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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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Old 01-16-2009
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Question What the **** is that noise?

I'm a new liveaboard, and I expected certain sounds and a level of continuous movement. (I was on a 550 foot long cruiser in the navy, so I am not totally new to this.)

But the last few nights I've heard two noises that I didn't hear the first few, possibly because I got in so late those nights and was so exhausted.

The first is a rapid but short lived pounding sound upon the hull that sounds like high speed screws. (No, I don't think I'm being torpedoed.) My slip is 200 yards from the mouth of the marina, and the main channel is twice, possibly three times that far from the marina. Am I hearing -- and feeling -- the vibration of the screws of big fishing boats? And if I am, what are my chances of getting them to not sail past me when I am sleeping?? (Yea, yea ... that's like asking "Will my boat appreciate in value?")

The second is is the area of the mast and only audible when I am in the cabin. I thought it was wires and lines slapping the mast, but I have secured those away and the sound continues. In sailing movies -- "Master and Commander" for one, or "Bounty" -- you always hear the creaking of the boat. It almost sounds like that, but more metallic, and just above my head when I am in the "head".

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TonyInNewportOregon
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Old 01-16-2009
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There are a couple of anchorages here in the San Juans that seem to collect the propulsion sounds from nearby traffic lanes. First time I heard it, I spent 15 minutes pulling up floorboards in the boat to try and locate the source of the noise. I thought it was a hidden bilge pump at first.
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Old 01-16-2009
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Can't comment on the first while in a dock, but I have experienced this at anchor from vessels far away. Water transmits sounds is strange ways.

For the second, many masts have electric wires in them which may not be attached to the inside. So any movement of the vessel will cause those wires to strike the inside of the mast. You clearly won't hear that underway given other background noise. But when docked, noise such as this will become noticable.

Last edited by arja; 01-16-2009 at 03:56 PM. Reason: correct comments
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Old 01-16-2009
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Remember water carries sounds a LOT further than air does...

What kind of ships were you on in the Navy? (Curious)
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Old 01-16-2009
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Wires and halyards inside the mast still move with the rocking of the boat.
The only way to stop it is to encase the wires and halyards in something.
I read an article where one guy stuffed swim noodles into his mast to 'lock' stuff up, I don't recommend it.

You telling me that time on the cruiser didn't teach you to ignore noise and sleep when it was time to sleep? (Retired Navy)
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Old 01-16-2009
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Perhaps your bilge pump makes noise when it runs, maybe your neighbor's does as well.
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Old 01-16-2009
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If you're certain the first noise isn't coming from within you own hull, then my guess is that you are hearing a neighbors electric water or head pump. Electric heads are very noisy, and in my experience seem even louder outside of the boat they're installed in than inside.
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Old 01-16-2009
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We have some major ferry terminals here.. and the noise that transmits into the boat from a ferry running hard against its ramp while unloading can be impressive..

Quite possible you're hearing traffic....
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Old 01-16-2009
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Could it be fenders? Sometimes when waves come in and there's a rather large boat tied up the crunching of the fenders makes a weird sound like he said.
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Old 01-16-2009
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Mast noise could come from the gooseneck or the vang. Usually they make creeking/squeeking noises. Try a drop or two of oil. If it sounds like wires banking on the mast, it may be coming from inside the mast.

Another option- learn to enjoy the noise (as long as your neighbors aren't complaining).
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