Through Hulls - Open or Closed? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-30-2015 Thread Starter
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Through Hulls - Open or Closed?

I am vigilant about closing through hulls when they are not in use. Seems like prudent seamanship to me given that a hose or clamp issue could/can sink a boat. One exception is the engine raw water intake (double clamped I might add) which I occasionally leave open at night in case the engine needs to be started in a hurry. Granted we sail a Catalina 27 so only have 6 through hulls. Some of our through hulls are a pain to reach. The Admiral thinks I am overly concerned and she is not a fan of having to remember to open and close them when she uses the sink.

I recommended that we let sailnet resolve the disagreement. Thoughts on the issue?

Josh
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Re: Through Hulls - Open or Closed?

I'm on your side, John.. I close them when I am off the boat for more that a few hours.. Keeping them moving keeps them from getting stuck in the open position too.

David

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post #3 of 13 Old 05-30-2015
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Re: Through Hulls - Open or Closed?

I know where they all are, and check them every few months, but honestly I have never closed them regularly. If I was that worried about them failing I would replace them.

Is it safer to close them? Possibly a little, but the skin fitting failures I have seen in the past are not in the ball or after it, but when the pipe broke free from the flange (four of these failures so far). If I was leaving the boat unattended for months I would close them, but our boat is used at least once a week, normally more, and I can't see the point.

In the same vein, it is actually safer to turn off the breaker on your house every time you leave it, turn off the mains water, and shut off the glass valve too. But anyone who did this for their house would be thought of as completely mad. Why it's different on a boat I have no idea.

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Re: Through Hulls - Open or Closed?

It's different because your house doesn't sink at anchor and leave you swimming.
Even if you rupture a pipe in your house in the middle of the night, you can walk outside, or shut other valves if you get to them in time.
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-30-2015
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Re: Through Hulls - Open or Closed?

I close mine every time I leave the boat for the day, but leave them open while we're there. We're on a mooring, so if she did sink it's straight down in 30 feet of water. In a slip she'd be hanging on the dock lines in maybe 10 feet of water, so not as critical. Underway, we leave them open. I have a high water alarm so I figure we'd have time to fix the leak if we were aboard.
We do the same thing on my commercial boats, everything on and operational when crew or passengers are aboard, everything but alarms and bilge pumps off when we're not.
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-30-2015
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Re: Through Hulls - Open or Closed?

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Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
It's different because your house doesn't sink at anchor and leave you swimming.
Even if you rupture a pipe in your house in the middle of the night, you can walk outside, or shut other valves if you get to them in time.
The only reason to close them while you are away is to limit property damage. Same for the house when you are away. If you are this concerned about the state of your wiring in either place then fix it.

At the marina we turn off the breakers because we have known voltage spikes due to dock wiring that is faulty. But if the delivered power was clean I would probably leave all the breakers on, just like I do at home when I leave for vacation.

Greg
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Re: Through Hulls - Open or Closed?

I have cut the handle on a ball valve, and welded them back on at a 45 degree angle,. That way, 45 degrees one way is closed and 45 degrees the other is open. That let me put a push rod on, whatever length is needed, to open and close them in hard to reach spots, without having to reach around lockers full of stuff. Makes it much easier to close and open them.
Peaceful compromise!
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-30-2015
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Re: Through Hulls - Open or Closed?

We keep the seacock closed unless we are using it.

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post #9 of 13 Old 05-30-2015
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Re: Through Hulls - Open or Closed?

Closed when we are off the boat for a day.

I just replaced all six (excepting the engine which is a special case). I went with Forespar series 93 because I view them as stronger, mounted right to the backer plate, it sticking up. Also they can be serviced. I actually moved one to make it easier to get at and oriented 4 all the same way, easier to remember how to operate them.

A while back a nice steel boat was lost after a roll In large part because she took on sufficient water to put the sink under the water line. The owner had a knock on the head and was incapacitated. The crew could not find and operate the sea ****. She sunk through the sink! How painful is that?
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post #10 of 13 Old 05-30-2015
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Re: Through Hulls - Open or Closed?

Closed when we are off the boat for a day.

I just replaced all six (excepting the engine which is a special case). I went with Forespar series 93 because I view them as stronger, mounted right to the backer plate, not sticking up. Also they can be serviced. I actually moved one to make it easier to get at and oriented 4 all the same way, easier to remember how to operate them.

A while back a nice steel boat was lost after a roll In large part because she took on sufficient water to put the sink under the water line. The owner had a knock on the head and was incapacitated. The crew could not find and operate the seacock. She sunk through the sink! How painful is that?

Last edited by hpeer; 05-30-2015 at 09:04 PM.
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