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Old 06-22-2021, 06:39 AM   #1
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Start/Running Checklist?

Hello All,

Sailing/owning/running/crewing sailboats for 50 years, but new to twin Cats, generator etc. Have rebuilt baby Yanmars so somewhat competent at what I am looking at and will DIY while learning along the way.

I would like to see an example of a "voice of experience" checklist. I can make up my own but would appreciate suggested start and/or running checklists.

As always, thanks in advance.
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:12 AM   #2
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Personally, I check coolant, oil, trans fluid before the first start of every day on the engines. Generator gets coolant and oil checked at the same time. Basic condition and tension check on belts, visual once-over for leaks, any hoses that don't look right, etc.



On a long run I'll sometimes pop down and give things a look and a sniff. I also start engines before I start removing dock lines, that way they're running for ~2 minutes before I start moving and I'm confident they're going to stay running.
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:39 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
Personally, I check coolant, oil, trans fluid before the first start of every day on the engines. Generator gets coolant and oil checked at the same time. Basic condition and tension check on belts, visual once-over for leaks, any hoses that don't look right, etc.



On a long run I'll sometimes pop down and give things a look and a sniff. I also start engines before I start removing dock lines, that way they're running for ~2 minutes before I start moving and I'm confident they're going to stay running.
I follow the same pre-start checks. I would add checking for water flow in the exhaust on startup and I like to run the generator at least once a week, which is about the same frequency of me using the boat so I usually start it before disconnecting shore power and shut it down after about 30 minutes unless I want to keep the AC going.

A checklist for putting the boat "to bed" is very handy as well. This will vary with boats and preferences but is a really useful practice to standardize which systems are left to run, which position all the switches should be left in, what covers need to be installed, etc. A list like this will save you many trips back to the marina to confirm what you just can't recall putting away or turning off.
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:55 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Gdavid View Post
I follow the same pre-start checks. I would add checking for water flow in the exhaust on startup and I like to run the generator at least once a week, which is about the same frequency of me using the boat so I usually start it before disconnecting shore power and shut it down after about 30 minutes unless I want to keep the AC going.

Yes, good point on the water flow check. I always walk out and check right after a generator start (which is either as needed, or a 30-ish minute loaded run every 2 weeks or so if I haven't needed it).

For the engines, I look at water flow when I go out to start removing lines. But with the big, 2 stage water lift mufflers on my engines, it's very obvious if there's little or no water flow (due to a huge increase in noise that can't be ignored). On the first start of the season, it's really easy to tell when they prime. You start one, receive a ton of noise, then after a few seconds it suddenly goes quiet as the mufflers fill up.
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Old 06-22-2021, 10:05 AM   #5
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I agree with the other 2 posters. I also remove shore power prior to engine start (and after all the pre-start checks) so that after starting I only need to remove the dock lines to get underway and slowly at low rpm warm up the engine under light load as we leave the marina.

Because the exhaust water on my boat exited under the boat a few feet from the stern, actually seeing water flow was next to impossible. To alleviate concern, I installed an Aqualarm water flow alarm between the sea strainer and the water pump. It would alarm instantly if you forgot to open the thru hull, something blocked the entrance of seawater, the pump malfunctioned, or if there was blockage in the cooling system. I also used an exhaust hose overheat alarm (Borel brand) which would give very early warning of any impending engine overheat. Early warning was due to the fact that if there is not sufficient water flow, the first place to show overheat is the exhaust hose (alot earlier than the regular temp gauge or temp alarm). The addition of these 2 inexpensive alarms gave me peace of mind coupled with the normal temp gauge (and of course a program of regular maintenance).
I found that using checklists ensured it was not likely I would forget something important and it also gave me "peace of mind" that "things were as they should be".
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Old 06-22-2021, 11:09 AM   #6
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I love this thread. As a long time pilot getting back into a trawler I am in the process of building out my pre-cruise and shut down check lists. The military taught me that "once something becomes a system it will cease to be a problem, until it is a system it has a greater probability of being a problem". I will follow this thread closely and search others to build out fulsome checklists.

Thanks!
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Old 06-22-2021, 12:34 PM   #7
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I have a written, very complete extended cruising checklist involving everything from engine checks and engine supplies to sugar for the galley. However, my mental daily pre-run list involves pulling shore power, checking engine fluids, bilges, fuel, and shifter. After start, it's look over the side for cooling flow, electronics on and checked, tabs up, oil pressure, alternator voltage, and coolant temp as it warms up heading down the channel. Post run, it's fresh water engine rinse, then check all engine fluids while giving the engine a once over and final bilge check bilge.
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Old 07-03-2021, 05:46 PM   #8
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Rich, can you share that checklist electronically?
Thanks,
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Old 07-03-2021, 06:04 PM   #9
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Tom, my Aqualram paid for itself last week. Just one month before I changed both raw water impellers, and all was good, then the alarm went off. First time so I thought it was a false alarm because engine temp was still normal. But idled engines and went to check with the hands on touch of the very hot riser. No harm done, I know it was a good investment.
Another new Raw water impeller and off we go.
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Old 07-03-2021, 06:28 PM   #10
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Steve,
I am glad to hear that it paid off in more than just "peace of mind", but sorry you actually had an "issue".
I highly recommend them for everyone. They are not expensive (actually cheap boat expense wise) and are fairly easy to install. They will instantly notify you with a very loud, distinctive alarm for any of the following: forgot to open thru hull, some thing blocked the thru hull or clogged the strainer, failed impeller or pump, major hose leak before the alarm, or even a restriction in flow anywhere in the raw water system. You would think I get a kick back or something, but no just a happy customer.
The other alarm I swear by, and the one that like you just described for your Aqualarm, saved my bacon was the Borel Exhaust hose alarm (Aqualarm makes one as well, but the Borel alarms at a lower temperature). It is also very inexpensive and easy to install and can be monitored by the Aqualarm monitoring panel for 2 alarms. The first place that will overheat, if one is starting, is the exhaust hose. This will set off the alarm long before any high temperatures occur anywhere in the engine that could cause major damage well before the coolant alarm goes off. In my case this Borel alarm went off because my exhaust elbow had corroded through on the inside causing a poor pattern of cooling water inside the exhaust hose resulting in several hot spots. Without this alarm, I would not have been able to tell I had a developing problem as the rest of the entire engine and cooling systems were well within normal operating temperatures. However, failure to act on my part could have resulted in several bad issues. The exhaust hose could have overheated and failed sending hot saltwater into my ER, bilge, and on the engine, as well allowing CO to enter the boat!
Prior to that, it could have allowed salt water to enter my turbo or even allowed it to enter the engine exhaust manifold and valving. This saltwater issue could have gone on undetected for a long time, ruining my turbo and/or engine. This could have been very expensive, and potentially dangerous!! Also, if you have a hose failure, past the Aqualarm, that alarm would not notice a problem because water would still flow, however the Borel would notify you very quickly as the exhaust hose would get hot fairly quickly and that alarm would notify you again long before a true engine overheat occurred.

As you can tell, I am a proponent of both types of alarms. Approximately $200 total for both (parts only). Many here spend that on a nice dinner out with your partner. Cheap insurance in my book.
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Old 07-03-2021, 08:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firehoser75 View Post
Steve,
I am glad to hear that it paid off in more than just "peace of mind", but sorry you actually had an "issue".
I highly recommend them for everyone. They are not expensive (actually cheap boat expense wise) and are fairly easy to install. They will instantly notify you with a very loud, distinctive alarm for any of the following: forgot to open thru hull, some thing blocked the thru hull or clogged the strainer, failed impeller or pump, major hose leak before the alarm, or even a restriction in flow anywhere in the raw water system. You would think I get a kick back or something, but no just a happy customer.
The other alarm I swear by, and the one that like you just described for your Aqualarm, saved my bacon was the Borel Exhaust hose alarm (Aqualarm makes one as well, but the Borel alarms at a lower temperature). It is also very inexpensive and easy to install and can be monitored by the Aqualarm monitoring panel for 2 alarms. The first place that will overheat, if one is starting, is the exhaust hose. This will set off the alarm long before any high temperatures occur anywhere in the engine that could cause major damage well before the coolant alarm goes off. In my case this Borel alarm went off because my exhaust elbow had corroded through on the inside causing a poor pattern of cooling water inside the exhaust hose resulting in several hot spots. Without this alarm, I would not have been able to tell I had a developing problem as the rest of the entire engine and cooling systems were well within normal operating temperatures. However, failure to act on my part could have resulted in several bad issues. The exhaust hose could have overheated and failed sending hot saltwater into my ER, bilge, and on the engine, as well allowing CO to enter the boat!
Prior to that, it could have allowed salt water to enter my turbo or even allowed it to enter the engine exhaust manifold and valving. This saltwater issue could have gone on undetected for a long time, ruining my turbo and/or engine. This could have been very expensive, and potentially dangerous!! Also, if you have a hose failure, past the Aqualarm, that alarm would not notice a problem because water would still flow, however the Borel would notify you very quickly as the exhaust hose would get hot fairly quickly and that alarm would notify you again long before a true engine overheat occurred.

As you can tell, I am a proponent of both types of alarms. Approximately $200 total for both (parts only). Many here spend that on a nice dinner out with your partner. Cheap insurance in my book.
I asked my wife about the bolded and she denied it.

The borel install is the same as the Aqualarm on the exhaust hose, so I have missed your point. Perhaps you have a different Aqualarm product.
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Old 07-03-2021, 10:37 PM   #12
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I'm in the process of creating one. Bear in mind that this is unique for my Ranger Tug R31S and is a work in progress. Maybe it'll help somebody. Here's what I have so far:

Daily Checklist, cold
Four battery shutoff switches ON (in locker under cockpit sink)
Open engine hatch (switch on right side of stove)
All four seacocks open (lever in line with hose = open)
Fuel valve open
Dry engine bay
Fan belt
Engine oil
Transmission oil
Engine coolant
Fresh water level (turn on 12V water pressure breaker - gauge is on side of stove)
Battery banks (1, 2, 3) check voltage on 12V panel
Engage all 12 V switches needed (trim tabs, interior lights, etc.)
Leave water pressure switch off unless using, and always off otherwise when moving

Shore power connection
110 V panel MAIN BREAKER OFF
If breaker present on shore pedestal, turn it off
Plug in boat end of cable on boat (use port #1, push in, rotate clockwise until it clicks)
Plug in shore end
Turn on circuit breaker on shore if present
Verify green light on 110 V panel (correct polarity)
Turn on main 110 V breaker
Verify voltage present
Turn on shore #1 breaker
Turn on parallel breaker
Add whatever circuits are desired
If no power, check two main breakers on aft bulkhead in generator locker under rear seat

Shore power disconnect
110 V main breaker off
All other breakers off
Breaker on shore off if present
Disconnect shore plug (rotate counter clockwise and pull out)
Okay to leave boat end connected
Coil cord and hang

Generator start
Check oil through round inspection port in floor of cockpit, in front of seat, stbd side)
Check coolant overflow tank in generator compartment behind rear bench seat
110 V panel generator switch off
Generator switch down for a few seconds to prime, then up until generator starts (located on bulkhead w/ a/c control)
Water from exhaust
Warm up one minute before engaging breaker
Check panel voltage when breaker engaged

Engine start After daily checklist
Boat floating (not on lift)
All dash instruments on
Shifters in neutral
Engine ignition in lower right of dash panel
Push top button (if no green light, then pass tab key over switch area)
Push bottom button
Water from exhaust
Oil pressure
Temp (normal running is 185º, max 196º)

Before leaving dock
If night operation, check navigation lights
Fuel level (may use Garmin MFD screen or Volvo engine panel) boat must be stationary
Thrusters activated (rocker switch under steering wheel AND toggle switch illuminated buttons)
Test thrusters (toggles AND remote controller)
Check Fwd and Rev shifter engagement

NB - Prop rotates to the right in fwd, so engaging fwd at idle will pull the stern slightly to the right, more so if rudder is hard right. In reverse it will pull the stern slightly to the left regardless of rudder position. Boat rotates from a point well aft of center.

Engine shut down
Be sure to let the turbo spool down and run the engine at idle for several minutes - that includes taxiing to the dock
Leave engine running until all lines are secured
All shifters in neutral
Push bottom engine switch to kill it
Push top engine switch to disconnect
Pass remote tab over switch to lock it off - requires same tab to unlock it. Optional most of the time. Don’t lose tab key as there is no easy or cheap way to bypass the lock.

Connect shore power - see shore power connection above

Leaving boat with refrigerator on 12 V procedure
Engine off
12 V refrigerator breaker on
All other 12 V breakers off
Turn off all rotary battery switches EXCEPT top (house) switch
Connect to shore power recommended if available

Leaving boat with refrigerator off
Engine off
Lock helm door (optional at home)
Windows closed, covered ports open
All 12 V switches off
Turn all four rotary battery switches off
Lock cabin door (optional at home)
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