ommend. To give you an idea, some ball
valves have stainless balls, others have
chrome-plated brass balls, and others like
Groco have PTFE seats and seals.
I can tell you, however, that it’s usually bad to soak them with penetrating
oil. This will often swell up the rubber
(or whatever) inside, which makes the
seal. Most oil-based products will do
this, depending on the brand of seacock.
With many valves, silicone grease is
OK. Forespar, for example, claims that
its Marelon valves are OK with water-pump grease or even mineral oil to
lubricate seals. At your stage it’s probably
best to disassemble and inspect the seacocks when the boat is out of the water.
The seal(s) may be so swollen that you
need to replace seals and seats or even
the entire valve, depending on the type
The best thing to do to keep seacocks working well is simply to exercise
them often – opening and closing them
all the way, several times each “exercise
session.” For more info on servicing
seacocks, see “The care and feeding of
seacocks” on page 82.
Hot batteries when it’s cold
I have a cabin boat that I store on my
trailer in my pole barn during the win-
ter. Part of its standard equipment is a
battery charger that operates when the
boat is plugged into shore power. Is it
OK to leave the batteries in the boat and
hooked up to shore power, or should I
remove them and keep them in my house
with a battery tender? I’m concerned
about having power to the onboard bat-
tery tender while the boat is unattended
for the winter. George Greene
T.N.: It’s helpful to keep those batteries
charged during the winter. It’s OK to
keep a battery charger on your boat, but
it should only be one that’s specifically
designed and rated for marine use and
one that won’t overcharge. Nonmarine
car-battery-type chargers can introduce
various problems on a boat. You’d want a
marine “smart” battery charger that sens-
es battery state and reduces the charge to
a standby mode when appropriate. You
also want to have them well ventilated.
And you want to be sure that your boat’s
systems are sound (no bad wiring or
faulty contacts, for example, but you’d
want this anyway). Check the status
of your charger, batteries, and the boat
regularly. Boats don’t like to be left alone.
Another alternative is to leave the
batteries in place on the boat but disconnect the leads at the terminal, keeping
them fastened safely out of the way. This
will minimize “leakage” that may occur
within your system. I’ve done this for
years with my 20-foot Mako, which I
store ashore in the winter on a trailer.
It would be better to remove the
batteries, keep them in a relatively warm
environment, and keep them charged.
I wouldn’t recommend keeping them
charged with a battery charger inside your
house, however. They emit potentially
dangerous gasses during charging that
can be injurious to property and people.
NONMARINE CAR-BATTERY-TYPE CHARGERS CAN
PROBLEMS ON A BOAT
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