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



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The Top 10 Steps to Help Rid Your Boat of Odors
- By Michael McNeil
It's one of the most common complaints I hear from boat owners. Especially from the women of the boat.

Eliminating boat odors can be a frustrating exercise, especially if you don't know where they are coming from. Worse, if not fixed fairly quickly, smells can permeate the upholstery and wood inside the boat and remain for long periods of time.

If you can't identify the source the common response is to over compensate, wasting time & money.

First things first. Check all the possible odor sources.
And there are many. The most common sources of course are the head, sanitation hoses, holding tanks and bilges, but smells can also come from a large number of other sources which I will also address here.

Let's start with the sanitation system:
Lots of websites, marine retailers and general retailers will be happy to sell you an amazing array of "stuff" designed to cover up smells, but not necessarily eliminate them. A red flag is any product that says "eliminates odor" but have powerful scents added to them.

Be wary of these unless you prefer your boat smell like an elderly lady reeking of too much perfume to cover odors! Even mechanical devices like ozone generators or air purifiers in the boat may work great, but if you don't eliminate the source of the odor, it will reappear every time you re-open the boat after being away a bit. So here the tips to help rid your boat of odors.

Step 1: Pump out the holding tank and treat the system with 8 or 10 ounces of Odorlos brand or KO Brand chemical treatments.

There are really only two types of holding tank treatments. Chemical poisons that kill every living thing in the tank. Biologic agents are living aerobic bacteria (the kind that don't produce odors as they grow).

These guys eventually kill off the anaerobic bacteria and take over the tank. It takes longer (2-3 weeks) and you can kill them accidentally by using the wrong types of toilet cleaners or treatments.

Seazyme has worked well often where the chemical agents don't always get it done. You can know they are thriving if your holding tank discharge becomes very dark, almost black in color. Almost any treatment that has "zyme" as part of its name is a biological treatment and should not be used with other treatments or toilet cleaners that are not biodegradable.

Like bleach. (more on that later). Give them a day or two (chemicals) to a week or two (biologic) to work. This may not solve your problem but it will make further inspection less offensive.

Step 2: Use Raritan's CP (cleans potties) both to clean the head and also down the sink and shower drains to keep them smelling fresh. If you have a shower sump, be sure to check it and scrub it out. This is an easy place for mold and mildew to accumulate so beware!

Step 3: If neither treatment is working you should try to "back-flush" the holding tank. Start by pumping out the holding tank until empty, then add water from a garden hose back into the tank through pump-out deck fitting for 30-60 seconds at a strong rate of flow.

Pump the tank again and repeat this process until the fluid out becomes clear or as clear as reasonably possible in the time you have to perform the flushing. Some larger tanks can take a dozen or more such cycles to achieve acceptable results. (Tip:) This procedure can also remove years of solids build up from the bottom of the tank.

Step 4: Shock treatment. Wave action can play havoc with boats with waste holding tanks. The contents of the tanks can easily become plastered on the walls and ceilings of these tanks.

Once back in the harbor the head chemical runs to the bottom of the tank and there is literally no odor protection on the other surfaces. These surfaces can become crusted and form ledges where all manner of growth activity happen. There is a very effective, proven, solution, developed originally by Head-O-Matic for the airline industry, that works. One bottle poured into the head will solve this problem.

Every holding tank should be shock treated each fall, prior to haul-out or off season storage or no use to help clean the hoses and all these internal holding tank surfaces. The best time to do it is a week or so prior to your last pump out.

You want the contents of the bottle to
slosh about in the tank, on your last few runs, to ensure all of the tank surfaces are treated. It also helps de-scale and deodorize the inside of the head hoses.

(Tip: On using chlorine bleach.) Many people are concerned about adding bleach to the tank and the waste handling system as a whole. The argument used is that mixing bleach and ammonia is extremely dangerous, since toxic vapors will be produced. The primary toxic chemical formed by the reaction of chlorine and ammonia is chloramine vapor, with a potential for hydrazine formation.

Bleach kills germs and bleaches fabrics and other surfaces. It's wrong to call household bleach chlorine bleach because it has an entirely different chemistry.

Household bleach is derived from sodium chloride – common table salt, not sodium hypochlorite. Normal bleach contains this ingredient in a concentration of 5 to 10 percent, according to the Clorox Co. Clorox purchases chlorine and makes household bleach by bubbling the chlorine into a solution of water and sodium hydroxide.

During this process, all of the chlorine is converted to a sodium hypochlorite solution Household bleach begins and ends as salt water in a fully sustainable cycle. During consumer use and disposal, about 95 percent to 98 percent of household bleach quickly breaks down.

Another assertion is that bleach tends to degrade certain plastics and make them "brittle".

The majority of Clorox® bleach products contain anticorrosion agents and, when used as directed, are safe for use on a variety of hard, nonporous surfaces, including stainless steel, plastics, glazed ceramics, glass, porcelain and other materials.


When mixed with ammonia, drain cleaners or other acids, chlorine (sodium hypochlorite) reacts to form dangerous gases called chloramines, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

Because of the ammonia contained in urine, cleaning urine of any kind, including urine, results in noxious fumes due to the production of chloramine gas.

Mixing bleach and ammonia (present in urine) is extremely dangerous, since toxic vapors will be produced. The primary toxic chemical formed by the reaction is chloramine vapor, with a potential for hydrazine formation. The bleach decomposes to form hydrochloric acid, which reacts with ammonia to form toxic chloramine fumes.

And while urine present in a toilet doesn't contain enough ammonia to be a problem when mixed with chlorine bleach. But ammonia is created when urine is left stagnant taking days or weeks to become laden with ammonia. Like when stored in the holding tank.

If ammonia is present in excess (which it may or may not be, depending on your mixture), toxic and potentially explosive liquid hydrazine may be formed. While impure hydrazine tends not to explode, it's still toxic, plus it can boil and spray hot toxic liquid.

Step 5: Make sure that the vent hose is not blocked. First check that the exterior vent is not blocked. Dirt, corroded fittings or screens, excessive wax or polish even a spider nest can cause this to be inoperable, forcing the odor back into the boat every time you flush. It's also possible that sludge or an accumulation of toilet tissue could block the vent hose or its connecting fitting at the tank.

If the exterior vent is clear, disconnect the hose at the tank fitting and make sure that it's not blocked there. Try blowing air through the hose from the tank to the thru-hull fitting. (Never pressurize the tank with compressed air). If the hose is blocked then replacement is in order.

Make sure that all hoses have no sags or loops, and that the vent hose runs uphill from the tank to the thru-hull fitting. Check for tight hose clamps and don't use non-sanitation hoses. In severe cases carbon filters can be added inline to the head vent hose to catch the odor before it reaches deck.

On larger vessels the vent can be led overhead to the radar arch, or up a mast. It's possible for the head odor to end up back in the boat due to pressure differences between the deck and cabin.

One solution is to add a second vent line to the holding tank placing the outlet on the opposite of the hull as the other vent hose. (Tip: The larger the vent hose the better it will perform).

Step 6: Inspect the sanitation and pump out hoses and give them a squeeze. If they are soft and spongy or hard and brittle you will have to replace these hoses. Use a clean dry cloth and give these hoses a wipe.

Smell the cloth. If it smells, you have a problem with permeation odor from the hose. This is common with older hoses. The best sanitation hoses only last 3-5 years. (Tip: Wipe test: If you suspect a permeated hose, scrub the hose area clean, wait for several days and then wipe the suspect hose with a damp cloth and sniff the cloth. If it is permeation, the odor will come back soon enough.)

A simple acid flush using a 1 to 20 mixture of Muriatic acid and fresh water of one litre of acid mixed into a 20 litre bucket of water and slowly pumped through the head hoses will dissolve thick residue buildup inside the hoses.

Follow the mixing instructions on the bottle and leave the mix sit inside the hoses overnight. (Note: Hoses with years of neglect may simply collapse thick layers of buildup and accelerate the need for hose replacement). (Muriatic acid is extremely caustic. Use all appropriate protective equipment. Chemical goggles, gloves, and correct respirator).

Step 7: The intake hose and toilet rims of any salt water system are prone to a buildup of micro-organisms that give off a distinct "rotten egg" odor; usually when the head is first flushed after periods of inactivity. Over time this organism can infect the complete head system.

To kill the micro-organisms pull off the intake hose at the inlet and suck up a bleach/fresh water mix (10:1). Continue to pump till the bleach mix has completely filled the inlet hose and the smell of bleach is present in the toilette. Once the bleach is inside the inlet hose let it sit for a few hours before pumping it out. (Tip: Converting to a fresh water flushing system will eliminate this source completely).

Step 8: Check out these other often overlooked odor sources: Dirty bilges - Bacteria and mold growing inside the boat - Gas from leaking fluids on a hot engine and exhaust gasses (repair leaks) - Permeated fuel and oil hoses (replace) - Fish residue & livewells - Refrigerators & Freezers - Upholstery, pillows and carpets - Chain & rope lockers - Sink, grey water & shower and bilge pump sumps - The interior teak/woodwork.

Even though the bilge is mostly dry, it can foster mold and mildew. To clean and freshen the bilge, use Bilge Bath along with a bucket or two of water.

Bilge Bath is biodegradable, but some of the stuff that it looses may not be. It has the odor additive "Odolime" which will knock out the smells, even of diesel and gasoline.

Wash refrigerator, ice boxes, livewells and the inside of the cupboards with Lure & Livewell Cleaner and rinse with water. Pull all the drawers out and inspect behind and below them for any refuse.

Upholstery and carpets can be shampooed with Boat Clean Plus. Pour some into a bucket and use a sponge to create foam. Use a sponge or brush to work the foam into the fabric and then use a wet/dry vacuum to suck up the moisture and let dry. The walls and bulkheads and even the engine can also be washed with Boat Clean Plus and water. Make sure that the surfaces are color fast before washing. Most headliner materials can also be cleaned this way.

Chain & rope lockers get smelly every time the anchor goes up. Take everything out, wipe the locker down with a bleach water solution and air dry it.

Sink and gray water has a distinct stale grease smell. The source may be the gray water tank, the shower sump or often the sink trap. Sink traps hold heavy grease, hair, and other contaminants. The typically recommended method of cleaning the trap is to take it apart and clean the elbows individually.

The interior teak. Wash it with a Murphy Oil and water solution according to the instructions on the bottle. Then use just regular lemon oil to wipe it down again.

Step 9: Once your odor source/s have been identified and eliminated, one more thing remains. Airflow is a must in removing stale smells, open the hatches, install fans, or put up a wind-scoop. Adding an air freshener will add your "favorite odor" but remember, don't use it to mask other odors. All you will get is a wonderful combination of air freshener and sewage!

Step 10: Finally, buy Peggie Hall's book "Get Rid of Boat Odors" - – it's available at Amazon. Although it mostly deals with head odors,– Peggie's nickname is "The Head Mistress". – It also has a small section on making sure you aren't getting bad smells via the bilge.

Plus it tells you anything and everything you need to know about your head and holding tank, including exploded diagrams of several of the most popular brands of heads.

God Bless boaters, we'll see you out there.

Michael McNeil is the owner operator of Bay Pump LLC, which can provide the services for eliminating boat owners described in his article. You can email Michael at

From the Marina Office!
Greetings mariners and welcome to the June 2014 Shelter Cove Marina eNewsletter.

Summer has arrived a bit early in San Diego! The marina is bustling with tenants coming in from out-of-state, workers enjoying the extended hours of sunlight, and visitors galore stopping in to check out the marina.

Our Boat, Bed and Breakfast business is booming - our featured 48' Hardin ketch, Slipaway, is booked every week of June, and our fleet of five B & B yachts is filled for the Fourth of July weekend.

Additionally, in preparation for the upcoming Independence Day celebrations, we are renovating and expanding our BBQ area at the marina for the enjoyment of both our tenants and our guests. We are also pleased to have several new restaurants joining our popular Diner Discount Card program, namely: Alfredo's Pizzeria, European Cake Gallery, Old Venice Italian, The Wine Pub, Umi Sushi and Wine Steals.

We hope everyone is planning to watch the Big Bay Boom fireworks show from aboard their vessels - we have the best seats in town, don't we? (Here's a tidbit of trivia, if you didn't already know... Our own H. P. "Sandy" Purdon is the founder and Executive Producer of the Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show!)

Here's to sunny days and smooth sailing!

The Staff at Shelter Cove Marina

Christian Marine Surveyors

Don't Go Off "Half-Cocked"!
- By Bob Simons
When is the last time you exercised the seacocks on your boat? If it's been a while, you should consider doing it before you take that next cruise. Why? Because a seacock is worthless unless it works when you need it.

The first thing to do is to make sure the valve looks like it is in good condition; and not suffering from any electrolysis. Badly rusted or corroded seacocks can suddenly break off or start leaking.

Another excellent idea is to tie a wooden plug of the proper size to the seacock handle so that it's immediately available as a last resort in case you do experience a seacock failure.

Seacocks come in a wide variety of sizes depending on the usage. The most common are bronze fittings, but there are also stainless steel and nylon fittings. Each probably have their advantages but bronze is tried and true and it seems like the best alternative.

Make sure you don't connect any dissimilar metals, because the electrolysis it causes is deadly.

When you are dealing with as important an area as holes in the bottom of your boat, it's a also good idea to use double hose clamps and check the fittings on a regular basis.

To keep seacocks functioning reliably, they need to be operated every once in a while, and lubricated at least once a year. Cone and plug type seacocks need to be disassembled to be properly serviced, but ball-valve seacocks are easily maintained by spreading a dollop of waterproof grease on both sides of the closed ball.

Bob Simons ImageBob Simons has been in the Coast Guard Auxiliary for over thirty years and owns a sailboat as well as a powerboat. He teaches classes in Boating Safety & Seamanship as well as Basic and Advanced Coastal Navigation. Bob is also the co-owner of Seabreeze Books and Charts

From The Galley - Bruchetta, an Easy to Make Summer Appetizer
Bruchetta originated in ancient Rome when olive growers would toast slices of bread to sample their fresh-pressed oil.

It's easy to make, and it's a real crowd-pleaser at those impromptu summer gatherings on the docks. Here's one typical recipe to try.

One 15 oz. can stewed Italian tomatoes
½ medium sized red onion or one large shallot
Three cloves garlic
1 baguette French bread or Rustic Bread
4 large leaves basil
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Drain the can of stewed tomatoes
Chop tomatoes into ½" pieces
Finely mince red onion and garlic cloves

In a medium mixing bowl, combine olive oil, onion, garlic and tomatoes. Set mixture aside – Ideally, if you have the time, let sit in refrigerator overnight to enhance flavor.

Slice baguette into ¾" slices
Toast bread slices in a toaster until lightly browned (or broil in oven until lightly browned, be careful this burns quickly!).

Cut the remaining clove of garlic in half, and rub on toast slices

Top with a spoonful of tomato mixture and some thinly sliced fresh basil

Makes 6 servings

June Waterfront Happenings
As June's Gloom gives way to the summer sunshine, the boating season moves into full swing. Here's just a few of the fun summer happenings you can enjoy this June starting with the Wooden Boat Festival this Saturday at the Balboa Yacht Club.

San Diego's Wooden Boat Festival -Saturday June 14th and Sunday, June 15th
A San Diego Father's Day weekend tradition, the San Diego Wooden Boat festival is the premier annual event for Southern California traditional wooden boat enthusiasts and provides a rare opportunity for the general public to view some of the most beautiful and well maintained wooden crafts up close.

While this event features mostly well preserved vintage vessels, there are also plenty of new crafts that have been hand crafted with skill and meticulous detail. For more information, Click Here.

San Diego County Fair - Saturday, June 7th through Sunday, July 6th
San Diego's annual county fair is the largest fair in California, offering a variety of food, entertainment, exhibits, rides & games throughout the beautiful and historical Del Mar Fairgrounds in the oceanfront village of Del Mar. For more information, Click Here.

San Diego International Boat Show - Thursday, June 19th through Sunday, June 22nd
Cruise down to San Diego's Harbor Island for four days of fun on the water and deals on the newest boats and marine accessories. The annual boat show provides attendees an all-access pass to discover the boating lifestyle and a chance to shop more than 150 vessels, from entry-level family cruisers and personal watercraft to luxury motor and sailing yachts.

New for 2014, there's an expanded area of sport fishing boats and accessories and more superyachts for visitors to browse, board and buy. For more information, Click Here.

Humphrey's June Concert Schedule
Humphreys Concerts by the Bay 1,400 seat outdoor theatre, ideally situated on San Diego Bay, has been presenting a wide variety of major attractions since 1982.

Humphreys Concerts covers the total spectrum of entertainment from rock and jazz to comedy, blues, folk and international music. Here's the June lineup..

Sunday, June 15th - 7:00pm
Matt Nathanson / Gavin DeGraw with special guest Mary Lambert

Thursday, June 26th - 7:30pm
ThePianoGuys (Gold Circle seats available)

Friday, June 27th 8:00pm
Jo Koy

Dana Point Summer Concert Series
The City of Dana Point Community Services & Parks Department is proud to present the 2014 Dana Point Summer Concert Series line up. Every Sunday, throughout the summer a different band will rock the stage so bring a blanket, lay out on grass, and enjoy the sounds of summer.

Sunday, July 6th - 2:30pm - 6:00pm - Lantern Bay Park
Tricia Freeman Band
The Long Run - Experience the Eagles

Sunday, July 13th - 2:30pm - 6:00pm - Lantern Bay Park
Raymond Michael's - Elvis Tribute
Hot August Night - Tribute to Neil Diamond

Sunday, July 20th - 2:30pm - 6:00pm - Sea Terrace Park
Neon Nation - Ultimate 80's Tribute
Lights - Tribute to Journey & More

Sunday, July 27th - 2:30pm - 6:00pm - Sea Terrace Park
DC Babylon & the Hanging Gardens Band
L.A. Vation - U2 Tribute

Catalina Island Summer Concert Series
FREE Family Friendly Concerts on Wrigley Plaza Stage. The Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce and Xceptional Music Company are pleased to present this free, family friendly Summer Concert Series, next to the Bay on Wrigley Plaza Stage. Concerts are from 8:00pm to 10:00pm. A Beer & Wine Garden will be available at all concerts.

Saturday, June 14th
Xceptional Tribute to ABBA

Thursday, June 26th
Catalina All-Stars

Saturday, July 5th
Nashville Sensation Rainey Qualley

Saturday, July 19th
Blues Featuring Billy Thompson

Tommy J's Favorites - iRacor Multi-pass Fuel Polisher
- By Tom Jarvis
Racor has another new product release this year, the iRacor P510MAM Multi-Pass Fuel Polisher.

This product is designed to clean the contaminants from fuel and provide a longer life for the filters, the injectors, engine components and the engine itself.

Contamination to fuel may be caused by water, dirt, bacteria, and particulates from the fuel tank. The water and other contaminants are typically heavier than the diesel fuel and settle to the bottom of the tank.

This Racor Fuel Polisher was designed to draw from the bottom of the fuel tank, filter the fuel and return the polished fuel back to the top of the tank.

Water in the fuel can be caused from condensation in the tank itself or taking on "dirty fuel" from a source of distribution. Bio-fuels and additives can loosen deposits in the tank and add to the contamination problem.

The Fuel Polisher comes with an electric pump that is available in 12V and 24V, with a wire harness and control switch included. The bottom loading Racor Aqua-block cartridge designed polisher has a maximum flow rate of 84 GPH, and it is approved for all bio-fuels. The housing of the polisher is constructed of aluminum and stainless steel and it is UL 1105 fire test certified.

Every power or sail boat owner should have this Polisher aboard their vessel for the added protection this small and efficient unit provides to the fuel, engine and engine components. The Racor Fuel Polisher is available through Marine Distributors now.

Stay "fresh" out there and have a great summer!

Editor's Note: Tom Jarvis is the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the SuperYacht Association and he also performs outside Marketing and Sales for the San Diego Marine Exchange. Click Here to email your boating product questions to Tom. I Like
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