Making It Mine

LED Boat Lights

I had to rewire the switch in this lamp and also replace the incandescent bulb with an LED.

A boat is just a boat. It only becomes your boat when you put your energy into it; when you take it apart, inspect it’s components and put it back together. Until that point it’s just so much fiberglass, wood, and steel.

I find that I harbor a trepidation against all new components that I add to the boat until I’ve taken them apart and rebuilt them. Until that time, I always half-expect it to blow up and misbehave when I turn my back or need it most.

My blackwater pump is a perfect example. I have a Type II holding tank that lets me safely pump the tank overboard after its been puréed and disinfected. Dealing with the plumbing of this system is always an unpleasent job. The pump that came with the boat broke and I replaced it with a new one. Only a month later, the new pump began to leak. Unimpressed with the performance, I seriously thought about shopping for a different brand. Instead, I was able to get a kit to rebuild the pump. Also not a fun job, but I perfer to fix things rather than replace them, when I can.

Fan and Light

The fixed light is now in place and working great!

Once I got the pump open, I was able to see how simple and bullet proof it was. The replacement of the seals took a full 15 minutes and the pump works great now. I’ve now gone from resenting the pump to loving it. I now have the confidence and knowledge to rebuild the entire pump in 15 minutes if the need arises, even in bad weather conditions. The pump has gone from a minus applied to the overall confidence I feel about the boat, to a surplus.

Everything that I fix on my boat goes through this same psychological metomorphosis. A couple of days ago I finally replaced the last incandescent bulb on my boat with an LED one. My boat now uses about 3 amps with every single light on, both inside and outside the boat. A load that my batteries would not have any problem sustaining for days at a time.

Thermostat Controlled Boat Heater

I love my thermostatically controlled boat heater. I expect to get several years of service now that I know how to service it.

A few days before that, the thermostatically controlled heater I use (when at the dock), was making noise that indicated to me the fan was getting clogged with dust. I cracked it open and vacuumed out the dirt. Noise gone. I now know when the heater is ‘talking’ to me and letting me know when it needs service. I expect to get years of more life out of this heater than I would expect without this routine maintenance.

Living aboard my boat makes these frequent and necessary maintenance tasks easy and natural to do. It is an antithesis to the story of neglect that most boats would tell if they could. As I always say to my family and friends, boating is an expensive hobby but an inexpensive lifestyle.

Gaining an intimate knowledge of the subsystems of the boat is how I transform it from a boat to my boat. It’s also a big part of living a self-sufficient lifestyle and a life of true materialism, covered more explicitly in true wealth.





And that is how we got our first house. Just rowed over to Johns Island and stole it. For though it belonged to no one in particular, it certainly didn’t below to us. That is, not at first. But after those nights when we tore it down and rowed home with it in the moonlight – then it belonged to us.
June Burn
Living High

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Clamming Tools
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Comments
5 Responses to “Making It Mine”
  1. “…boating is an expensive hobby but an inexpensive lifestyle.”

    Chris, that’s so true it almost hurts. For years, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with that very thought, in the form of “I could stop working right now if I sold out and moved onto the boat,” as compared with “this damn boat is costing me big time,” meaning that I have to work more.
    I’m doomed to vacation cruises because of “family obligations.”
    Anyway, what you said has a deeper meaning and I hope your readers learn from it.

  2. Alan says:

    Sounds like the first rule of flying from Serenity “Firefly”

    Love. You can learn all the math in the ‘verse, but you take a boat in the air that you don’t love, she’ll shake you off just as sure as the turn of the world. Love keeps her in the air when she ought to fall down. Tells you she’s hurting before she keens. Makes her a home.

  3. Shawn Munger says:

    Now you just need that deck pumpout you’ve always wanted to install.
    Please no OVB, dumping, pee only!
    Pumpout, New No Discharge Zone Restriction.
    A good thing!

    • Chris says:

      I’m afraid I have to disagree with you on that one, Shawn.

      There has been talk of a proposal to the EPA to make the Puget Sound a no-discharge zone, and I am against it. Here’s why:

      When I lived on the Rock ‘n Row, I had regular pump-outs scheduled. I ended up interviewing the guy who ran the pump-out company in Anacortes and Everett in anticipation of writing an article for this blog on the dangers of sewage in the water. He admitted to me that he had tried very hard to dig up some sort of study that showed a negative impact on the environment from boat sewage, and he had never been able to find one. That really made me scratch my head.

      I talked to a lifetime boating friend of mine, who also has a Type II system. He told me that his uncle is a marine biologist and he questioned his uncle extensively on the dangers of human waste from boats. The biologist confirmed that no academic study existed on the negative impacts of discharge from boats. On the contrary, sea life is incredibly capable of processing human waste, just as it does for animal waste (go figure).

      While I am opposed to untreated discharge, or high concentrations of treated discharge (such as in marinas), making the Puget Sound a no-discharge zone specifically targets Type II and Type I treatment systems. It attempts to solve a problem that does not exist. It would require expensive retrofits for recreational and commercial boats, and would not make one iota of difference to the environment.

      Note: I invite anyone who has evidence that refutes my opinion to chime in and post a link to it here. Please, prove me wrong!

      • thom permenter says:

        Well said sir!
        This whole thing is just an attempt to gain more control by the EPA. “See, we are saving you” so we need more money. Just protecting their little empire.

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