Seacocks - Who Needs 'em? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 21 Old 12-18-2006 Thread Starter
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Seacocks - Who Needs 'em?

This past summer I decided to loosen and then re-tighten the old gate valves attached to underwater through-hulls on my Bayfield 25. I had read a lot about how gate valves didn't do as good a job as ball valves, but I didn't pay much attention . Anyways, as I'm re-tightening the starboard through-hull, putting the final quarter turn on the handle, the ENTIRE COVER pops off the side of the fitting and water starts POURING in through the 1.5" opening in the side of the fitting. Needless to say, I'm freaking out a little, but manage to screw the cover back on.

Which brings me to my question - I've since put the boat on the hard and have removed the gate valves, with the initial plan of replacing them with ball valves. Since the only use for these through-hulls is to drain the cockpit, (No inboard diesel, etc.) I'm thinking of not even bothing with seacocks, and instead just running a hose from the cockpit drains straight to the underwater though-hulls - about 1.5' distance... I can't see why I would ever need to close the seacocks, and they seem like a waste of time and money. Any thoughts on why I should have seacocks in place instead of a couple of softwood plugs at the ready for an emergency?
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post #2 of 21 Old 12-18-2006
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In an emergency like one of the hoses breaking open it will take you quite a bit longer to cut the hose and put the softwood plug in than it will to simply close a valve. I admit that it is unlikely you will ever close the valve (I have the same arrangement) I just like the redundancy. It doesn't cost very much and gives you just that much more security.
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post #3 of 21 Old 12-18-2006
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I removed all the gate valve thru hulls I had. All four to be exact. I close all my thru hulls whenever I leave the boat. Some I close when underway. I guess for me it lets me cycle them to make sure they have not frozen up. I also have all the wooden plugs tied to the thru hull. I doubt I will ever need them but due to the fact that I know Murphy, and cant remember half his laws. I won't Jinx myself, knock in wood, I try to leave ol' Murphy on the dock..

Fair Winds,

Bill
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post #4 of 21 Old 12-18-2006
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Thru-hulls are for on one hand a necessity, to drain or bring water in. Valves are not required, however, I would never have a thru-hull without some type of shut off valve. Gate valves are no good for this. You need a valve (seacock) that can open or close fully in a quarter of a turn. I personally like good quality marine grade ball valves for this. The day you remove the seacocks will be the day or shortly therafter that Murphy will pay a visit. Play it safe, get new seacocks.
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post #5 of 21 Old 12-18-2006
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It is also unlikely that your insurance company would approve of setting up the boat without seacocks of some sort...and if your boat is sunk due to a failed hose, you could be found negligent and then the insurance company wouldn't have to pay up.

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post #6 of 21 Old 12-19-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
It is also unlikely that your insurance company would approve of setting up the boat without seacocks of some sort...and if your boat is sunk due to a failed hose, you could be found negligent and then the insurance company wouldn't have to pay up.
I have two seacocks on the sink outflows, but all my inflows (engine, AC, head) are covered by a single 4 inch standpipe. Standpipes make things a little easier, as long as you keep the tops above the waterline, of course.

It makes things easier that it's a steel boat.
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post #7 of 21 Old 12-19-2006
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Actually it doesn't make it a lot easier. You've got a steel hull and brass valves, and those are dissimilar metals. Probably contributed to the bonnet on your old valve breaking. If you replace them, I'd use a stainless steel or plain steel valve. Gate valves are disparaged but will function fine if exercised regularly. But since you don't need the regulating ability of a gate valve and ball valve prices have come WAY down in the last few years, I'd go with the ball valve. Pipe dope and teflon tape combined will thread it on nicely and also prevent you from overtightening.

If the ingress is below the water line put a valve on it-they're cheap. And don't worry about "marine" grade-your plumbing supply house, or Grainger, will have the same item without the "marine" price upgrade.

Last edited by sailaway21; 12-19-2006 at 01:21 AM.
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post #8 of 21 Old 12-19-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiente
I have two seacocks on the sink outflows, but all my inflows (engine, AC, head) are covered by a single 4 inch standpipe. Standpipes make things a little easier, as long as you keep the tops above the waterline, of course.

It makes things easier that it's a steel boat.
Valiente, could you please expound on this a bit? I've been curious about the concept of sea chests (?) and manifolds. What do you mean, "tops above the waterline?" How does one prevent the engine from starving, say, the air conditioner or--worse--vice versa? (I don't have an air conditioner, but one can dream, can't one?)
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post #9 of 21 Old 12-19-2006
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valiente-

That is not the case for most boat owners, who have fiberglass hulls...and seacocks are generally required by insurance companies from what I've seen. Even on your boat, I would want a seacock on the hoses coming off the standpipe— what if one of the hoses breaks and you get pooped, and it brings the opening below the water level temporarily... be awful nice to be able to stop the water from pouring in... but that's just me...

Sea chests, manifolds and such are essentially designed to reduce the number of through hullls needed on a boat by combining the feed for several salt water lines via a single, larger through hull. It effectively can reduce maintenance, by eliminating separate through hulls.

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Last edited by sailingdog; 12-19-2006 at 12:42 PM.
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post #10 of 21 Old 12-19-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailaway21
Actually it doesn't make it a lot easier. You've got a steel hull and brass valves, and those are dissimilar metals. Probably contributed to the bonnet on your old valve breaking. If you replace them, I'd use a stainless steel or plain steel valve. Gate valves are disparaged but will function fine if exercised regularly. But since you don't need the regulating ability of a gate valve and ball valve prices have come WAY down in the last few years, I'd go with the ball valve. Pipe dope and teflon tape combined will thread it on nicely and also prevent you from overtightening.

If the ingress is below the water line put a valve on it-they're cheap. And don't worry about "marine" grade-your plumbing supply house, or Grainger, will have the same item without the "marine" price upgrade.
I wasn't the person who had a broken valve. The standpipe has welded in and threaded T-fittings (three in use and one spare), all with bronze ball cocks and teflon tape. The top of the standpipe (above the waterline) has a four-inch cap that is threaded on. Winterizing consists of putting a bung in the intake on the hull bottom and pouring anti-freeze down the standpipe. Fire up A/C. engine and Lavac head in order, and you are done. All seawater inlets have inline filters.

The P.O. said that a fish was once sucked into the standpipe. The solution was to tape a cloth into a three-inch ball, attach it to a length of threaded rod, take off the standpipe cap and to do a quick plunge. Ta-ta, stuck fish corpse.

The through-hull OUTLETS, on the other hand, are Marelon. The changes I would make would be to add a ball valve to the exhaust to stop siphoning water back on starboard tack (the exhaust is out the side, not the stern), and to route the many tank vents away from deck level to well above the deck to avoid water ingress. I plan on doing these jobs next year. We plan to leave in '09.
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