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Old 02-17-2015, 06:11 PM   #1
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SEACOCKs QUESTION

I bought a used 42 ft Grand Banks 18 months ago and I'm really enjoying not only cruising but learning as much as I can about every aspect of the boat - Here's my question: I have 7 sea cocks. I make routine inspections to make sure hoses and clamps look good (no old cracked-looking hoses, etc), and say twice a year at minimum, close all of them and clean the basket strainers. But when I leave the boat for a week or maybe 2, I do not close the sea cocks. I figure if a really slow leak began at a clamp, the bilge pump could handle it. What do most trawler owners do when they are away from their boat for a week or two at a time? Close all seacocks? Is there a rule of thumb most abide by for length of time away that necessitates closing all seacocks. I say all but I understand that if you leave AC on, you have to leave one seacock open. (I don't leave my AC on).
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Old 02-17-2015, 07:06 PM   #2
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Paranoia motivates some people.

If you think about it, the time to close the seacocks is when you're sleeping in the boat not off the boat. Don't want my boat to sink, but if it does, I would prefer not to be sleeping inside. I don't close mine unless the boat is sinking. Excercise them regularly.

Ted
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
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Paranoia motivates some people.

If you think about it, the time to close the seacocks is when you're sleeping in the boat not off the boat. Don't want my boat to sink, but if it does, I would prefer not to be sleeping inside. I don't close mine unless the boat is sinking. Excercise them regularly.

Ted
Too true...but the reality of sinking from a seacock really depends on your boat, where the tops of the seacocks are, what condition are your hoses, which ones are pressure versus suction.....etc.

99 percent of all seacocks with standard reinforced rubber hose on them would be fine if you tightened the hose clamps for 2 weeks then took them off. Just look at how hard you wrestle with the hose before it leaks, let alone comes off.

While I don't really suggest doing it...there's lots of ways water can leak into your boat..and once it starts...often more ways are possible and sometimes those are the ones that flood rapidly and are the real reason a sound boat sinks for silly reasons.

Even though OCDIVER makes a good point....if you are away from the boat for even a brief period of time...it's tough to not want to close them.

I live aboard so they get exercised more than shut for any length of time. More than 24 hrs away and I will shut them.
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:59 PM   #4
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When away from the boat for more than a couple of days, all the the ones below the water line are closed. Being a live a board, I had all, except for the mine engine and gen set intake removed and filled in. So when at the dock, all below the water line are closed.
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:16 PM   #5
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Maybe I should qualify my previous post. I'm obsessive about preventative maintenance. On the new trawler there were 5 plastic seacocks below the waterline. The number was reduced to 2 and they are bronze 1st quality. Everything else which comes in contact with the raw water systems was redone (not nessecarily new). The seacocks are there to handle a failure while running. Nothing is going to significantly leak or fall apart sitting at the dock. No 30 year old seacocks, rusty hose clamps, or petrified hose on this boat.

That being said, my charter boat sits idle 6 months a year. So the boat comes out of the water and sits on land during the winter when I'm in FL. To my way of thinking, there are so many things that can happen to the boat sitting idle and unattended for the winter, that pulling it out and winterizing it is the logical solution. I'm not opposed to risk reduction, just feel that a raw water system failure at the dock is pretty low on the risk scale. Now if you want to talk about risk while you're away from your boat during the winter, read the threads on power cord, electrical system, and heater failures......

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Old 02-17-2015, 10:50 PM   #6
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There have been several lengthy and detailed discussions of this subject in the past, and they can be found in the archives if one wants to use the search function.

We have eleven holes in the bottom of our boat, all of which have a seacock on them of course. We leave all seacocks closed at all times unless we anticipate using one or rmore when we have the boat out on a run or a cruise. These we open before we leave or when we actually need them, and we close them when we leave the boat to drive home.

The only exceptions are the seacocks for the main engines, which we leave open all the time. We do this in case someone needs to move the boat in an emergency as we live 100 miles away.
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:56 PM   #7
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Live aboard and never close them. I exercise and inspect them regularly. A LOUD high water alarm lets me sleep without worry.

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Old 02-17-2015, 10:57 PM   #8
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Like Ted, I don't worry too much about a hose failing catastrophically. The only time my seacocks get closed are when I'm changing the hose or exercising the seacock.
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:06 PM   #9
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Would you guys who like to close your seacocks be willing to spend money to make the job easier? Groco makes seacocks that you can open or close remotely but they are not cheap. I don't stock them because I don't see much demand.
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
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We have eleven holes in the bottom of our boat, all of which have a seacock on them of course. We leave all seacocks closed at all times unless we anticipate using one or rmore when we have the boat out on a run or a cruise. These we open before we leave or when we actually need them, and we close them when we leave the boat to drive home.
Well if I had eleven seacocks on my boat..................eleven?

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Old 02-17-2015, 11:13 PM   #11
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If I had 11 seacocks I probably couldn't remember where they were all located.

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Old 02-17-2015, 11:13 PM   #12
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Would you guys who like to close your seacocks be willing to spend money to make the job easier? Groco makes seacocks that you can open or close remotely but they are not cheap. I don't stock them because I don't see much demand.
Please don't tell me this to works off my smart phone or tablet.

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Old 02-17-2015, 11:17 PM   #13
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Well if I had eleven seacocks on my boat..................eleven?

Ted
Well, if you're curious....

Salt water toilet intake....2
Salt water toilet discharge....2
Main engine raw water intake...2
Generator raw water intake...1
1hp AC raw water washdown pump...1
Forward holding tank discharge....1
Aft holding tank discharge...1
Bait water pump intake...1
Aft head sink discharge (at waterline)...1

So that actually makes 12 if you count the aft head sink through hull which didn't have a seacock on it when we bought the boat but we had one put on.
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:17 PM   #14
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Ted, be careful, you'll give them ideas.
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:24 PM   #15
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If I had 11 seacocks I probably couldn't remember where they were all located.


Haven't reached that point in life yet. Plus they are all in logical places and all but one of them (the AC pump saltwater washdown intake) are quite easy to reach. The ones we open and close the most (generator and in the two in the aft head) are very easy to reach. Some of them can be opened and closed by reaching down into the engine room or lazarette with a boathook.

We've also wrapped all the seacock handles with reflective tape so they are highly visible in low light or in a flashlight beam.
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Old 02-18-2015, 07:03 AM   #16
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Seacocks can easily be remotely operated with a simple outboard shift style push pull cable.

With a bigger load use the 43 series instead of the lighter 33 series.

A dozen labeled handles should do the job without confusion.
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Old 02-18-2015, 07:42 AM   #17
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Seacocks can easily be remotely operated with a simple outboard shift style push pull cable.

With a bigger load use the 43 series instead of the lighter 33 series.

A dozen labeled handles should do the job without confusion.
Sorry honey, the dinette is coming out and I'm installing a seacock control center!!


"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"
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Old 02-18-2015, 08:12 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Seacocks can easily be remotely operated with a simple outboard shift style push pull cable.

With a bigger load use the 43 series instead of the lighter 33 series.

A dozen labeled handles should do the job without confusion.
Sorry Fred, wrong. I used to have a nice long handle extension to my engine intake seacock, which yes, was just a simple push/pull arrangement to close, so always closed it because I could reach it from the forward (cooler) part of the ER, through a hatch in the galley floor. However, when it was recommended to be changed at last insurance survey, the new one with fancy stainless strainer and all that was installed, I just assumed it would be similar, but no…it has a damned detente on the handle, which must be slid upwards, or if shut, outwards, to unlock the position either open or closed. Not sure why they thought a seacock could wander open or shut by itself, but they must have thought so to do that. Net result, I would have to get in down and alongside hot engine to close - so now I don't. Not gonna. However, if (fairly anal) Marin is prepared to leave his engine intake seacocks open, then so am I.
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Old 02-18-2015, 08:20 AM   #19
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Well, if you're curious....

Salt water toilet intake....2
Salt water toilet discharge....2
Main engine raw water intake...2
Generator raw water intake...1
1hp AC raw water washdown pump...1
Forward holding tank discharge....1
Aft holding tank discharge...1
Bait water pump intake...1
Aft head sink discharge (at waterline)...1

So that actually makes 12 if you count the aft head sink through hull which didn't have a seacock on it when we bought the boat but we had one put on.
Ok, you win, I guess.

I have:

1 seacock that feeds a sea chest for the engine, generator, air conditioning pump, and raw water wash down pump.

1 seacock for the discharge of the holding tank for both heads that stays closed as I don't expect to pump overboard.

Ted
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Old 02-18-2015, 09:25 AM   #20
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Over decades of boating on several boats I have never closed seacocks. I do check them for proper operation and inspect hoses and clamps but that has never been something that keeps me awake at night.


Heck I have never had a seacock of any design spontaneously start to leak.
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