 12-20-2015, 08:40 AM   #9
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Contact the manufacturer for baffle layout, if any.

That said, I have never felt the need to go into the water tank. I would consider throwing a half teaspoon of bleach per gallon in and going for a ride in some chop then draining. On subsequent fills add 1/8 teaspoons bleach per gallon.

However, for drinking, coffee etc I always use bottled water.
Navigator went out of business in 2013. However, if you saw what we saw in 2009 when we opened our water tank on our old boat, you would understand why we feel the need to take a peek. I mean, you don't know what people have been putting in there. RV anti-freeze? That sh|t is nasty! Even just general dirt we'd like to get out if it is in there.
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Old 12-20-2015, 08:41 AM   #10
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This is our fresh water tank.
You can buy something like in your original post for $10 or so or you can spend a lot more and get something that's made for a tank access port.

The one in the photo will be fine if it's mounted on the top of the tank. If you want to put it on the side where it will be covered with water, the more expensive port would be a better choice.

I installed one of the cheap ones on the top of my holding tank. It works.
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Old 12-20-2015, 08:43 AM   #11
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You can buy something like in your original post for $10 or so or you can spend a lot more and get something that's made for a tank access port.

The one in the photo will be fine if it's mounted on the top of the tank. If you want to put it on the side where it will be covered with water, the more expensive port would be a better choice.

I installed one of the cheap ones on the top of my holding tank. It works.
It will, indeed, be on the top of the tank.
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Old 12-20-2015, 08:43 AM   #12
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That type of port should be fine in the top of a water tank. Some fiberglass cuttings are going to get into the tank when you cut the opening. You probably filter the water coming out of the tank so that shouldn't be much of a problem.
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Old 12-20-2015, 08:51 AM   #13
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That type of port should be fine in the top of a water tank. Some fiberglass cuttings are going to get into the tank when you cut the opening. You probably filter the water coming out of the tank so that shouldn't be much of a problem.
Actually, the boat doesn't have one... BUT... adding a filter system to the boat FW system IS on the list.
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Old 12-20-2015, 09:13 AM   #14
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Navigator went out of business in 2013. However, if you saw what we saw in 2009 when we opened our water tank on our old boat, you would understand why we feel the need to take a peek. I mean, you don't know what people have been putting in there. RV anti-freeze? That sh|t is nasty! Even just general dirt we'd like to get out if it is in there.
Actually Tom it isn't just in boats. I was a contractor for many years and when we would do demo work for a remodel some times I would show people what the inside of their water pipes looked like. It is pretty gross. And it is in everyone's pipes. It is just the nature of water to have things grow in it. If your house is 10 years old you do not want to see the inside of your pipes especially copper pipes.
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Old 12-20-2015, 09:21 AM   #15
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Actually Tom it isn't just in boats. I was a contractor for many years and when we would do demo work for a remodel some times I would show people what the inside of their water pipes looked like. It is pretty gross. And it is in everyone's pipes. It is just the nature of water to have things grow in it. If your house is 10 years old you do not want to see the inside of your pipes especially copper pipes.
Ewwwww.... Thanks for that.
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Old 12-20-2015, 09:55 AM   #16
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A couple of months ago, Practical Sailor magazine did a three part series on water systems. The first article was on treating and filtering the water as you put it in the tank. The second article was about cleaning the water system. The third was on treating and filtering the water as it comes out of the tank. It was very well done. A fellow who posts on the Cruisers Forum named Thinwater did the testing. He liked a product called Puriclean, that I bring in from the UK, for cleaning biofilm out of tanks and hoses.
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Old 12-20-2015, 11:05 AM   #17
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I would be hesitant to use a plastic access panel on centerline tank presumably located below the water line. A hole in the hull into the tank could pop the access panel and sink the boat. I would not be concerned about using that access panel on a tank located above the waterline.
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Old 12-20-2015, 11:14 AM   #18
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Greetings,
Mr. TB. Mr. T raises an excellent point about sinking potential. I do agree with you that an access port is of high importance for any tank and having seen the quality of your work in person, I'm confident that ANY alterations you do will be of the highest quality so maybe a more robust port is in order.
Our inspection ports (water & fuel on all 4 tanks) are about 2' in diameter and secured with 20 or so 5/8" nuts on studs. I have had the water tank cover off and the tank is cavernous with multiple baffles. From what I could see, there was a very, very slight coating of ??? in a few areas but nothing that gave me any concern.
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Old 12-20-2015, 11:43 AM   #19
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Yes, the hull integrity point is very valid.

Don't know how handy you are with glass, but the setup Mr. RTF describes would take a little plywood, resin/hardener, saw dust and some good stainless steel hardware. Doesn't have to be perfect finish, it's out of sight.

This would allow you to make a bigger hole, which would be more functional.

Get out the jigsaw!
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Old 12-20-2015, 11:55 AM   #20
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Greetings,
Forgot to mention...Our access ports appear to be 3/8" thick FRP sheet. VERY robust.
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