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Old 11-15-2014, 06:35 PM   #1
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Copper Pennies in the Bilge

I just did some work on a 50' wood fishing vessel. I notice old pennies in different sections of the bilge. When I asked the owner about the pennies, he said that if any stray voltage started leaking with in the vessels, that the pennies would get shiney. He does the same on his 46' Dyer F.G. hull. Also he never bonds his boats. With all the brain power and vessel experience reading this forum, some one has to know more to explain the pennies . Thank You.
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Old 11-15-2014, 07:13 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. RT. Obviously he has lots of money to just leave lying around...Old pennies suggest old money.


See...
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Old 11-15-2014, 08:03 PM   #3
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Putting copper anything in the bilge is a bad idea because it can set up a situation of galvanic action when there might otherwise be none. I know of a boat where a copper penny came in contact with an aluminum tank and corroded a hole in it right there. ANY time you have dissimilar metals in an electrolyte (salt water being one) you can have current flow and thus galvanic corrosion.

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Old 11-15-2014, 08:21 PM   #4
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1) Unless they are very old, "copper pennies" are nothing more than copper plated zinc. If anyone really thought something like this was a good idea, copper plumbing pipe or fittings from the home center would work better.

2) Loose copper in the bilge is a bad idea as pointed out above.

I'll bet this guy also put ground up pennies and cayenne pepper in his bottom paint. And 5% gasoline in his diesel fuel.

I'm thinking of writing a book "101 Stupid Boating Tricks".
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Old 11-15-2014, 08:49 PM   #5
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I don't know about pennies in the bilge, but I do know that builders would put a copper coin under a wooden mast. The copper that leached out into the end grain of the mast would prevent rot.
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Old 11-15-2014, 09:03 PM   #6
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I've got a penny in my dirt home's toilet. Haven't yet had any volunteers to recover it.
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Old 11-15-2014, 09:18 PM   #7
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My wife has a statue of St. Joseph buried in the yard because we are trying to sell the house. She had it hidden in the bilge of our 42' Nordic Tug and it sold in three years. We believe in this stuff.
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Old 11-15-2014, 09:40 PM   #8
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I hope she buried it upside down facing the road. That's the only way it works.
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Old 11-16-2014, 07:47 AM   #9
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Toolmakers /machinists put pennies in their toolboxes to keep the tools from rusting so they say. Based on that I always put pennies in mine.
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:08 AM   #10
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In my experience with real old timers...some of the things they did made sense and others...well what can I say..

2 things about pennies in the bilge come to mind...sure keep away from aluminum but anything made of bronze is basically copper and zinc or copper and other things so them being there is no big deal.

The 2 things are is .... copper helps keep down slime if fresh water accumulates and maybe they do act as an early warning to stray current corrosion.

If I had a wooden boat with copper fastening go holding the planks on, early warning would be high on my list if they started to go bye bye.

Do they work? I can't say for sure, but traditions of old wood boat owners usually have some basis of reason.
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:17 AM   #11
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My bilges are totally dry due to dripless seals so the pennies would not work as intended. But for those with leaky shafts due to standard packing pennies are an absolute requirement.
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:21 AM   #12
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I wonder why boat builders don't install pennies in the bilge of new boats and include changing them in the maintenance schedule?
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:35 AM   #13
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My bilges are totally dry due to dripless seals so the pennies would not work as intended. But for those with leaky shafts due to standard packing pennies are an absolute requirement.
Most of the wooden boats my family used to own and the ones of friends weren't even remotely water or rain tight...let alone the shaft packing.

Salt water was actually encouraged to a point to help with rot.

No boat out there comes equipped 100% from a manufacturer...especially in the days of wooden boats...back then many boaters had to improvise as the guy at West Marine wasn't there to educate them.

Hey, like I said, I have no idea if they work....but I haven't seen any answer that sorta proves they don't. Or the reason the OPs previous owner did it.
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Old 11-16-2014, 09:01 AM   #14
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Most of the wooden boats my family used to own and the ones of friends weren't even remotely water or rain tight...let alone the shaft packing.

Salt water was actually encouraged to a point to help with it.
Absolutely. As an aside, going back to Roman sailing days, copper sheathing kept the worms at bay and were excellent fasteners.
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Old 11-16-2014, 09:09 AM   #15
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weren't the coins under the mast to pay Charon for transport over the river styx?
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Old 11-16-2014, 09:51 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
I wonder why boat builders don't install pennies in the bilge of new boats
cutting cost.
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Old 11-16-2014, 10:51 AM   #17
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I thought it was silver dollars under the mast on a sail boat.

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Old 11-16-2014, 12:24 PM   #18
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Here in the UK they celebrate Halloween like you do in the states, but they also do Guy Faulks night on the 5th November.

Guy Faulks was a catholic who tried to blow up parliament and James 1st with gun powder.

The children ask for ' a penny for the a Guy' , a rag doll they carry around; in other words payment to stop Guy Faulk blowing up the king. They then burn the Guy on a big bonfire.

Ever since that day war ships in the fleet have traditionally carried copper pennies in the bilges and armoury magazine ' so that they won't blow up'.
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Old 11-16-2014, 12:30 PM   #19
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Here in the UK they celebrate Halloween like you do in the states, but they also do Guy Faulks night on the 5th November.

Guy Faulks was a catholic who tried to blow up parliament and James 1st with gun powder.

The children ask for ' a penny for the a Guy' , a rag doll they carry around; in other words payment to stop Guy Faulk blowing up the king. They then burn the Guy on a big bonfire.

Ever since that day war ships in the fleet have traditionally carried copper pennies in the bilges and armoury magazine ' so that they won't blow up'.
I can get behind that tradition, once I star carrying a full magazine again!
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Old 11-16-2014, 01:01 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by seasalt007 View Post
My wife has a statue of St. Joseph buried in the yard because we are trying to sell the house. She had it hidden in the bilge of our 42' Nordic Tug and it sold in three years. We believe in this stuff.

007- with results that fast I can see why!!😎😎😎😎


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