Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Problem.....Mice and Rats in the Bilge....

The following are my Observations from a survey of a nice Chris Craft from last summer...with the odd mouse aboard....


The following Observations and or Non-Standard Conditions were noted at the time of survey:

1. The vessel has been very well maintained and presentable with the machinery space accessible and clean.

2. Hull top-sides, foredeck, and interior appear to be in very good - serviceable condition and structurally sound (given the survey limitations as mentioned herein) with no evidence of grounding, or other damage and or structural failure except as follows.

- The vessel described herein is a manufactured model therefore the undersigned has made no opinion herein as to the design, scantlings, workmanship, and or materials except as to modifications and or repairs.

- No surface rot fungi was visually observed or detected elsewhere that otherwise described herein.

- The vessel’s underbody and fasteners were inspected with the following findings. The vessel’s underbody appeared to be fair to the eye. The planking appears to be sound with no noticeable softness (except otherwise mentioned herein) or weakness detected. No proud or rattling planks were observed. The seams and butt blocks visually appeared to be tight and stable. Several hull fasteners were opened up along the waterline, garboard, broad planks, hood planks, transom, and on the port and starboard topsides. The vessel is fastened with bronze wood screws (Reed Prince screw-head) #8 size in lengths of 1”, 1-1.2”, and 1-3/4”. Each removed fastener was thoroughly (visually) inspected for overall condition and corrosion (alloy breakdown). All examined fasteners where marked with white chalk to indicate location and plugged with mahogany bungs.

- On the forward starboard sheer plank, aft of the bow cleat, was observed to have a small area of soft wood (adjacent to a small split in the wood surface with two, small holes) and should be repaired as required. It was reported by the owner that a similar area on the port side was previously found to have soft wood and was repaired.

- On the forward starboard underbody, a small area (about 6” in diameter) area of just aft of a bronze through-hull fitting, an area of suspect planking was discovered. No visual evidence of soft or decayed wood but the hammer tone materially changed when sounding this area of the hull. The undersigned has advised the owner to monitor and re-examine this area of the underbody during the vessel’s next scheduled haul out.

- It was reported by the owner that the wood structure adjacent to the bronze stern tube fitting on the starboard side showed some build-up of sodium hydroxide (a white, powder-like material). Upon examination, the undersigned found evidence of localized galvanic current activity. The undersigned advised Mr Ridgway to clear affected area(s) of sodium hydroxide with a wire brush - vacuum clean and treat with distilled white vinegar. In addition, penetrating epoxy (viz., “Restor-It”) could be applied (as well) to stabilize affected area(s). In the opinion of the undersigned, that this situation was partially caused by a previously installed bonding wire attached to the vessel’s cathodic protection system. Areas of wood structure in and around any through-hull fitting should be regularly monitored for sodium hydroxide and attended to as necessary.

- The bronze stem band, starting about one (1) foot above the waterline and down, is in need of refastening. The use of mix-metal fasteners is strongly discouraged and the band should be refastened with like sized bronze wood screws.

- Where accessible the chine - floor timbers, carlins, and deck beams were visually inspected and found to be serviceable and stable. The keel is fair and shows little, if any, areas of abrasion.

- There was a small amount of water found in the bilge area. Mr Ridgway informed the undersigned that this was not usually the case and the vessel normally has a dry bilge. Upon investigation, the undersigned found one (1) seacock (starboard side – marine waste discharge) and the starboard prop shaft log weeping small amount of water into the bilge. In addition, evidence of rodent activity as found aboard the vessel. Rodents have a tendency to chew and eat rubber and plastic materials (viz., hoses and alike) which cause leaks and other damage. The undersigned suggests that some of the water found in the bilge could be from the vessel’s fresh water supply system since its pump could not pressurize the system (possible rodent caused hose damage). It was suggested that a small amount of red color food dye be added to the fresh water tank with any leakage into the bilge would be readily visually observed.

- The vessel’s bronze keel bolts, where accessible in the bilge and machinery space, were visually inspected and hammer punched – filed to observe the condition of the underlying material. The vessel’s keel bolts were determined to be in serviceable condition.

- All hull and structural fasteners should be routinely inspected and replaced as required as part of the vessel’s regular maintenance program.

- The painted surfaces on the topsides and underbody areas have become slightly oxidized and should be re-coated with marine-grade paint to restore proper cosmetic appearance and to provide protection against the marine environment.
- The vessel is moored under cover in salt water.

3. The undersigned did not perform a mechanical survey. The propulsion drive unit, engine, reduction gearing, and bilge area under machinery was visually inspected. The vessel is fitted with fresh water cooled gasoline marine gear reversing - reduction machinery. The following observations were made by the undersigned.

- The machinery was found to be well kept and maintained. No oil or water leakage was observed. Some surface rust on the machinery was observed.

- Underwater through-hull fittings and seacocks were inspected for proper operation, leakage, and wastage. Bronze quarter-turn and conventional seacocks are fitted. The required number of all stainless steel hose clamps (two (2) as required by ABYC) at all hose connections were not observed at all through hull fittings – seacocks (see Recommendations made herein). The undersigned observed that both main engine raw water cooling seacocks and the marine waste discharge seacock were hard to operate and should be serviced to ensure proper operation. As previously mentioned herein, the marine waste discharge seacock was weeping a small amount of water and should be serviced and or replaced as required.

- The bronze prop - rudder shaft logs are of convention flax-stuffing design with no significant water leakage observed except as previously mentioned herein.

4. The fuel tankage, related piping and hoses were founded in serviceable condition with flexible fuel lines marked USCG approved Type A-I. No visible fuel leakage was discovered. The vessel’s fuel fill fittings are not grounded as required. See Recommendation made herein.

5. The vessel’s carburetors have fitted with USCG approved flame arrestors.

6. The vessel’s exhaust system was visually inspected. The exhaust piping was found to be in serviceable condition. No visible water was discovered but evidence of some cooling water leakage was observed at the inboard exhaust manifold assembly. The undersigned recommends a regular inspection of the pencil zincs normally used in the exhaust – engine cooling system. Sacrificial zincs should be replaced when wasted more than 50% of original condition. Owner should supply and install a carbon monoxide detector – alarm in the vessel main cabin.

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