Liquid History, Maritime And Canal Heritage















"Bringing Seamanship to the Creeks from the River and the Estuary "   

Ship's Water. Pogue Muhone KJEng2

As might be expected of a ship that floats on water, uses water, leaks water, sucks water and blows water, the on-board water systems are both complex and interesting. Pretty much all of the water is PUMPED into, around, and out of the ship one way or another apart from


1.RAIN pouring down on the decks, which may just pour out at the gunnels but more like will drip down into the cabins below and eventually end up in the bilges. The decks are well sloped from the peak back to the engine hatch and in the opposite direction from the stern, The good old wheelhouse looks after most of that end and is the driest place on board. The wettest place is the engine room, because of the slopes from stern and bow to this area. Because skipper, crew or guests rarely if ever spend time down here it gets a low priority among caulking parties

2.SEAWATER shipped on board in heavy weather, washing over the decks in F7 which may or may not act as 1. above. Seawater will usually enter about the mainmast and will run back most of the length of the boat. No big deal as nowadays we don't get crews able to deal with F7 and would usually stay in a safe haven from F5 up. The boat is somewhat delicate and should not be pushed too hard.  

3. LEAKS in the hull of which there will always be some, often many, but none usually significant on its own except as a handy way of winding up a skipper on a dull day. Obvious sources, easy to find, are the Portside propshaft and the Portside hull behind the 'covers' in the Portside heads. Other parts that leak The whole deck over the engine room. Driest place on board is the wheelhouse. It never leaks. Its roof membrane was renewed in 2005 by Tony and Eric. The next driest place is the back end of the engine room aft of the mizzen mast and UNDER the said wheelhouse. The forepeak is pretty dry most of the time but is not to be fully trusted for sleeping purposes. Use tarps. if you want to certain to stay dry in the peak

WATER PUMPS: Do you know there are at least six water pumps in the engine room working at all times!

Each ENGINE has two water pumps. One is integrally part of the engine, circulating fresh water round the engine block and heat exchanger and (in the case of KJ) through the ship's hot water cylinder immersion heater which is simply another heat exchanger. The other pump is external, sitting on top of the engine and belt driven. It sucks seawater via a filter into the engine's heat exchanger and pumps it out to the exhaust pipe. Yes! You read that right!

While a boat's engine is running, there will be water (often steamy) spraying from the exhaust outlet. On start-up the first check to make is to ensure the water is exhausting. If there isn't, shut that engine down fast and investigate.

BILGE PUMPS: Any unpumped water which does not escape via the gunnels will find its way down to the bottom and centre of the boat into The Bilges, from which it may be pumped by automatic or manual pumps or even the diesel-engined fire-pump which lives in a locker on deck. Pump outflow points for bilge-pumps are found on the PORT side about two feet above the water line. There are three bilge pump outflows as follows.

1. For the 240VAC pump which controls the water level in the bilge under the main cabin while berthed. This pump can shift about 2500 litres per hour continuous. WORSE! It has been known to.

2. Alongside No.1 is a second outlet for the 24VDC pump which does a similar job as the mains pump.

3. Engine-room bilge outlet about 10' aft of 1&2, instantly recognisable most of the time as being somewhat oily (entirely as a result of poor house-keeping in the engine room let it be said). Engine room bilge has an emergency 'battery electric' pump, with special needs, known only to Engineers. It is an ingenious device using a 24VDC starter motor from a truck to drive a pump which sucks up from the engine bilge and blows the water out of its own outflow via a non-return valve.

Each 'head' has a pump which everybody on board should know how to use and which the Chain Gang must keep in working order. It is able to pump out excrement, wet paper and urine mixes, sometimes termed No.1s and No.2s. It is also able to pump in seawater to flush the bowls. 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ENDS PUMPS xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



KJ has three storage tanks for fresh water. The main tank is in the centre of the mess under the table. (Its maximum capacity is about 300 gallons) There are two auxiliary tanks, Port and Starboard in the forepeak under the lower bunks. The auxiliaries are supposed to be isolated at all times and maintained full JUST IN CASE. (They each hold 130 gallons). Fully watered the boat can go to sea with over 550 gallons (2.5 tons) of potable water.  Filling the tanks is done through various access points on deck. This work is normally done by the Chain-Gang all of whom have been trained in the correct procedures.  The procedure is tedious and somewhat complex and please note

Ron's advice.

Tighten the brass plate for the water supply with the PLASTIC key

which at all times hangs with the 'door' key on the gas bottle in use.

NEVER EVER tighten it with the tool used to secure the diesel tank access caps.


Hydrography: Pogue Muhone KJEng2


Water from the taps comes (from the main tank) via a pressure pump mounted under the sink in the galley, which is controlled by a wall-mounted switch high up over the sink workspace. At about eye-level over the sink is a gauge which indicates roughly how much water remains in the main tank. This gauge is active only when the pump switch is on and indeed acts as an indicator of switch status.

This switch must NEVER be left turned on when the boat is being left unattended.

That means the switch should always be turned OFF before leaving the boat.

Have you got that clear in your head now.

To double-check whether the switch is OFF or ON, first look at the gauge.

If the gauge appears to be reading 'empty', there are only three possibilities.

1. The tank is empty.

2. The switch is 'off'.

3. You have a VERY interesting little electrical problem involving the switch, the gauge, the sender unit and the water level in the main tank

The proper procedure is as follows. Open a tap and listen for the sound of the pump pumping and look for water flowing from the faucet. If no sound turn ON switch and try again. Look to see whether gauge is showing a higher reading than before. If there is still no noise and/or no gauge movement refer to 3. above.

If turning on the switch shows a higher reading, the problem was 2.

1. is very rarely the likely problem.

3. will eventually happen but not yet!

Techy bits about Pumps Shaun Wall

Kenya Jacaranda's pumps are driven by three different power sources:

1. HAND:  Jabsco Pumps in the heads for flushing the toilet bowls. These take at least 5 strokes of the pump (set on empty) then at least 10 (set on fill) to shift the contents of the bowl out to sea. Any less leaves residual excrement in the outpipe and this stinks the head. It is fully appreciated that some of our more delicate members have difficulty stomaching this kind of talk but they are the same ones who complain about the slightest whiff of shh.. sorry .. excrement from the heads.

 Each head has two sea cocks, No.1) is about 1.75"OD and provides seawater for flushing. No.2) is about 3"OD and serves as the 'exhaust'. It is a good idea to leave both in the open position during the sailing season.   

There is a Whale Gusher pump in the galley for emptying waste water FROM the sinks. (An electric pump supplies hot/cold TO the sinks.)

Portable hand-pump stored in engine room for various pumping jobs is a Whale 30. THE HAND PUMP IS NOT WORKING AS OF DEC.1. It was dismantled and some maintenance done. It has been removed to Brian's workshop for serious overhaul.

2. ELECTRICAL, 240VAC and 24VDC: All bilge pumps and the pump which supplies water for wash-basins and sinks operate off 24VDC. Except for ONE 240VAC pump which acts as the primary defence when the boat is moored up and plugged in. More info in dedicated page on electrics, which see.

3. DIESEL DRIVEN: Fire-pump stored on deck beside gas bottles, which is capable of pumping out the main cabin bilge on its own and can also pump sea-water to deal with a fire anywhere on board using a complicated system of crossover stop cocks in the Skippers cabin.

Keith Duffy Engine Start-up
2016-12-31 Keith Duffy. I'm waiting for howls from people whose engine won't start because they don't know how.

You do NOT "turn on" an engine. You follow a starting procedure, generally after doing a pre-flight check

which might include checking the gearbox is in neutral, or the engine oil level is correct or the condition of

a fanbelt. On water cooled engines with keel tanks it may be prudent to check water levels before start at

no personal cost rather than risk a head replacement job for £400 or an engine replacement for £4000.  

1.Turn the ignition key clockwise gently until meeting a slight spring resistance, checking that appropriate

panel lights come on and gauges flick. it varies from boat to boat

2. Turn the key further clockwise against a spring detent to activate the glow plugs.
This may activate a beeper or a light or cause lights to dim or go out.
Generally speaking about 30 secs, accurately timed will heat the glow plugs enough to fire up the engine.
(Turning on the ignition and waiting for something to happen will not activate the glow plugs)
(Some differently wired boats may have a separate push button away from the key for glow plugs.)
(Some keys turn anti clockwise from the "off" position to activate the glow plugs)

3. Turn the key clockwise as far as it will go to "start" the engine. Terminology is important a. to avoid
confusion and b.  because Keith has almost lost fingers on occasion by asking an owner to "turn the
ignition on" and they turn the key so far they start the engine!

4. The engine should fire up in seconds while the key is hard over, typically from 1 to 8 secs is normal.
You should be listening to the engine and well as looking and do not release the key until you know the

engine is actually firing and can see it in the exhaust. But not more than about 10secs
If or when the engine fires up, check that warning lights go out.
If they haven't, some thing is wrong, they are WARNING lights, to WARN. A red warning light is [usually]
for the alternator. Green is usually for oil pressure. Orange and blue are sometimes found even white!

5. Water cooled engines which take their cooling water from the canal should spit out the water with the
exhaust. If you do not see water spitting out, it is very very prudent to wonder why and to kick yourself in
the rear for not checking the water intake filter as part of the pre-flight.  

There are people who have owned their own boat for years and don't know the starting procedures for
their own engine, usually because they already know everything. They just crank the engine until either it
starts or the battery goes flat. They never figure out why they burn out so many batteries and starter
motors over the years.

Finally, do not take advice from your neighbours or over farceburk, London Boaters are very generous
with advice without even knowing what engine they are advising on or how it's all wired up. Every single
engine on every single boat has it's own personality, sometimes split personality even. The advice above is
general in the extreme and would be based on a BMC diesel marine unit.

Pogue O'Déise with apologies to Keith Duffy who (29/12/2016) wrote the original.

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