WARNING SIGNS AND SAFETY NEWS FROM BOATU.S. MARINE INSURANCE
Aluminum is a great metal for sailboat masts; it’s light- weight and strong. But because it sits pretty low on
the galvanic series, it can be easily
damaged by corrosion when another
metal that’s higher up in the series
(such as stainless steel) is in contact with it and is frequently wetted
with an electrolyte (seawater). The
combination sets up a galvanic cell
that takes some of the metal away
from aluminum, which weakens it.
What’s worse is that the corrosion
often occurs behind a fitting where
you can’t see it. To prevent this kind
of galvanic damage, mast fittings, such as cleats and winches, must be insulated from the mast. Plastic or teak pads are available for just such a purpose.
Stainless screws driven into the mast should be coated with Tef-Gel, a PTFE
waterproof paste, to reduce the risk of corroding the aluminum.
Throwing a little electrical tape around a twist connector like this doesn’t makeitany
better (or comply
Boat & Yacht
Twist connectors have a couple
of problems that
make them unsuitable for boat use.
First, the connectors are designed to cut
into the wire to make a connection. If the
wire is tin-coated to resist corrosion, that
advantage is gone. Cutting into the wire
also weakens it. Second, these connectors
are simply not secure like a proper crimp
connector. If they get knocked around,
they tend to fall off, leaving bare wires,
which could start a fire. Not only that,
they’re not sealed at the ends and allow
water in the connection, leading to corrosion. A heat-sealable crimp connector
is the best choice for DIY wiring projects.
Your VHF radio is one of the most important pieces of safety equipment you have on board your vessel. By using a VHF radio with digital select calling (DSC) capability, you increase your safety dramatically by
taking advantage of enhanced communications options. These
options link your vessel to other vessels and rescuers, providing
a strong modern safety net.
DSC-equipped radios interfaced with GPS will also send
your position with the emergency message in a distress situation. But if you do not register and get an MMSI number (the
VHF equivalent of a phone number), none of the advanced
safety features will work in an emergency. It’s not hard to do
and it could save your life. Go to BoatUS.com/MMSI to register. MMSI registration is free for BoatU.S. members.