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Good Boaters Carry Spare Parts
|Every seaman accepts the need for redundancy, but what and when?|
|Feb 1, 2010|
In my mind, self-sufficiency represents the single greatest character trait missing from the general American populace today. Society lives with the attitude that if they screw up somehow, someone will come rescue them, so why worry?
Most people passionate about traveling offshore don’t suffer from this self-reliance flaw. They plan. They execute. They return safely. They live to head offshore another day. The U.S. Coast Guard motto, Semper Paratus (Always Ready), applies to every boater, not just the Coast Guard. And not only does being ready mean having all the likely spares aboard that you might need, it also means having the tools to swap them out and the knowledge of how to do it. Here are the most common solutions boaters are likely to face.
• Bent/Broken Prop
• Fouled Fuel Filter
• Water Pump Not Working
If you run an inboard boat, be sure to have spare impellers and grease for each pump aboard. Changing an impeller is not that difficult. Simply remove the flat plate covering the impeller, carefully remove the split ring from the shaft and use pliers to pry the impeller (and pieces of it) from the pump. Remember which way the rubber impeller blades bent in the housing. Grease up the new impeller, and while bending the rubber blades in the same direction as the ones you removed, slide the new piece into place. Replace the split ring, make sure the gasket is still usable or replace it, and screw the plate back in place.
• Electronics Down
• Engine Not Running
Single-engine vessel owners face different decisions. Those two decisions include: (1) Fix it and get it running again; or (2) call for a tow. And since the Coast Guard no longer gives free towing assistance in nonemergency situations, there’s no excuse for anyone to be offshore without a subscription to Towboat US (www.towboatus.com) or Sea Tow (www.seatow.com).
Troubleshooting for No. 1 should follow a logical path. It takes several ingredients for an engine to function: fuel, air, spark. Subtract any one of these and your engine stops. When troubleshooting, start at one end of a system and work your way to the other end. For example, if you think your problem is fuel, start with the fuel filter. If that’s clear, continue to check the path to the engine from the fuel tank to see where the blockage has occurred. Diagnosing air and spark issues can be handled similarly.
• Trailer Issues
Suggested Spares and Spanners Stockpile
I suggest that you keep a written inventory of your spare parts, noting where on board you have stored them.
Shared with Permission by Sport Fishing.