Cruiser tip #2
28 June 2013 | La Paz
In an effort to not only keep the flow of information going here on the blog, but answer some of our readers requests, I am going to try to post a "tip" every now and then. Most of these will be things we, our friends, or customers have found to be important in real life, out cruising.
Staying with the topic of keeping the salt water where it belongs, outside the boat, let's discuss the need for a high water alarm.
In many of the newer modern cruising boats, there is a real absence of a bilge. They are small depressions in the floor of the vessel, and if there is a serious leak, it will be quite obvious, very quickly. But, in more boats than not, the bilge can be quite substanial. In Eagle, with our engine pretty much dead center of the boat, our bilge is over 5 feet deep. If we were to have a large leak, one that the bilge pumps did not have the ability to handle, we would have a huge amount of water in the boat before it became visually obvious.
With that concern in mind we have added a bilge, or high water alarm. This can be a commercially produced item, or can, with very little effort be constructed from parts gathered in your local chandelry and electronics store.
Ours simply consists of a standard float switch, and very loud (think ear piercing ) alarm, and some basic wiring. Wire the alarm directly from the battery, thru the float switch, to the alarm, and back to the battery. If the float switch should rise to the point that the contacts are made, you will get your alarm. We have two electric blige pumps on Eagle, and have installed the alarm float switch in position with the second and slightly higher #2 pump.
We test the alarm, along with the bilge pumps frequently, just to know that we have a working emergency system. The location of your alarm, and it's float switch will vari depending on the design of your boat, and sailing preferences.
While this will be one of those pieces of equipment you will spend a few bucks, and a little time on, hopefully you will never have to use!!