House Battery


So this is the view of our batteries, in OFF position.

Turn the START and the HOUSE knobs 90 degrees to ON position.
Then turn on the engine.
Untie the boat.
And away you go.

Tie up the boat.
Turn off the engine.
Turn the battery off by turning the knobs to the OFF position as shown above.

Only if we had a flat battery would be use the middle knob. That is why it is for EMERGENCIES only.

Why is it called a HOUSE Battery when it is on a boat? It is really for the electronics, like the electric head, the GPS, Fishfinder, lighting and so forth. I supposed I have answered my own question. The boat is the home. Perhaps it should be called the HOME Battery?

Did you turn off your battery?

How do you check the wind?

I check which way the wind is blowing by looking at the New Zealand flags on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
That is fine if the flags are there. Last week there were no flags. So that threw a spanner in the works!
Today the flags are there. What a relief!
What was the story? Lost dry cleaning tag?
Who cares.  They are back.

iOS 6 update

Just a reminder to those who use their iPad or iPhone at sea that there is an update, a small one, that is worthwhile downloading.

Don’t forget the waterproof pouch. Where would I go without my iPad? I think I prefer it to my computer, yet I say this writing on my computer. So that makes me a hypocrite. Doesn’t it? So what.

Enjoy the weekend!

PFDs and red ties

Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
Brand: Yamaha Hutchwilco
Type: Inflatable Life Jacket
Number: 150N
Version: Manual
Weight: 750g
Cost: NZ$140 approx
CO2 Cartridge Weight: 33g

Rearm Kit Manual 33g 150N Cost: NZ$30 approx

  • Must be worn over clothing as the outer layer.
  • Twice the buoyancy of a conventional life jacket.
  • Simple front buckle system, adjust it to a snug fit
  • Pull cord activation
  • Puts you quickly onto your back position when inflated
  • Has an oral inflation pipe to blow up the jacket without the need for a cartridge
  • Not recommended for children under 16 years of age or non swimmers.
  • One size fits all
  • Certified by Maritime New Zealand, Yachting New Zealand and the Civil Aviation Authority.

This is what we use on the boat.
It is comfortable to wear, doesn’t hinder movement and looks good.
We haven’t needed to inflate the life jacket. We haven’t ended up in the water.
To use them they need to be worn and you need to be known how to inflate and maintain them otherwise they are just vests nothing more.

User Manual (4 pages)
150N Australian User Guide  (651 KB) PDF

*When entering the water cross your arms over your jacket.
This type is a MANUAL inflatable life jacket so that if you land in the water you still need to PULL the red pull cord for the jacket to inflate.
Once an inflatable life jacket has been activated it needs to have a new CO2 cartridge.
Inflation in extreme cold weather will cause the life jacket to less buoyant.
The life jacket does not prevent hypothermia.

The automatic version automatically inflates if you land in water, the tamper clip connected to the CO2 cartridge will disintegrate and in turn inflate the jacket and send you to the surface. If it gets very wet it may set off the mechanism to inflate, so the automatic type might not be the best if you are out in rough weather, rafting, sailing.

I watched a DVD about NZ Water Safety last night and I couldn’t count the number of times “WEAR A LIFE JACKET” was repeated throughout. The number of accidental deaths that could have been avoided by wearing a life jacket were numerous.
Even today I saw in the local online newspaper that someone had drowned at a marina falling off a boat. And the sea was calm today. All it takes is a moment.
I can count the number of times I have hit my head on the entry to the cabin. I know now to duck but sometimes the timing is off or there is a wave. Accident prone people should wear life jackets at all times too.)

Wipe salt off the life jacket with a damp fresh water cloth.
If corrosion is present on the CO2 cartridge it may need replacing.
Store away from direct sunlight or excessive heat
A loosely fitting life jacket can come off so make sure it fits snugly to your body

  • For sailing I will look for a different life jacket. What PFD do you wear when you go sailing?
  • Have you ever needed to use the manual inflatable life jacket? Did it do the job well?
  • Have you ever changed the CO2 cartridge yourself?
  • If you have time would you inflate it before or after you jump into the water?  What would you do?

Boat flares and sunscreen

Boat flares, loo paper, sunscreen, batteries and antibacterial liquid…
What do these all have in common?
They are all stored on the same shelf and they are some of the necessities for day tripping boats.

Loo paper for wipes (wrapped in plastic to protect against moisture)
Sunscreen to keep the sunburn away,
Powerboat Flares for the unfortunate time when you need to communicate to someone when you are in need of serious help, (placed in a watertight plastic container) (1 x orange smoke flare, 2 x red handheld flare)
Batteries for spare for the torch, (placed in a plastic bag twice to protect against salt, moisture and corrosive damage)
Antibacterial liquid for washing your hands after fishing

Sunscreen should be applied more than once on a day trip. Every 2-3 hours.
But if in doubt, cover up, wear a hat and sunglasses, and stay in the shade.

Batteries have expiry dates. Check the side of them carefully.  MM/YY
If they have never been used they will still work but they won’t last as long as a new up-to-date battery. This is something to watch out for. So always use the older ones first.

Flares also have expiry dates. Hopefully you will never need to use them. But do you know how?

Please note: I have never set off a flare so take my suggestions with caution.
If in doubt read the label instructions before you need to use flares.
I take no responsibility for your misuse of your flare. Please take the time to do your own research into flares and how and when to use them.
Safe boating.

  • *For DAY use
  • Burn time 60 seconds
  • 3 year expiry date

Hold the flare downwind, outside the boat
Remove base cap
Pull cord
Remember the burn time is only 60 seconds

  • For day or NIGHT use
  • Bright red magnesium light
  • Burn time 60 seconds

Hold the flare downwind, outside the boat
Remove the cap, in one pull, twist, fire, can be lit with one hand

If you have multiple flares, fire one as soon as you are in trouble, then use the other flare at attract the searcher’s attention.

Never lost boat key

This is how I never lose my boat key. The attached flotation device would float if it fell in the water. I haven’t tested this function yet. I don’t plan to either I just trust in the logic of it. In my handbag it is so huge it doesn’t fit anywhere well. The colour is bright and so even in the darkest corner of my handbag it will always shine.
I just need to remember to bring it with me.
I almost forgot it this morning. It was the last item to pick up before running out the door.
What is attached to your boat key?

The marine throne room

I was one of those annoying kids who always asked, why, how, and what, all the time. I must have driven my parents nuts. My father always patiently answered my questions and he would even get a book from the bookcase to help explain when there was an example that suited the moment. He still has the patience of a saint.
So in that frame of mind I wanted to broach a delicate topic of marine portable toilets otherwise known as MSD (marine sanitation devices) or an installed head.

How do you use a toilet at sea?
Yes really.
In particular the marine electric portable toilet.

The world of marine toilets is an area that people don’t tend to talk about. Certainly used yet not mentioned. People are too polite. I decided to give instructions of how to use my version so that others would not be left confused or hopping from one foot to another or using the bucket alternative. That would be the alternative bucket list.

There appears to be different types of toilets.
Manual OR Electric
Direct Discharge OR Holding Tank

We have an Electric Direct Discharge MSD or toilet and that is what I want to talk about.

Our overnight double bed converts one section into a picnic table, and underneath at the back is the hidden loo or toilet. Very clever, very compact and very clean.

Before getting down to business you must open the valves of the toilet. There is one on each side of the bowl. Look around the sides of the toilet carefully. The BLUE valve switches are easy to see.
Turn both BLUE pipe valve switches 90 degrees to ON position.

Above is the OUTFLOW pipe in OFF position.

Above is the INFLOW pipe in OFF position.
The inflow pipe is thinner than the outflow pipe.
The electric switch is on the front LHS as you sit on the throne.

Flush the toilet by pressing the switch.
It is best to flush it BEFORE and AFTER you do your business.

1. Remove the cushions covering the toilet and lift the toilet cover.
2. Turn BOTH blue valves 90 degrees to ON position
3. Flush the toilet by pressing the switch,
4. Go to the toilet.
5. Flush the toilet by pressing the switch, FLUSHING AT SEA,  MORE IS BETTER
6. Turn the INFLOW valve to OFF position
7. Flush the toilet by pressing the switch until there is only a little water in the bottom of the toilet bowl
8. Return the toilet to bed position

8. Use a freshwater hose and rinse the toilet bowl while pressing the flush switch
(You are removing the salt water from the piping)
9. Remove the freshwater hose and press the flush switch again until there is only a little water in the bottom of the toilet bowl
10. Turn the OUTFLOW valve to OFF position
11. Close the lid and return the toilet to a bed again.

* A minimum of 1 gallon to rinse urine completely out of the machinery, a minimum of 3 gallons to clear solids and paper. Insufficient flushing shortens the life of the motor and macerator, and is the biggest single cause of burned out motors
*The cheapest “no-name” single-ply paper at the grocery store is the same thing as “marine” toilet paper, and it’s a whole lot cheaper!
*To clean the system place 250ml vinegar down the toilet and flush

BEFORE you go to the toilet (in a direct discharge type)make sure you are:

  • more than 500m from shore and in water more than 5m deep
  • more than 500m from a marine farm
  • more than 500m from a customary fishing reserve
  • more than 200m from a marine reserve

AND once you get back to shore you need to flush FRESH water through the bowl to remove the salt water.

More light reading:
Marine Heads
(PDF, 2 pages)
by Terry Johnson, University of Alaska Sea Grant, Marine Advisory Program 1999

Clean Boating Guide (PDF, 20 pages)
New Zealand Marina Operators Association with BioSecurity New Zealand

Less Toxic Cleaning (PDF, 3 pages)
California Integrated Waste Management Board

The Captain Rob Cozen, Master Marine Surveyor Newsletter, October 1999 Archive

The sea is a bi*ch at times

Even the most experienced sailor/fisherman can be lost at sea.
Our thoughts are with the families.
May the men find their way back home.
The local men are lost off the wild coast of Fiordland, New Zealand.

News article from Fairfax NZ News
Lost fisherman helped in past searches

Rubber ducky weather buoy

Some people have fluffy dice, lucky charms or religious paraphernalia on the dashboards or wrapped around the mirror of their cars. I have a rubber duckie on the “dashboard” of my boat. It is a special wee duckie. It is temperature sensitive. When the duck is hot it’s pink, when it feels cold it goes purple. It is an easy glance at it to see if the weather has changed.
The sea was calm when we left the harbour today. Ducky was PINK. But an hour an a half later after a packed lunch and a leisurely time the weather turned rough with white capped waves. We decided to return earlier than planned.
Life jackets were put on.
Why do they make you feel more secure?
They did the trick.
I had salt encrusted sunglasses with the splashes. That was a first. The salty sea spray bounced off the front deck and everywhere. We made it back safely to harbour. There will always be tomorrow to boat again.
Ducky was PURPLE on arrival in the harbour.

Clove Hitch

NAME:   Clove Hitch or Clove Hitch End


WHEN: It slips and it also binds. It shouldn’t be trusted when used by itself.
Used initially to attach boat fenders to a rail, but usually with two Half Hitches added.
Used to attach tent ropes to ground stakes.
Not used to secure a boat to a mooring.

Clove Hitch Loop
Clove Hitch Using Half Hitches

MANTRA: Over the Top, Around the Back, Over the Top again, Under and Through