Hose Clamp Smarts

Power & Motor Yacht - - BOATYARD - BY CAPT. BILL PIKE

Here’s a wild lit­tle sug­ges­tion: Think about de­vot­ing a few hours dur­ing the up­com­ing week­end to tight­en­ing and oth­er­wise ad­dress­ing all (or most) of the hose clamps on board your boat. Sound like a make-work project? A silly one? Well, we say, “Not!” De­pend­ing on a clamp’s lo­ca­tion, en­gine/ trans­mis­sion/prop­shaft vi­bra­tion can slowly but surely (or some­times not so slowly but just as surely) loosen it. In­deed, at this very mo­ment, clamps mounted on your en­gine or en­gines are al­most cer­tainly loose if you do much cruis­ing at all—and heck, they may be sub­tly leak­ing fuel, coolant, or oil into the bilge. More­over, the un­der­sides of clamps mounted on hoses tend to gather con­den­sate on their un­der­sides and cor­rode—and there’s re­ally no way to get a han­dle on this un­less you ei­ther em­ploy a mir­ror or sim­ply go ahead and loosen the clamp, ro­tate it for ob­ser­va­tional pur­poses, and then ei­ther re­place it or tighten it back up if it’s in good shape.

Now, two more sug­ges­tions. If you’re like most boat own­ers, you have a va­ri­ety of clamps on board. Some are of higher qual­ity, some lower, some re­quire a 5/16-inch nut driver for tight­en­ing/loos­en­ing, some a 7-mil­lime­ter. So hey, why not in­ject a lit­tle uni­for­mity into the con­fu­sion with one size fits all? That way, in the fu­ture, you’ll re­mem­ber ex­actly which nut driver you need to tighten every clamp. And you can for­get about hav­ing to back­track to your tool­box.

And oh, the sec­ond sug­ges­tion? If you need to re­place a clamp or two this week­end, why not go with the high-qual­ity (solid-band) type as op­posed to low? Go­ing high will help you even­tu­ally achieve a state of af­fairs where fewer and fewer hose-clamp check­ups are called for.

Learn to iden­tify cheap, left, and ex­pen­sive (top). A nut­driver is best for ad­just­ments (bot­tom).

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