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November 2002

Affordable security device

 Mark and Dot, the crew of Dirty Dot, an American 40 footer, dropped in to visit here at Kawau Island. When we were on board sharing a fine steak dinner they showed us a simple alarm they use to feel more secure at night. It is a battery powered Motion Sensor Alarm from radio Shack model 49-425. It cost $24.99 and can be set either to chime or blare out an alarm sound. They set it out in their cockpit when they are in an unfamiliar anchorage. Only disadvantage is that the rising sun can set it off as easily as an intruder. During their two years of voyaging through the Pacific they have never had anyone come on board unexpectedly, but feel this is an affordable precaution to carry on board

Proper sea-cocks
One of the jobs we have done at Mickey Mouse Marine this season, was to install a new marine toilet in a clients boat. We inspected the sea-cock and found it was, like many that are being used today, not connected in any way to the hull, with only the threaded portion of the thru-hull fitting connecting it to the boat. It was a sort of fortunate/unfortunate story. Unfortunately electrolysis had gotten to the thru-hull and it crumbled as we tightened the hose clamps because it was the only thing securing the sea-cock to the hull, if we pulled on the sea-cock handle to close it, that too would have broken loose. Fortunately the boat was dried out on our tidal grid and we could fix the situation before water poured in. But it reminded us again that this type of arrangement is potentially disastrous. Not only can electrolysis cause a failure, but a good whack from shifting gear could snap this connection. Check your sea-cocks to make sure they are bolted to the hull in such a way that should the thru hull fitting fail; you can still close the valve and keep water out. A very good and affordable proper sea-cock is made by Groco in the US.

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