The importance of alternative power

After reading about the Carnival cruise boat in the Gulf of Mexico CNN 2013 it has got me thinking about the heavy reliance on the engine power.  They have lost engine power.

Their power is out. The toilets don’t work, the air conditioning doesn’t work, lights don’t work. It’s too hot in the cabins so people are sleeping in the hallways on mattresses, they are urinating in showers and defecating into bags. Hardly the image a cruise line wishes us to imagine when embarking on a trip of a life time. There are many unhappy people. For some it will be their last trip. Enough is enough.

After buying my own boat and getting behind the wheel and having control, I don’t want to take a cruise on a cruise liner with hundreds of other people. It doesn’t appeal. This was my feeling before thinking about engine power loss.

I bring the cruise boat saga back to my own quest for a boat. Yachting magazines are full of gorgeous boats and the longer the length the more luxurious the interior and the more modern the conveniences. It becomes like a hotel on water. Everything is fine when the engine is working but if/when it stops what do you do?

The ability to have alternative power sources becomes necessary if planning to sail off shore. Can you fix an engine while off shore? I don’t know. I suppose it depends on the part that needs fixing and the ability of the skipper and/or crew. I know today that I would be of no help in this situation.

I don’t plan to go offshore just yet. Crawling then walking before running is the sensible approach. Coastal trips in the near foreseeable future. I have Coastguard membership and if I need rescuing I can radio for help. I have not needed their help as of yet. It’s more of an insurance. A friendly person only a radio call away. And of course you log your trip with the Coastguard whenever you leave port so someone knows where you are. And when you return. Planning and organisation.

SOLAR
solar

WIND

wind

GEN-SET
gen-set

What happens if the alternative power source also malfunctions? Worst case scenario one: the solar panel catches fire. What do you do? How do you put out a solar panel fire? Can it be put out? Fire extinguisher.

Wind generators. I love the idea of them. They need to be maintained too. How handy am I? Show me how to do it and I will learn. Why are there no wind generators on a trawler? Because they have gen-sets and solar instead.

Gen-set or Marine generator is an alternative source of power. The choices are endless.

I want to be hands on, on my boat. I want to be able to fix things. Not everything. Otherwise I would never leave shore. I know you can never be prepared for every worst case scenario but it helps to be a little handy.

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