Making It Mine
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.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.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.