Shelter Cove Marina - October 2009 Newsletter
March 2014 - Marina eNewsletter
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Shelter Cove Marina
2240 Shelter Island Dr.
San Diego, Ca. 92106



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Confessions of a Boat Bilge
- Written By Your Bilge? (Actually, by Rick Krug!)
Hi boaters, this is your bilge talking. Just thought I would introduce myself. I am that dark hole in your boat that you don't like to visit. I know - I'm smelly, wet, hot, and I make everyone that comes down here worried about what they will find every time they lift the engine room hatch.

Well let's change that! With the proper information and knowledge I can be your friend and you can be put at ease about what I look like and what I have working down here.

This month let's start with the easiest way to sink a boat - via thru hull valves and hoses.

There are basically two types of thru hulls that are used in the normal manufactured boat - ball valves and gate valves.

A ball valve works by turning the handle in line with its self to allow material to pass through. It is easy to see if the valve is open or closed, and the stainless steel ball inside will cut seaweed or whatever else might be in the way as it closes. You can tell that a valve is closed if the handle is 90 degrees to the valve. This is why most manufacturers use this type of valve.

A gate valve uses a bronze thread to move the gate up and down to open and close the valve. The problem with these valves is that you don't ever really know if they are open or closed.

Scale or material could be in the way of the gate valve closing, and because the turning handle stopped, you might think that it is closed when in reality it isn't. Gate valves are also highly susceptible to galvanic corrosion and should be checked frequently.

Maintenance On These valves:
Both types of valves need to be opened and closed at least once a month to make sure that they work. The handles on ball valves can get rusted and have a tendency to break off in your hand if they are not taken care of. Can you imagine a hose just ruptured and you try to close a valve that you haven't closed in months to find it frozen or the handle breaks off?

Gate valves need to have their mechanical screw gate lubricated at the time of haul out. They also have a packing nut on the stem to allow you to tighten them so that water does not seep in the vessel.

A great safety idea is to have a soft tapered plug made of pine tied to each valve in case the valve fails and/or a hose comes loose. If water starts to come in the vessel you can either pound the wood plug into the hull to allow it to stop the water flow or place it in the hose that broke to stop water intrusion.

Hoses- while you are down cycling your valves, check the hoses for any cracks. If you find cracks in the hoses or the wire reinforcement is coming through the hoses, if the hoses crunch when you squeeze them or they are swollen, replace the hoses as soon as possible. Hose clamps should be doubled up on all hose connections and placed so that they pull in opposite directions (One clamp nut going one way the other, the other way).

Until next month, "Keep me dry and working well"..

Rick Krug is a boat yard manager and boat repair specialist with over 35 years experience. He has written articles for Sea Magazine as well as The Log and gives seminars on boat maintenance at national marine boat shows as well as local yacht clubs. You can contact Rick at

What's That Noise (Under My Boat)?
- By Kells Christian
The first time you hear it, the noise will catch your attention, as any unusual noise should.

The first time I heard it I was alone aboard a sailboat on Harbor Island in San Diego Bay. I was completely perplexed. I call it a "crackling" noise and someone else described it as the sound of Rice Krispies right after you pour in the milk. I recall my initial confusion and subsequent surprise when I was told what made the sound.

"Shrimp", someone explained, "make that sound". "What", I thought, "How could that be?"

After a few others confirmed the source of the noise I accepted it and began sharing the explanation with others, as I am often aboard with novice boaters. You only hear these little guys when it is quiet, though research suggests they are very loud (218 decibels). They aren't usually audible over the normal noise of an active boat, probably because they are only about two inches long, but try to go to sleep ...

There are many noises aboard boats. Some noises are unavoidable, like waves slapping on the hull and passing boats. Many noises (even pistol shrimp) can be soothing reminders that we are in our happy place, but some noises should be taken more seriously, for instance a short cycling bilge pump.

As a marine surveyor I advocate developing an understanding of the "norm" of the boat and reacting to changes, including different sounds. Get use to the sound of the refrigeration and battery charger. Familiarize yourself with the sound of the water discharging with your engine exhaust and/or your engine room blower running. Identify the sound of a water leak. Tell your neighbor to take care of that slapping halyard (it can be done).

Don't forget to check the function of the "emergency" sound making devices, including smoke, fire and propane alarms, audible engine alarms and high water alarms. Know what they are and how to react.

Aboard our boats, my family prefers the sound of reggae music, though rock and roll, classical and occasionally funky dance tunes can be heard.

For more information about the pistol shrimp, or more scientifically "Alpheus Heterochaelis", check out these links. This Link is to a recording of the noise, or consult "Alpheidae" in Wikipedia.

The most common reference I found to this phenomenon was a 2000 research paper called "How Snapping Shrimp Snap: Through Cavitating Bubbles" by 1. Michel Versluis; 2 Barbara Schmitz; 3. Anna von der Heydt; and 4. Detlef Lohse

How High is Too High? - Trivia Question of the Month
When the Old Spanish Lighthouse was built on top of Point Loma by the US government in 1854, it's light was the highest above sea level in the world at 460 feet.

On a clear day, the light could be seen by ships at sea over 30 miles away, however, since San Diego lies most of the time under a marine layer, the light was so high that it often shone into or on top of the marine layer instead of underneath it, and so it was virtually useless to vessels at sea for most of the year.

That's why the lighthouse was abandoned in 1891 in favor of the lower one down at the Point Loma Coast Guard Facility. Although at only 88 feet above sea level, and a lower visibility range of 17 miles, the new light was visible in a much broader span of weather conditions.

The Answer Is "Blowin'' In the Wind"
- By Richard Benscoter
Ever been sitting on your boat enjoying a nice cool beverage when all of a sudden you hear a howling whistle that brings back the goose bumps of winters spent on the eastern seaboard?

The cause is the wind blowing through your standing rigging, which causes the smooth flow of air to be split, creating a turbulent vortex which causes the air to vibrate.

Making it worse, your boat itself sometimes acts as a resonant chamber to the basic whistle, thus making it louder and more disturbing to your neighbors.

Enough of why it happens, what should we do as sail boaters to keep peace in the neighborhood?

The answer is to spiral a line around the offending rigging. This will disrupt the air flow and the chilling whistle will be gone and your sailing neighbors (and even some of your power boat friends) will most likely chill your glass!!!

Richard BenscoterEditor's Note: Richard Benscoter is a long time avid sailor. He and his wife Debbie are both avid sailors and members of the Silver Gate Yacht Club and owner of the Mariners Woodshop. If you have a sailing question for Richard, send your e-mail to

Greetings From the Marina Office
Welcome to Shelter Cove Marina's March 2014 eNewsletter.

Rain has finally arrived in San Diego, but not before we welcomed more than a dozen new tenants to the marina! The unseasonably warm winter we have been experiencing seemed to put many people in a boat-buying mood, and we have had visitors and inquiries at the marina on a daily basis.

There also seems to be a growing awareness of our five bed-and-breakfast boats, and we are seeing not only couples who are planning a romantic getaway, but also repeat customers who enjoy a relaxing getaway from their daily grind, as well as business professionals who are considering an alternative accommodation to the downtown high rise hotels.

We are saddened to report that our long-time office assistant, Barbara, had to be hospitalized - (but she is home now). If you would like to send her a card to cheer her spirits, you can mail it or bring it by the marina office, and we will be sure to get it to her.

Spring Break will be arriving in a few weeks, and we expect to be quite busy! We are rapidly approaching 90% capacity, so if you have been considering docking with us, better sooner than later to come by and see us!

Happy boating,
The Staff at Shelter Cove Marina

Christian Marine Surveyors

Thought You've Seen "Virtually" Everything?

If there's one feature of Royal Caribbean's next-generation cruise ship that is just starting construction, Quantum of the Seas, that is capturing people's imagination the most, it's likely the virtual balconies. These 80-inch LED screens attached to a wall are promising to deliver an innovative take on the dreaded inside cabin.

The virtual balconies will be 80-inch LED projection screen that stretches from floor to ceiling. They will offer digital real-time views of the ocean and destinations visible from the ship's exterior.

It will be displayed in high-resolution color on a giant 80-inch LED screen on the wall of an otherwise windowless stateroom. It will work at sea and in port.

What Your Engine and Transmission Oil Can Tell Someone About Your Boat
- By Bob Sherman
Most boat owners are familiar with sampling of engine or transmission oil, as it is often part of the pre-purchase engine survey.

The samples are taken with a vacuum pump and sterile tubing, and are analyzed for wear metals and contaminants in a laboratory. The results are usually categorized as normal, reportable, abnormal, or critical - the latter meaning that something serious is imminent.

Companies with heavy equipment and large commercial machinery routinely utilize this technology. However, always weight a trusted mechanic's overall opinion more heavily, and discuss the results with him. If the oil is older than a year, or has high hours, it could have alarming test results- on perfectly sound machinery. Likewise, just because the oil sample is normal, doesn't mean that the unit is free of issues.

A single oil sample, taken at the point of sale, is normally not conclusive. It is not like a blood test for some infectious disease! To get what is considered a reliable result, the oil needs to be sampled three times, each time with fresh oil, ideally with 50 or more hours on it. Therefore, some mechanics believe that a single sample (when buying a boat) is a waste of money. Discuss it with your mechanic or broker.

In my opinion, a one-time test when you are buying a boat is always a good idea. If there are any "red flags", the mechanic can be on the lookout for any symptoms that are indicated by the test results. Also, there should never be salt water or coolant in the oil, even on a single sample. Since the sampling is relatively inexpensive (around $35 per kit), it is usually worthwhile, unless the oil does not have at least 20 hours on it.

I recommend to sample engines, transmissions, and the genset, if the boat has one. But again, take it for what it's worth. There is often an explanation for some anomalies.

A boat owner can also have the oil sampled routinely, during the course of ownership - perhaps every other oil change, or every other year. If the unit suddenly had high wear metal levels of a certain type, you could be alerted to an imminent problem. The idea is to "nip it in the bud" before it becomes a serious problem. When it's time to sell, you'll have the "wear trend" reports, which are of great value when reviewing the overall "bill of health" of the machinery.

Editor's Note: Bob Sherman has over 20 years of Yacht sales experience and is the owner of Yacht-Source. He is also qualified to instruct on all vessel types, and has held 100-ton Captain's license since 1982. He is an avid sailor, and scuba diver. You can send an e-mail to Bob at

Mariner's Book Corner
Here are this month's reading recommendations for some of those lazy days hanging out on your boat at the marina.

The Essentials of Living Aboard
This book educates both dreamers and explorers with information about this wonderful and rewarding lifestyle.

Mark Nicholas has combined his experience of life aboard with the advice of other liveaboards, marina owners, technicians, boat manufacturers and advocates in order to detail the challenges and offer real advice for success. Presents a rich mine of information for potential liveaboards.

The Voyager's Handbook: The Essential Guide to Blue Water
Managing life from a floating home and keeping that home livable, seaworthy, and safe requires you to become, among other things, the ship's purser, engineer, doctor, cook, and cruise director.

You'll discover how to prepare for these new roles and put necessary equipment and arrangements in place before you untie your docklines. This exquisitely detailed guide also helps you master the skills you'll need to handle a boat at sea with a small crew.

The Care and Feeding of the Sailing Crew
Despite the title, this is hardly a cookbook; rather it s a primer on successful cruising. Anyone contemplating, or preparing for off shore passages would want to read and then keep this volume aboard.

A 50 day passage from Japan to Victoria, Canada provides a base for discussing everything from menus to clothing, to choosing a fresh chicken, to dealing with port officials, to preventing sea sickness, to buying liquor abroad as well as the best material for underwear.

Imray - Boating "App" of the Month
This is a reference guide to rules and signals at sea. Part of a series of Marine Navigation apps, Rules & Signals is a useful tool for sailors, fishermen, surfers and people involved in sea water sports.

Includes Rules of the Road, Steering and Sailing Rules, Lights and Shapes: day and night time marking of boats, Sound Signals in restricted visibility, Actual Sounds, Distress Signals plus Full Colregs text. I Like
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