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Old 03-16-2018, 01:22 PM   #1
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Dodged a bullet last week!

Last week I got a call from the newbie owner of the gas powered 1991 Bayliner 2655 sharing my double slip. The boat had been sitting unused for over a year and he wanted to sell the boat to free himself of the monthly expenses. The boat has had a leaking bellows that caused the boat to take on water requiring a pumpout by the marina personnel a couple of months ago. I mentioned to him that a friend, Sean, had just blown the engine in his 24' Sea Ray and might be interested. (Sean used to own his own boat repair company before starting his own business copier company.) But we'd have to look it over closely due to the water in the engine compartment.

Sean and I scheduled a time to look the boat over. Inside was clean and no smell, in pretty good shape except for the worn carpet. When we opened the engine hatch, we could see where the water had come up half-way up the 5.7l Mercruiser engine. The oil looked OK, but we did not start the engine. A socket wrench on the flywheel allowed the engine to rotate but corrosion had already taken place in some of the lower components. That's when we found the danger!

The fuel tank outlet check valve was corroded and crushed at the top aft edge of the gasoline tank, exposing an open line to the fuel tank. On the stbd side of the engine well, the hot start cable was corroded, had fallen off and was lying in the bilge! So we had both a source for gasoline vapors and a spark source within a couple feet of each other!

We immediately called the owner a received his permission to safeguard the safety problems by inserting a taped screw into the fuel tank opening to seal the tank and disconnecting the + cables from the batteries to eliminate the spark risk. We then began negotiations to get this boat out of the water ASAP.

Fortunately, it worked out that the owner was only too happy to give the boat to Sean in return for his assistance in removing it from the water. This week we plan to haul the boat and pressure wash the bottom before dropping it on Sean's trailer. He'll take it home for repair and sale.

The owner has agreed to keep the slip and insurance in effect until the boat is hauled. He also agreed to give me his dingy lift that I was planning to buy from him before all this was discovered.

We're fortunate that we were able to avoid a catastrophe and meet the needs of 3 parties without the transfer of $$. Hopefully Sean will be able to turn a bit of profit on the boat when the repairs are completed.

Below are pics of the 2655, the disconnected fuel line and red cable and the dink lift I've inherited.

All's well that ends well.
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Old 03-16-2018, 01:46 PM   #2
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Boy a fire in that marina would clean out a bunch of boats
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Old 03-16-2018, 01:55 PM   #3
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That's what I call a 'threefer'
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Old 03-16-2018, 02:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swampu View Post
Boy a fire in that marina would clean out a bunch of boats
Yup! The 2nd to burn would have been mine!
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Old 03-16-2018, 06:14 PM   #5
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Great result!
Would the level of threat been as high and immediate, had the boat been diesel powered?
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Old 03-16-2018, 06:43 PM   #6
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You're such an instigator, Bruce!

Of course, any gasoline/petrol leak is more critical and volatile than a diesel leak....all else being equal.
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Old 03-16-2018, 06:53 PM   #7
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Had a similar situation here last week. An older Mainship express cruiser 2 slips from mine had both carbs replaced with new fuel pumps and filters. The new owner came over one night as he said it smelled like gas through out the boat. He handed me a small flashlight and I went into the engine compartment. The bilge was full of gasoline, including the sump and the pump and I could follow a stream of fuel running aft from the starboard engine, down a stringer into the bilge. As I could no longer handle the fumes, nor determine where the leak was from, had him shut off all 12 volt circuits, unplug the shore power cord and get as many rags and garbage bags as possible to get what fuel they could out. Got an oil drain pan under the engine until his mechanic came out later that night.
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Old 03-16-2018, 07:40 PM   #8
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Yes, but be sure to thank your guardian angel. ... Shouldn't gas-powered boats be on separate docks from diesels? ... Don't covered berths increase fire danger? ... Al, shouldn't you move to open-top K dock?
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Old 03-16-2018, 07:44 PM   #9
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Since covered docks are in high demand, shouldn't marinas give preference to diesels, or even ban gas-powered in covered docks?
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Old 03-17-2018, 09:07 AM   #10
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I bought this dilapidated old PennYan, tunnel drive inboard years ago. Early on, I was tooling along and noticed my engine would miss every time I hit a wave and my charging amps were gone. I pulled up the engine hatch to investigate and immediately recognized the problem. The hot lead lug on the alternator had failed. That caused the hot charged wire to the battery to drop down and with every hit of a small wave it would momentarily contact and start arc welding onto the copper fuel line to the carb below it.

That was last gasoline powered boat I owned.

I have a pet theory that I actually did not survive that day, but simply went to boating heaven and have resided there since.
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Old 03-17-2018, 04:41 PM   #11
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Good to hear. Your methodical and careful approach saved you form a potentially very bad situation.

There have been several gas boat fires in SOCal the past few years. The one I remember in particular was in HB. Gasoline vapors accumulating inside the enclosed space ER ignited which severely hurt a few people. One guy was sent through the windshield if I remember the details correctly.

The gas boat fires I recall often occurr as described. Older, neglected boats with owners of limited understanding of the hazards of proper ventilation, preventive maint on the fuel systems, electrical , etc.
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