Musings on Marina Life.
30 June 2016 | Herrington Harbour South
We've been living aboard now for 2 years. Lots of lessons learned. Our new to us Marina is very nice. We like it - but every environment has its warts. We are adjusting each day and I must say - we are happy. This post details some thoughts on the little ankle-biters that we are adjusting to and how we are dealing with it.
- Pump-outs: We live in a marina designated as an NDZ (No Discharge Zone). So - we can't use our MSD-I to treat our black water and send it overboard...we must be pumped out. Well - 2 people generate a lot of black water! We have two tanks (one for each head 30 gal and 17 gal respectively)...that's 47 gals of black water! We were filling the combined tanks in just under 10 days - that's 4.7 gals per day. One flush from our Raritan Elegance electric head is about 0.5 gals. That clears the bowl (normally)...but the waste remains in the vented loop line until the next flush...which often leaks back down thru the joker valve and soils the new water in the bowl unless you flush twice (that's now 1 gal per flush - 1/4 of our "daily allocation"). What did we do to solve it - we are increasing the size of our tankage. The lesson learned here is that an NDZ eliminates any option to treat and dump (via MSD-I). We are lucky to have a few excellent marina amenities...We have beautiful/clean/Heated and AC'd bath houses! The problem is that during peak season - these are heavily used by the non-live-aboard community and are not really as private as we'd like. We are lucky to have a pumpout service (free at the fuel dock) and a pump out boat that comes to you for a fee (which we use). The problem here is that the pumpout boat service is not predictable even though we are on a schedule with the marina. They respond well to "emergency" visits but its inconvenient - our goal is to never be "full" in the first place!...hence - increasing tankage. Yes - we could pull our 53ft yacht out of the slip everytime we need to pumpout (free) but its no small task to do that with a boat this size just to go 100 yds and pumpout. Plus, during busy periods, the fuel dock is always full of boats. Yes - we could stop by and pumpout each time we come back in from sailing - but - the dock is often full when we arrive. Yes - we could use the bath houses but we relish our privacy and HELL - we have 2 full baths/heads aboard - why not use them! Again - we are increasing our tankage. We will upgrade to 67 gals (total) capacity - that should put us on a 2-week (flexible) pumpout boat schedule and have tankage to spare. OK - what about winter - it freezes and snows here. The marina will deploy the pumpout boat (or so they say) as long as it can negotiate the ice (if any)...frankly - our guess is NOT! SO - we will adjust to "bath house" visits when we see the marina freeze over and shift to an "on call" pumpout schedule during the cold months.
Dock Water: Our marina does shut off the dock water from NOV to MAR. We have 180 gals of fresh water tankage and a really BIG water-maker. 180 gals lasts us a week. Problem is - we do not make water in a marina (RO cannot filter out petroleum products in the water)...so it remains pickled. We do have access to a farm hydrant on the land-side of the dock (about 150 feet). We run a collapsible hose set to it each time we need to fill tanks (in winter) and drain the hose, roll it up and store it inside the boat.
Marina Billing: This one has baffled me - this is a BIG marina...it's not hurting for money and we are prepaid for the year on slip fees. With over 600 slips and an onsite resort, we have a marina management staff that is very good! I have not achieved billing Zen just yet and am confused by the billing cycles for pumpout (of course). I was billed for the month of May for $45.00. I only had 2 x visits from the pumpout boat at $10.00 a shot? For me - the math just ain't adding up? I have inquired to the marina staff and am awaiting an answer.
The Diver: The marina does not permit anyone in the water (inside of the marina). The safety reasons are clear (stray voltage-neutral bonding). If I want to have the hull checked by a diver (or scraped/cleaned) I have to pull the boat out into the bay and do it there. The diver gets paid by the hour - not the job...its a $90.00 add on since it takes an hour to get her out of the slip, into the bay and anchor before he can go overboard. At 53 feet LOA - It takes a good 2 hours to clean my hull by an experienced diver (and two tanks). JAYCAR to the rescue! We installed two electronic ultrasonic anti-fouling units on the interior of our solid fiberglass hull. These were "u-build-it" kits at around $78.00 a piece. Complicated but not impossible - I became good at soldering small circuits building the circuit boards out of a bag of kit parts...but they are in ... and operating! Are they working?...we don't know yet? - keep checking back to this blog to find out if they do as I will hire a diver in July to take a look (and change zincs). I do know that I had our 500 lb RIB in the water for nearly 60 days and it had a 1 inch carpet of slime/algae plus a fair deposit of barnacles on the gel-coat only hull (no anti-foul paint). It is now hung on the davits and has been cleaned. I can only imagine what the big vessel hull and running gear look like if the ultrasonic devices do not work! I will report back in a few weeks.
More "Live Aboard" musings to come as they appear!