28 Mar Motoring with Crud in the Water
A few days ago we were motoring back to the harbor after the wind died and ran across a couple of huge patches of very coarse grass floating on the water (almost looked like large pine needles).
From past experience, we knew to watch the engine temperature closely . . . and sure enough we saw it creep up just a couple of degrees. It didn’t go into a danger zone, but we knew we had to check the raw water intake as soon as we got to our mooring.
It was almost totally full of the grass.
The good thing is that the grass was coarse enough that it hadn’t totally stopped the flow of water. We’d only motored about 15 minutes after encountering it, but if we’d been going very far it might have restricted flow sufficiently to cause the engine to slowly overheat.
An hour or so after Dave had cleaned out the raw water strainer, I jumped in the water to clean the bottom of the boat. Visibility isn’t great here and all of a sudden I saw what appeared to be a tree branch sticking out of the hull. Huh??
It was a big clump of the grass that had been partially sucked into the engine water thru-hull. There was so much that it hadn’t all made its way in but had just gotten stuck there. I pulled two big fistfuls out. Yikes! The problem was even worse than we first thought and I’m very glad I just happened to decide to clean the bottom before we went out again. Note to self for future: when the sea strainer is really clogged, check the thru-hull too.
It’s also easy to suck up plastic bags. Many cruising locales have a litter problem and bags that blow into the water can cause huge difficulties for boaters. We know of numerous people who did so in the Sea of Cortez. While it can happen anywhere — all is takes is one bag — be very aware of engine temperature if you encounter a patch of litter.