size of a half-dollar); sometimes these plugs
“blow out” as the water expands while it freezes — one of the first indications of the block
freezing. The plug should be lying in the bilge.
I think you’re looking at a new engine. Sorry.
COLD IN THE DITCH
WE’RE THINKING OF MAKING our first
trip down the ICW, from the Chesapeake Bay
to Punta Gorda, Florida. We can’t begin our
journey until the week of October 5th. Is this
too late? Gerald Prado
ity in accordance with the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions. A tag should be attached,
showing the date of such a maintenance check.
The issue with halon and halon-replace-ment fixed systems is that they’re similar to
propane: A pressure gauge only tells you there’s
pressure, not how much of the agent is in the
canister. The primary value of the “alert and
ready” panel is that it warns you of a loss of
pressure without the need to look at the cylinder
gauge — often out of sight without a special
effort. Having such a panel gives no additional
information about the volume of agent in the
placard is worn and unreadable. Bayliner
responded to my request for a new placard with a letter listing the capacities and
suggested that I keep a copy of this letter
onboard to present to authorities doing a
safety check. Will this meet the requirement
for the placard listing capacities or will I
be in violation? Can you help me get a real
placard? Paul Boos
TOM NEALE: We’ve done this trip as late as
the end of December. Each season is different,
but leaving the week of October 5th is not too
late. We prefer to leave mid to late November,
to allow the hurricane season to wind down.
You probably have reverse-cycle heating and
air conditioning, which will work from your
generator or from shore power. You’ll find
many good marinas where you can tie for the
night, plug in, and keep warm. If you anchor
out overnight, I don’t recommend running the
generator for heat while you sleep. Just bundle
up and take extra blankets. Have a great trip.
I HAVE AN 18-FOOT 1999 BAYLINER
TROPHY Walkaround and the capacity
JOHN ADEY: You can’t get a new placard
from Bayliner, so your only choice is to have
one made at a sign shop. The Coast Guard has
a very specific format for the layout, color, and
content of the label. Visit www.uscgboating.org,
and click on the “Regulations” tab where you’ll
find the “Boatbuilder’s Handbook.” In the sec-
MEET THE EXPERTS
He’s been one of the most consulted experts on boat care and
upgrades for 30 years, and a panelist on our “Ask The Experts”
website for a decade. He and his wife cruise aboard their 30-footer
part of the year in the eastern Caribbean. His books include Don
Casey’s Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual, and the
recently updated This Old Boat, the bible for do-it-yourself boaters.
FIXED FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
IN RENEWING THE COVERAGE on my
1987 Silverton 34X, my insurer noted a
missing inspection tag on the automatic fire
extinguisher in the engine room. The wording in their letter says, “It’s a federal law
that these systems are checked and tagged
every year in order to maintain their USCG
approval.” I’m not saying that’s a bad idea,
but in 31 years of boating, I’ve never heard
that it’s a federal requirement to have them
tested annually. Also, my boat doesn’t have
the remote “alert and ready” panel and I’m
wondering why a previous owner would
install the auto extinguisher and not the
panel? Domenic Dimento
Drexel Hill, PA
DON CASEY: There’s no federal requirement to have a fixed extinguisher system
inspected annually on a recreational boat.
However, if your insurance coverage is predicated on a fixed-extinguisher installation or
if you’re getting a premium discount, then
typically the system must meet ABYC (American
Boat & Yacht Council) guidelines, which does
require a full maintenance check every year by a
qualified fire-extinguishing-system service facil-
The VP/Technical Director for the American Boat & Yacht Council
(ABYC), John grew up boating. He’s been in the industry since
1990, with experience from a yacht brokerage and boatyard to
owning a marine supply store. He and his family sail their classic
1976 Irwin ketch, a boat he completely restored. John is a trusted
source for technical information for industry professionals.
He’s maintained, lived aboard, and cruised long distance on boats
with his wife and family for most of his adult life. He can take apart
and fix almost every system aboard a boat, has written two books,
filmed a two-set DVD on East Coast cruising, written for top marine
magazines, and has won seven first-place awards from Boating
Writers International and many awards for his technical writing.
The editor of Seaworthy, the damage avoidance newsletter of
BoatU.S. Marine Insurance, Bob has written hundreds of articles
on safety, loss prevention and causes of boating accidents.
His 2006 book, Seaworthy, Essential Lessons of Things Gone
Wrong, is based on 20 years of real claims files. He’s owned
Folkboats to J-Boats and currently sails a 36-foot sloop.
One of the most experienced technical writers in the marine business, and an accomplished fisherman, Lenny has a thorough
understanding of modern marine electronics on both technical and end-user’s levels. He’s written five books, and won 18
Boating Writers awards and two awards for excellence from the
Outdoor Writers Association. For several years running, he’s also
been selected as a judge for the NMMA Innovation Awards.
OCTOBER | NOVEMBER 2011 BoatU.S. Magazine | 00 CONTACT THESE AND ALL OUR EXPERTS AT WWW.BOATUS.COM/ASK. YOU’LL FIND HUNDREDS OF QUESTIONS AND EXPERT ANSWERS ALREADY ARCHIVED. THE BEST PART? THIS SERVICE IS FREE TO MEMBERS.