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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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Old 04-20-2004
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Bilge diaper

The bilge in my full-keeled Stone Horse is narrow and deep, only about 4 inches wide most of its length, but opening out--naturally--beneath the engine.

I don''t want to think about how many hours I spent fishing for stuff in the bilge after I pulled the prop shaft to replace the stuffing box hose and check the Cutless bearing. Aside from a crescent wrench, stuffing box tool, screwdriver, bolt and other things, the shaft coupling came off so suddenly I couldn''t stop it from going kerplunk.

A huge, bulky $25 magnet at West Marine got me nowhere. Dangled and dragged it for hours and only got an ordinary staple.

Went to Home Depot and got a $5 magnet, not much bigger than what you''d use to hold the shopping list on the fridge door, that pulls 20 pounds. It fished everything out, including the heavy shaft coupling, in just minutes.

Now that I''d recovered my tools and the shaft coupling, I remembered that it would be smart to lay something under it all to catch stuff when it dropped. Stuffed an old vinyl table cloth in there and of course didn''t drop anything.

But now I decided to make a bilge diaper. Got some canvas from a paint shop and plan to cut it and fasten it with snaps to the quarter berths so it can be quickly laid across the bilge whenever I have to work back there. Should be enough canvas left to make sides for the quarter berths so things don''t fall into the bilge when heeling over.

Simple remedies that can save hours and hours of bilge-fishing.
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