Don’t Get Hosed


Power & Motor Yacht - - POWER & TECHNOLOGY -

Fur­ther in­spec­tion re­vealed that the in­ner liner had come de­tached from the hose sub­strate and was col­laps­ing in­ter­nally when the en­gine pulled a full load of fuel. This is what caused the kink­ing. The fuel sup­ply line was USCG-type B1-15 al­co­hol-re­sis­tant hose, with ev­ery let­ter of the al­pha­bet (ABYC, SAE, ISO, CE, EPA, and NMMA) in­di­cat­ing its com­pli­ance and suit­abil­ity for gaso­line, al­co­hol blends, diesel, and biodiesel fuel. The hose was go­ing into its third sea­son of use.

The old hose went in the trash and I re­placed it with fire-re­tar­dant A1 (365) hose. Hope­fully the bar­rier liner in this pre­mium-grade hose will deal with the ethanol from my fuel sup­plier safely and ef­fi­ciently. In the hour it took me to mea­sure, cut, and fit the hose to my en­gine and tanks, I heard the bilge pump in my neigh­bor’s boat in the next slip kick on twice. Oddly enough, the fol­low­ing morn­ing when I went to do my daily boat check, my neigh­bor’s boat was fine, but a 50-foot boat across the way had sunk to its coam­ing in the slip. The only thing that saved it from dis­ap­pear­ing be­neath the wa­ter was the keel rest­ing on the bot­tom. A leaky stuff­ing box hose, an over­worked bilge pump and an ex­hausted bank of bat­ter­ies were the cul­prits.

Hoses are the un­sung heroes aboard boats and are on duty 24/7. Like well-be­haved snakes, the hoses on a boat al­low wa­ter, fuel, lubricants, and hy­draulic flu­ids to course through­out a nest and its sys­tems—from the bilges to the tops of tuna tow­ers. The flu­ids you never see that sup­ply steer­ing, bow-thruster re­sponse, en­gine com­bus­tion, and so many other nec­es­sary chores, are safely con­tained in these non­de­script crit­i­cal hoses, gen­er­ally placed out of sight.

Hoses have a short life span in a harsh en­vi­ron­ment of heat, mois­ture, and chem­i­cals, so it is al­ways best to change and re­place them be­fore they fail. The next time you go aboard your boat, look over these crit­i­cal ser­pen­tine com­po­nents from bow to stern. Be alert for weeps and leaks, wa­ter or rust stains, chaf­ing, soft­ness, dis­col­oration, and de­cayed hose clamps. To be sure, the fish will al­ways be wait­ing for you some­where, but when a vi­tal hose de­cides to let go, your sched­ule can change in­stantly and not al­ways for the bet­ter. Swap­ping a hose at the dock or on a trailer is easy; un­der way is of­ten a dif­fer­ent story.

Look for fu­ture fail­ure points, in­spect your hoses.

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