Installing a Bilge Pump

bilge pump with float switch

The bilge pump stopped working on the Rock ‘n Row, and it inspired me to spend some serious time in the engine compartment. Since I was going to all the trouble to access the bilge pump, I decided to shoot some pictures and video to help give beginner boaters an idea of how to install a bilge pump in their boat. . How to Install a Bilge Pump The best place to install a pump is in the lowest point of your boat. This isn’t…

Degreasing an Engine Compartment

degreasing an engine

I’ve decided to spend the next couple months doing some much overdo maintenance in my engine compartment. Over the following weeks, I’ll be documenting my activities doing some serious fiberglass repair and engine tuning. The first step however, is degreasing the engine compartment. I’ve decided to document the process because these are common activities that every boat owner needs to do, and new boat owners are often times apprehensive when tackling these chores for the first time. While not nearly as dirty as fixing marine…

How to Install a Raw Water Pump

454 water pump

The engines on the Rock ‘n Row are both OMC Cobra’s, which are really just marine versions of the Chevy 350, the same engine in the Corvette. Instead of a radiator, like a car engine has, these engines have a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is really just a copper container. Engine coolant flows through one side and cold sea water is pumped through the other. The liquids are not allowed to mix, but heat from the hot engine coolant is transferred to the cold…

Marine Engine Heating and Cooling Problems

We have been salt water sailing and cruising for many years and have had a variety of issues connected with the heating and cooling of our inboard (and outboard) boat engines. This article deals primarily with inboard boat engines though most of the same issues apply to outboards. Cooling System Basics Inboard marine engines have two basic cooling system configurations: Fresh Water with heat exchanger, or direct raw water cooling. The primary difference between fresh and raw water cooling is that a freshwater cooled engine…

Marine Water Heaters–Camping and Boat Showers

We talked about the luxury and decadence of hot water showers in our previous article, “Boating and Camping Showers.” This article goes a bit further, with specific application toward our configuration. While the specifics are, — well, rather specific, — the principles apply across most marine hot water systems. The essential elements are an engine with freshwater cooling capacities, a heat exchanger, and a hot water heater that can take advantage of the he heat exchanger. Marine Hot Water Heater Replacement 3 years ago, we…

Charging Deep Cycle Batteries on the Hook

charging deep cycle batteries

This article describes some of the initial changes I made to our boats electrical system. It also explains how I’m expanding the system for charging deep cycle batteries from a wind turbine and solar panels as part of my solar off grid living plans. My electrical system is constantly evolving on the Rock ‘n Row. When we first purchased her, the 12 volt system was powered by two 8-D starter batteries in the engine compartment. This is how the original electrical system was designed, and…

Boat and Camping Showers: Equipment and Strategies

Boat showers, like camping showers, are simple luxuries that can change a remote vacation from roughing it, to a pleasurable escape that you, your friends, and your family will look forward to year after year. One of the most luxurious and to my mind, necessary adjuncts to boat cruising, is being able to take a shower after 2 or 3 days. I can manage a weekend, a week or even a month without a shower, washing and rinsing as necessary to keep comfortable and not…

Fixing My Marine Toilet System

When I purchased the Rock ‘n Row, it came with some serious serious septic sludge issues in the holding tank. This article and video shows you how I am fixing it. Septic systems and holding tanks are subjects that I never cared to know anything about. However, shortly after purchasing the Rock ‘n Row, I realized that something was amiss with its black water system. I decided to document my ‘adventure’ with marine toilet systems for those poor boaters who are in a similar situation….

The Marine Galley Kitchen- Basics & Beyond

cattails prepared for eating

What is a Galley Kitchen? What is needed, what is helpful, what is extra? This article is about provisioning our boat galley, kitchen, and pantry. That is to say, about the food, cooking utensils and ingredients that we consider basic to our cooking style, as well as some other items that we find convenient or fun. We love to cruise, we enjoy cooking, and we enjoy eating. Equipment for Cooking Our galley consists of a gimbaled 2 burner alcohol stove, sink, icebox, auxiliary butane “Ninja”…

Marine Refrigeration and Marine Wood Repairs

The repairs continue on the Rock ‘n Row! This post describes some of the repair work I’ve been doing lately to my boat, including the electrical system for our marine refrigeration and the installation of marine grade ply to stop a cold draft Over the last two months, I spent the majority of my free time installing a large solar off grid battery pack on my boat. This battery pack will primarily be responsible for powering an electric outboard motor, but it will also be…

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