SHIP SHAPE: Preventative Maintenance


Preventative Maintenance
Preventative Maintenance

By John Barbaro

Mar 24, 2021

One of the best ways to keep from running into problems is to do preventative maintenance. Eventually, if you don’t do it, a problem crops up to remind you that you forgot to do it. I bought a used boat, and one of the things I failed to do was check the air conditioner seawater strainer. The pump had clicked off due to the lack of water flow through the pump. Upon inspection, what I found was that the small handle on the top of the strainer basket had fallen off.

Image 1210:
Strainer basket blocking water intake for A/C

 

It had sunk to the bottom of the strainer basket, which allowed the strainer to float up and block the intake to the strainer.

A bunch of debris was there, and after clearing it, I thought I was back in business. I was wrong!

Image 1209:
Correct position of A/C strainer basket

The debris wasn’t all there was to deal with. I removed the lid to the strainer and opened the thru-hull valve! No flow! Drats! (I didn’t say DRATS!) I closed the valve again, stuck a stiff wire in the hole, and gave it another go by opening the valve again. Nothing! Just as I put my hand in the strainer, a critter shot out and landed in my three fingers that I had in the strainer housing. It was a tiny jellyfish that got sucked in and shrunk down to the point that it blocked the hole. (Yes! It did freak me out when I saw it! It was like a tiny alien! LOL)

Note to self: First, make sure the handle at the top of the strainer is in good shape and check your strainers every so often, depending on how much you use them. Remember, every pump has one. 

Shower sumps, engines, generators, and even bilge pumps have some sort of strainer that should be cleaned for them to run correctly. Remember that strainers protect your pumps and impellers. 

Check them often to keep your boat “Ship Shape.”

-John Barbaro

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