corrosion on the valve. Bronze seacocks
may have a very thin greenish coating,
which in small amounts isn’t unusual, but
larger crumbly amounts likely means it’s
weakened. If you winterize, seacocks normally should be included in the process
because water can freeze inside and crack
the fitting. Some seacocks have drain
plugs to help with winterizing.
Check to see that the body isn’t loose
on the hull. It should be snugged firm to
the hull, and normally there is a back-
ing plate between it and the hull. Some
surveyors recommend standing on the
seacock assembly to test its strength. The
idea is that when you’re working down
in your boat at sea you may actually do
this accidently, or you may inadvertently
apply other strong pressure causing the
valve to break off with resultant rapid
flooding. Obviously standing on a valve
should only be done judiciously, prefer-
ably with the boat out of the water.
Each metal seacock should have a
green ground wire connected to some
part of its body, usually at the base.
Loosen the nut securing the wire terminal connection, check to see if the
connection is clean, and spray on a little
anticorrosive oil. Also check the wire that
runs from that terminal. If the strand is
green inside the insulation, has lumps
under the insulation, or shows other
signs of corrosion, it probably isn’t doing
its job well and you should replace its terminal and the wire with another tinned
Exercise your seacocks
To keep seacocks functioning reliably, they must be exercised regularly and lubricated at least once a year. Cone- and plug-type seacocks need to be disassembled to be properly serviced, but ball-valve
seacocks are easily maintained by spreading a dollop of manufactur-er-approved waterproof lubricant on both sides of the closed ball.
Outside the boat, the ball is usually within reach, but lubricating
the interior side of the ball requires removing the hose attached to
the valve. Operate the seacock handle a couple of times to spread
the lubricant onto the seat, and make a habit of exercising it every
couple of months. — DON CASEY
That small screw on the base of this seacock is a drain. Removing it at winter layup
(with the boat out of the water) will ensure
no water is trapped that could freeze and
split the housing. This cracked seacock is
useless and will have to be replaced. If the
boat had been launched before this was
noticed, it could have sunk.
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