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Old 07-06-2019, 08:05 PM   #1
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What is the most stupid thing you have ever done on your boat?

I'll even start it off with a stupid DOOZIE, expensive too. But I am interested in learning if anyone else has done really stupid things to their boat ?

I was changing the oil in my fuel injection pump a few years back. I noticed a bolt sticking out of the pump a good two inches, It was very loose. The boat was new to me and my first diesel. The questionable bolt was not even finger tight and looked like it was ready to fall into the bilge. I tightened it right down and thought what a smart guy I was and how lucky to find that loose bolt. I climbed out of the engine room and hit the starter, nothing! Back down to look around and I find that I have literally blown the side right out of the injection pump. The bolt was mis-sized and was only an oil level indicator bolt. Screwing it in put it right into the mechanics of the pump. $2,000 dollars later I can now laugh about it.

I have more, how about this esteemed group?

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Old 07-06-2019, 08:19 PM   #2
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Getting on a boat in the first place.
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Old 07-06-2019, 08:59 PM   #3
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Wrapped dinghy tow rope in prop. Lucky enough to have just dropped and set anchor. Had to Pan Pan Coast Guard to send diver out because water was so cold.

Next summer, we had a floating tow rope and a determination to pull dinghy in close to the boat while maneuvering slowly, until we didn’t. Turns out a floating rope gets pulled under when prop is in reverse. Luckily, I had just grabbed the mooring bouy.

Had to Pan Pan out of that one as well but we were so far up a mountainous inlet the Coast Guard could hardly hear me. Turned out that friends of ours with dive gear were nearby.

Our daughter asked, “Why do we tow the dinghy anyway?”

“Because it’s convenient” was my shameful reply.

We don’t tow anymore.
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:34 PM   #4
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One day had to transfer some fuel to balance out the boat. So I positioned all the valves to the proper positions and turned on the transfer pump. Except the ones that allowed fuel to flow to and from the pump. If the generator had not been running I could have heard the pump was not working properly. The pump burned itself up in a short time. Cost about $400.00 for a new pump. Now I do not transfer fuel when anything else is running that would prevent me from hearing the pump run. (The new pump has a built in circuit breaker)

This happened on the previous boat. Only had it a short while when we took it out for a local overnight trip. When we got up in the morning the batteries were dead, both starting and house batteries. I thought no problem, just start the generator and recharge them. Turn's out the previous owner had programmed the inverter so it would not reconnect if the battery voltage fell below a certain voltage. Cost the insurance company about $500.00 that day to have us towed back to the marina where the inverter/charger began to charge immediately upon connecting to shore power. Only found out what had happened after thoroughly reading the owners manual on the inverter.
What made it extra bad was the tow boat skipper, my wife, and myself had to pull up about 150' of chain and a heavy anchor by hand.

But my most expensive mistake cost me a diesel generator. I learned if the generator doesn't start, don't keep cranking, as the lift muffler will fill with water and will back up into the engine. Once that happens it's lights out!!! Bent a connecting rod and seized the engine. This one cost me over $7,000
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:40 PM   #5
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I had to meet a friend at a boat ramp. I was to trailer his boat to his house for the winter. I have a 3500 Cummins truck . I get to the ramp and back the trailer down. He’s taking a long time run the boat there so I set the brake, put it in park and get out of the truck. I put a chock behind the front wheel. 30 minutes later he arrives. The ramp is getting busy. We load the boat. I get in the truck . Put it in low and go up the ramp. The boat feels heavy so I lay into the big diesel. It still isn’t coming up so more throttle. Then I hear a loud bang and the truck shoot up the ramp.
Apparently I forgot the 6x6 chock and when the back duel wheels hit it , it stopped the truck from climbing the ramp. That wasn’t the bad part. When the wheels climbed over the chock it shot it out like a rocket. It bounced off the hull of the boat then hit the boat next to it, then hit the Local PD boat tied to the dock.
Not my finest hour
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:55 PM   #6
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Just one more.... We had just arrived at Nanaimo BC after several hours of running into head winds that created about 2-3 wind waves and made it hard to see dangers in the water. I stopped outside the marina to pull in the fishing boat I was towing and tie it along side the big boat. I stepped onto the swim step, looked down and saw we had a crab line trailing under the water behind us. I grabbed the dock pole, hooked onto the line, and started pulling it in, letting it coil up and lay on the swim step. A lot of line came up but then it stopped. I did not know if it was wrapped around the prop, or snagged on a rudder or a stabilizer fin. So I just left it there on the swim step and began pulling in the fish boat, letting about 100 feet of very expensive Amsteel line fall on the swim step on top of the crab line.

When I got to the dock I noticed I lost some control over the steering and hit the dock fairly hard. After we were tied up, I walked back to deal with the crab line, but it was gone, along with my tow line. When I put the boat in gear the crab line started wrapping once again around the shaft and then it pulled down the tow line too. Had to call a diver who cut both lines out. Cost over $300.00 for a new tow line and $100.00 for a diver, and when I hit the dock I damaged a side gate/door and had to replace the hinges on that.
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:07 PM   #7
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when we had the little boat we pulled up to the the launch and a 27' Baja was stuck under the gangplank while still trailerd, had skidded on the seaweed. A tow truck was trying to pull them out but tide was heading out. It was a lost cause w damage to Baja increasing.


After wating 30 min I got out and told the folks they should wait for high tide and them just take boat off trailer and they could get pulled out. They asked when was high tide, I said 6 hrs but hey it's July 4 and the could watch the fire works while they waited.

I then got my bot trailered and headed home
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:15 PM   #8
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I learned the hard way that my fuel gauge wasn't worth a damn. I made it all the way from Clayton, NY to a point about a thousand feet from the fuel dock in Sylvan Beach before it conked out. The damn thing still said I had a third of a tank left. I dropped the anchor and tried calling Towboat US on the vhf. I had coverage, and was anchored within sight of their boat, but nobody answered. Fortunately, a kind passerby on a sea doo came to my aid, and towed me to the fuel dock, which had just closed. He then took me to the nearest gas station so I could fill up a Jerry can to make it the last tenth of a mile of the journey.

It was pretty embarrassing.
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Old 07-07-2019, 12:04 AM   #9
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I posted this before under the subhead: Two words . . . and the first one’s “cluster” . . .

On our first trip, delivering our Defever from Palm Coast to the Chesapeake, I fell victim to the dreaded schedule. I drove a rental to town, picked my son up at the airport at 9:30 pm and planned to be underway as early as possible the next day--on a boat neither of us had run before nor fully understood.

After several delays--and with making it to the mooring fields at Fernandina topmost in my mind--we left Palm Coast a couple hours later than planned. We were enjoying the lovely Florida views for at least a half hour when it dawned us that we'd turned south into the ditch instead of north. Chalk up another hour.

We arrived at Fernandina in the dark and tried to pick up a pennant from one of the balls. I grabbed one by hand and thought I could hold the boat until it steadied in place against the heavy current--before walking it to the bow. (I'd done this with our 7,200-lb. sailboat; how much harder could it be for a 44,000-lb trawler?) In the dark, I hadn't noticed the pennant was covered with tiny mollusks. The current ripped it out of my grip and the barnacles, or whatever, made hash out of my hand.

With all the blood and cursing, my son--on the helm--didn't notice that we'd drifted over the pennant and were now fouled and firmly stuck on it. After flirting with the idea of diving on it -- in the dark, in the strong current and with a bloody hand (what could go wrong with that?)--I decided we'd stay put. I woke up a couple guys on an adjacent sailboat who dinghied our anchor up-current for some additional piece of mind. (They couldn't have been more helpful.)

The next day, a diver freed the prop in about two minutes and reported no visible damage. We stayed put another day and night and just reviewed every system on the boat. We also practiced picking up a pennant the right way until we could do it in the dark if we had to.

Of the many lessons I learned on this fiasco, number one for me was that being in a hurry just compounds the likelihood of mistakes. Two was: things can go wrong quickly. And three was: never tell my wife about my stoopid boating tricks.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:11 AM   #10
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Dumb stuff

Ok there are so many but this is the first to come to mind. My wife and I were cruising blissfully on a spring day at Catalina Island. Suddenly, up ahead and just offshore were a pod of dolphin. I was towing my dinghy and immediately reminded myself not to put the vessel in reverse. We putt putt slowly into the middle of the pod and enjoy watching them frolic around the boat. Then we drifted past them and, well you knew what I was going to do from the very beginning, right? Yep put her in reverse. Gobbled up the tow line. Froze the engines. So it took me all of about 5 seconds to know there was no choice but to quickly strip, jump in the water with mask and blade and fix the problem. You see we were maybe 40 yards offshore. Luckily I got the lines cut up and off before it got any worse.
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Old 07-07-2019, 02:17 AM   #11
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I noticed several of these stories involve propellers and ropes. Do you think line cutters on the prop might be a good idea?

Ok here is my story.
When I was a teenager, I bought an old lapstrake Chris Craft and fixed it up. I learned a lot on that project. Even rebuilt the engine my self.

The problem came when I hooked the steering back up. The steering system was a bunch of gears and push rods. How do I hook it up correctly? I turned the wheel hard starboard, shoved the rudder hard starboard and made the connection. Seemed logical.

You guessed it. When I launched the damn thing, it would only go to starboard! I made a big circle and somehow made it back to the dock. Lesson learned.
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Old 07-07-2019, 05:41 AM   #12
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Never let a local boater show you a short cut until you know the draft of their boat.

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Old 07-07-2019, 06:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
I noticed several of these stories involve propellers and ropes. Do you think line cutters on the prop might be a good idea?
Good point, Parks. We’ve got line-cutters and, while fine for crab pots, they wouldn’t do much against a one-inch +/- mooring pennant.
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Old 07-07-2019, 06:55 AM   #14
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I once departed with the lid of my sea strainer open... didn't take long for me to overheat.
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:07 AM   #15
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Selling a wonderful custom designed and built aluminum trawler. Should have kept it forever!
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:11 AM   #16
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Water in the fuel tank

The boat has 6 deck fills. 4 for fuel and 2 for water. The aft fuel fills and water fills are very close to each other. A couple of shots of whiskey involved, well maybe more than a couple, it's after dark and "I don't need no stinkin flashlight! I know which chrome fill plug is which!"
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:37 AM   #17
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My friends sail boat was serviced and back in the water. They assembled the variable prop backwards. We backed out of the slip only to find out reverse was forward. The stupid part is we did it 3 times.
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Old 07-07-2019, 09:14 AM   #18
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I have a dripless shaft seal and usually a clean dry bilge. On day I find a small amount of water in the bilge, so I do the dip finger and taste test to see if it is salt or fresh water. Neither, it was battery electrolite, the old charger had gone off and was boiling the batts.
Got a burn on my lip and on the tip of my tounge. That hurt! Never again!
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Old 07-07-2019, 09:25 AM   #19
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I’ve posted this before but here’s for those who missed it. In 2008 my old T-shirt got caught on the shaft coupler while I was wearing it. In an instant I was pulled on to the shaft as my head slammed into the transmission. The T-shirt was ripped off in about 1/100 of a second. From the pictures you can see the burns and bruising that resulted as the T shirt was ripped off. Every time I look in the mirror I have a permanent reminder of how stupid I was and also how lucky I am. Needless to say we have a changed a few procedures.
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Old 07-07-2019, 09:35 AM   #20
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I aint telling.
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