Seacocks & Through Hulls - A Dangerous Romance

Preparing your Yacht for a cruise to the higher latitudes might involve a long list of things to take care of. Many will certainly upgrade all systems onboard, while others will just cast the lines and set off. As most of you know, your hull probably have a few holes in it. They are, of course, for salt water intake for the engine, discharge of grey and black water and more. 

 Seacock from  Blakes Lavac Taylors Limited  can trace its history back to 1798

Seacock from Blakes Lavac Taylors Limited can trace its history back to 1798

Fortunately, vessels sinking due to sudden water ingress by failed seacocks or through hull fittings are few and far between, however it is quite a popular subject among sailors around the world. Keeping your vessel afloat is a fundamental principal in sailing and if the integrity of the hull is compromised because of broken through hulls, the boat and crew are at risk.

Consider learning, checking and replacing your through hulls a part of your yachts risk management plan. This is particularly important when sailing offshore in colder waters. 
 Ice in Drøbak by the Oslo Fjord, Southern Norway. Photo: Daniel Novello

Ice in Drøbak by the Oslo Fjord, Southern Norway. Photo: Daniel Novello

Mr. Piet Jansen, a Danish Naval Architect and a specialist in Mechanical and Marine Engineering Failure Analysis and Corrosion, wrote a paper on Corrosion in Through-Hull Fittings and seacock valves in yachts and boats. 

Mr. Jansen writes in his paper: "As always, the final question is: “Do I have to change my through hull fittings and sea cocks”? --“They look all right to me and work properly”. -To give the correct answer the boat owner and skipper must first consider the following question: How do you weight the risk of failure and possible sinking of your boat versus the cost and work of replacing the through-hull fittings located under the water line with new made of approved gunmetal, bronze or plastic fittings complying the ISO standards? When you have this answer the answer of the first question becomes easy. "

This is recommended reading and you can read the full paper here.

 

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