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Old 07-08-2013, 10:32 PM   #1
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Knowing your boats systems

I was down at the marina for the last few days.I decided to take a break and walk over to the big boats side of the marina.l am currently still looking at a purchase in the future of a much larger boat.I am learning my way by meeting people with really large boats and talking to them and so on.Everyone is always nice and I always get invited aboard.However I discovered that many folks no nothing about what is under the cabin sole.It really hit me yesterday when I met a couple of fellows that both have fuel polishers on board and have no idea how to use them.They don't even touch any of the manifolds for fear of disaster. To me the disaster is not knowing what is down there.I know some people pay to have everything done in the engine room.But it would seem to me every skipper should know something about basic things like fuel tanks/manifolds etc.When our day comes for a larger vessel. Who is going too show me what to do? I don't expect many responses to this post.But it has been bothering me.Just something to ponder.

Sent from my Galaxy SIII using speech to text.so some words may not be perfect.but it's easier.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:52 PM   #2
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To me the disaster is not knowing what is down there.
You nailed it.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:08 PM   #3
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To me the disaster is not knowing what is down there.
Actually, for me it was the disasters that taught me what is down there.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:24 PM   #4
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Actually, for me it was the disasters that taught me what is down there.
I think to varying degrees we can all relate to that.
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Old 07-09-2013, 12:34 AM   #5
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Sent from my Galaxy SIII using speech to text.so some words may not be perfect.but it's easier.
How do you like that phone and the speech to text feature?
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:55 AM   #6
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Personally I feel that boat repair skills are part of what makes a good captain.

Good judgement
Good boat handling skills
Good boat repair skills.

Those three things make for a successful captain. Take any one of them away and there is a much higher risk during voyages.
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:34 AM   #7
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We have had folks stop by our dock in FL , and were invited aboard for a look see , to the sounds of various beeps chirps and other noises.

All from the sophisticated electric toys a dealer stuck on the owner had no idea how to operate , after running down for 1/2 the loop from Chicago!!!

Under the cabin sole ? No idea at all.Dealer service call for an oil change.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Spraygun View Post
I was down at the marina for the last few days.I decided to take a .................................But it would seem to me every skipper should know something about basic things like fuel tanks/manifolds etc.When our day comes for a larger vessel. Who is going too show me what to do? I don't expect many responses to this post.But it has been bothering me.Just something to ponder.

Sent from my Galaxy SIII using speech to text.so some words may not be perfect.but it's easier.
Well...the best I can do is the classic answer.... depends.

In all walks of life we learn the ropes from someone.

The time proven method of learning is "hear it, read it, question it, hear some more, read some more, get tested on it, go out and do it then review what has been learned. While easy for all my military training...kinda hard when part time learning about your own boat. And finding the "teacher" is also pretty difficult.

Finding someone who actually knows enough about all your systems yet is real enough to stop and say.."I don't know but I'll find out" is a rare quality. Most boaters I know just keep talking and bluff their way through some explanation that is derived from bit and pieces of info they sorta remember from a bunch of sources whether those sources were even remotely correct.

So you have a couple choices...try and find a person or several people who have amassed the info from working on boats for a long time that also will willingly share their time with you....or for the more expensive pieces of gear on your boat...hire professionals with some form of factory training to come and explain the system to you. Expensive...but often worth the money for systems where operator or maintenance error can be really expensive.

You are going to be in the same shoes for awhile that many delivery captains are in many days of the year. You take a job...show up to a boat...with a little time and basic understanding of boat systems...start'em up, and drive the boat for hundred's if not thousands of miles. The trick is to know when something isn't right and be able to shut it down and somehow proceed on. Some of us try and fix the system, some call the pro's for even a dripping faucet...we are all a little the same and yet all a little different....that's true of boat owners too.

So the question is...especially as boats get bigger...just how many fields of expertise are you willing to learn (that means get the explaination... then research the doodoo out of it to make sure your instructor wasn't full of doodoo....)?

There are sources available....the local assistance towing captain may help some if you trust him/her (I'm constantly in that situation), the "old timers over a beer or two(most of those you REALLY have to sort through the BS), some great mechanics/techs that have plenty of work will often throw a bone here or there because they know it's good for business....

But all in all...good things usually don't come cheap or free (forever)...so realy good advice is going to take a lot of effort on your part because just asking anyone can actually be worse than you just plodding through all the systems yourself until you feel confident in asking the right questions to the right people.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:59 AM   #9
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I should add that I do all the work on my own boat now. Stem to stern I handle it all. So I am not afraid. I take a piece of knowledge from each person that I meet.And I am always grateful. I am just really shocked at how many people don't know what's down there. I think the biggest problem is going to learn how to get one of those things out the slip and back in. Now for that I will need training.

Sent from my Galaxy SIII using speech to text.so some words may not be perfect.but it's easier.
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:21 AM   #10
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"Who is going too show me what to do?"

In the US Navy they always create a PDL, pass down log.

Not many owners bother so part of purchasing the boat will be a day or more with the owner attempting to create one.

Better if you can to do this BEFORE a purchase , as finding the owner doesn't know what type of oil , or antifreez is being used would be a big turnoff.

Of course if the boat is a Hat or Bertram or Rybovitch and kept at that yard with 100% yard maint , a talk with the maint foreman is in order.

A C note or 3 for his time to help create a PDL would be currency well spent.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:10 AM   #11
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Yeah....I fully understand what you are saying.I do not have an inexhaustible trust fund. To have someone come change my oil or turn a valve for me.I really enjoy gettin in there and turning a wrench or something. Making something better than when I found it. This weekend I cleaned my heat exchanger and replaced the mixing elbow and checked out the whole cooling system. When I was all done it was a job well done..... No wait a job done well! It's just the bigger the boat the bigger the pieces.

Sent from my Galaxy SIII using speech to text.so some words may not be perfect.but it's easier.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:12 AM   #12
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The people who know the most about their boat are the DIYers who spend hours keeping everything running. They are the least likely to become prey to the many unscrupulous repair people that infest the industry. As a boater, knowledge is a defensive weapon to be used to protect yourself from thievery. Woe to the boater who calls a repairman, "my mechanic"; he is a sheep waiting to be slaughtered.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:16 AM   #13
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Then there's the owner like me who has the experience and knowledge but prefers to tell the mechanic what to do.

If it breaks somewhere where I can't find someone, then I will fix it. Until then, no thanks.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:21 AM   #14
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but prefers to tell the mechanic what to do.
It seems to me that every time I do hire a mechanic to work on the boat, I spend a considerable amount of time after they are finished, fixing whatever the heck they were working on (or whatever they stepped on and broke next to what they were working on). That's one way to learn your boat's systems.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:25 AM   #15
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It seems to me that every time I do hire a mechanic to work on the boat, I spend a considerable amount of time after they are finished, fixing whatever the heck they were working on (or whatever they stepped on and broke next to what they were working on). That's one way to learn your boat's systems.
I just had a guy install a fuel sending unit backwards so when the tank is full, it read empty.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:32 AM   #16
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Ha, ha! Same here, I just had a new steering ram installed and a new autopilot pump installed, which they wired up backwards and didn't bother to test! Oops!
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:36 AM   #17
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The sad part is, I had fuel trucked in, while it was on the hard, so they could test the operation.

So when I topped them off, it read empty...
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Old 07-09-2013, 03:59 PM   #18
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Personally I feel that boat repair skills are part of what makes a good captain.

Good judgement
Good boat handling skills
Good boat repair skills.

Those three things make for a successful captain. Take any one of them away and there is a much higher risk during voyages.
But what about speech to text?
My boat understands speech, I tell it to go straight and it goes straight. I tell it to turn and it goes straight. So it understands half my speech so far.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:12 PM   #19
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Just plug your Android cellphone into your autopilot..... Then give all those commands

Sent from my Galaxy SIII using speech to text.so some words may not be perfect.but it's easier.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:19 PM   #20
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But what about speech to text?
My boat understands speech, I tell it to go straight and it goes straight. I tell it to turn and it goes straight. So it understands half my speech so far.
The IPAD generation will quickly realize that there is no "boat fix" app.
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