Question: Do you close your seacocks when leaving the boat? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 70 Old 09-27-2014 Thread Starter
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Question: Do you close your seacocks when leaving the boat?

I have two thru-hulls which I routinely close when I leave the boat, first is intake for the head, second is raw water intake for engine. My boat is in a slip, and prior owner recommended to me closing them when leaving.

My hoses are in good condition, and I wonder if I'm over thinking keeping these closed when not at the boat in case of a hose/ clamp failure.

Thoughts/ Opinions?
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post #2 of 70 Old 09-27-2014
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Re: Question: Do you close your seacocks when leaving the boat?

From what I've read, it's good practice to do this. It also exercises the valve to keep them from seizing up on you. Since winter is coming, you may want to check if you have a drain screw to remove water trapped in the ball valve so it doesn't freeze/expand and end up breaking something.

Since you're already closing them, I would say to keep doing it.
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post #3 of 70 Old 09-27-2014
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Re: Question: Do you close your seacocks when leaving the boat?

I always close mine when I leave the boat.
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post #4 of 70 Old 09-27-2014
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Re: Question: Do you close your seacocks when leaving the boat?

Obviously...

... If overnight. The other concern is growth inside the hoses. Deprived of oxygen, marine growth will die, but leave them open long enough, and they can clog right up with hard growth.

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post #5 of 70 Old 09-27-2014
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Re: Question: Do you close your seacocks when leaving the boat?

As said, the best reason I think is to exercise the valves. And generally getting your eyes/hands into the various corners of the boat on a regular basis is also a good thing.

The downside to closing the engine seacock is that you might forget to open it. I keep the key on the seacock now...


Note that if the engine is below the waterline, and it usually is, then the ocean is in your engine too and you're relying on hose clamps on both ends, the raw water strainer, the heat exchanger, raw water pump etc to keep it out. There are a lot of failure points there than beyond just the hose on the seacock.
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post #6 of 70 Old 09-27-2014
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Re: Question: Do you close your seacocks when leaving the boat?

When i leave the boat I close all of the seacocks except the cockpit drains. Peace of mind and to excercise them. Prevent growth is another benefit I had not thought of (thanks pdqaltair!)

I also hang the engine start key on the raw water intake seacock handle when I close it ... That way I don't forget to open it before starting the engine.
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Re: Question: Do you close your seacocks when leaving the boat?

Close them. You lock your door when you leave the house to keep undesireables out. Same on the boat: water INside is not your friend, and boats can and do sink at a mooring or at a dock because of an oversight. No personal experience but at least one acquaintance sank overnight in dock while they were asleep - fortunately, the bottom was only one foot away.
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post #8 of 70 Old 09-27-2014
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Re: Question: Do you close your seacocks when leaving the boat?

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Originally Posted by asdf38 View Post
Note that if the engine is below the waterline, and it usually is, then the ocean is in your engine too and you're relying on hose clamps on both ends, the raw water strainer, the heat exchanger, raw water pump etc to keep it out. There are a lot of failure points there than beyond just the hose on the seacock.
Good point here.

The engine and other parts below the waterline... I went to open the raw water strainer to clean out the debris trap on my boat and water overflowed until the seacock was closed. A failure doesn't have to be at the seacock to sink the boat, so closing them is a good idea.

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post #9 of 70 Old 09-27-2014
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Re: Question: Do you close your seacocks when leaving the boat?

Definitely close them when leaving for more than a few hours but not if we are just going on shore for a meal or to do some shopping. Exercising the seacocks is for the good and it only a minute or two to flush out the dead stinky water in the head pipes.

Oh yes, we also close head seacocks when offshore/coastal.

ps - the closest I've come to disaster other than on two occasions when moronic yard workers tried to sink us by leaving hoses off seacocks is when our manual bilge pump started siphoning back into the bilge. We where outside at the time on a short passage but it was somewhat freaky until we figured out what was going on.
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Last edited by tdw; 09-27-2014 at 08:26 PM.
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post #10 of 70 Old 09-27-2014
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Re: Question: Do you close your seacocks when leaving the boat?

My seacocks are position normal closed I open them as needed I don't have an inboard motor but if I did I would not leave that seacock open when not needed / not aboard

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