Engine Fails Question?

davesimmons

New member
Joined
1 Mar 2006
Messages
147
Visit site
Hello again,

Just read an interesting post on why someone thanked their lucky stars they had two engines - mines only got one /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif This makes me review my engine failing procedure and I wanted to compare with the experts (thats you).

As I only travel close to shore (small speed boat) my procedure goes as follows;

Turn engine off
Open engine compartment and turn off battery isolator
Look for immediate problems i.e. Fire
Drop anchor
Try to fix and if not attract attention and request tow
If in danger use flares and call coastguard (999)


I know this is probably obvious to you guys but I would rather get it right in my head and look stupid on shore then wish I had asked whilst floating to France
 
D

Deleted User YDKXO

Guest
Definitely not a good idea to open the engine compartment if you suspect a fire as the extra oxygen will only make it worse. On that basis, it may be a good idea to move the battery isolator switch to a position outside the engine bay so you don't need to access the engine bay to operate it
Have you got a fire extinguisher and a VHF?
 

gjgm

Active member
Joined
14 Mar 2002
Messages
8,110
Location
London
Visit site
I "stopped" once, and pretty daunting it was. Be a bit cautious opening the hatch as if there IS a fire, you doent want to add a good woosh of air.
Anyway, V8 petrol and concluded.. what the hell am I going to fix here.. In the end it was a fault in the ignition switch I found after half an hour.
I think now that I have a diesel, I can see there is a bit more that you can check/fix- assuming you know how, and it is feasible given the sea conditions. In a smaller boat, anything rocks it about.
Id suggest giving a priority to your location, especially in the Solent.. there are some big ships moving about, and if I was anywhere near a channel, Id let C/G know pronto.
Think I'd let them know anyway... if you are somewhere more remote maybe your tow is fast disappearing in the opposite direction!
 

brianrunyard

New member
Joined
30 May 2001
Messages
1,089
Location
Poole, Dorset. UK
homepage.ntlworld.com
Opening the engine compartment gives a fire a fresh supply of oxygen, better to have a small inspection hole to check for fire and for the fire extinguisher. Better still an automatic extinguisher.

I assume you haven't got a VHF radio then.

Although a mobile phone is better than nothing, it's not as good as a VHF. With a radio you could contact a nearby boat for assistance.

The Coast Guard can locate your VHF transmission by triangulation, and the Lifeboat can home in on it.
 

dpb

Well-known member
Joined
14 Feb 2007
Messages
1,193
Location
Poole, Dorset
Visit site
Agree with Andrew but also comment on your priorities!
If you have any inkling that there may be a fire then you should not open the engine compartment as you will hinder the auto extinguisher from working as well as feeding the fire.
Water ingress and fuel leaks are the main 'immediate' problems to consider other than fire.
With regard to dropping anchor, need to check water not to deep first. Also assess your situation as you maybe drifting to a safer position. No harm in drifting if you are safe or getting safer!! But if you are trying to fix a problem that you have found then anchoring may help to reduce boat movement by holding her into the waves whereas she will drift side on (usually) and roll with them.
An assesment as to wether or not to put on life jackets belongs there somewhere also though I am sure that opinions will vary from 'as soon as you have cast off at the beginning of your trip' to 'putting them on while you call the coast guard'!
 

davesimmons

New member
Joined
1 Mar 2006
Messages
147
Visit site
Thanks - I would not open the engine compartment if there were signs of fire (I have seen Backdraft)! The engine compartment has an automatic fire extinguisher which I checked the other day and is fine – I also carry a portable fire extinguisher.

Gjgm – you have summed up my worst case scenario. Was coming past Studland chain ferry the other day and facing the massive catamaran of P&O. Knew we had plenty of time to get out of the way but a little prayer went to Mercruiser and their (hopefully) skilled assembly team. If the engine died then I can assure you that you would have seen me from London from flares!!!

I have not yet purchased a VHF radio and are a little unsure if I need to (I know I am going to get pummelled for this) as I stick very close to shore (excellent reception) and only go out in good weather / conditions. If you feel it is a must is my only option £££’s or try to pick up a second hand one? Plus I will have to attend the VHF course?
 

dpb

Well-known member
Joined
14 Feb 2007
Messages
1,193
Location
Poole, Dorset
Visit site
Definately get a VHF radio starting price £100 or so.
What if your network goes down, you drop your phone in the water, your battery packs up. Attending VHF course to get licence is the legal way put in reality the coast guard are not going to ignore your call for help just because you make it wrong. However your call will go through quicker if you know what to do.
 

Brayman

Active member
Joined
27 Nov 2006
Messages
3,041
Location
Wimborne, Dorset
Visit site
Having a VHF on board is more than just having it for emergencies. Just listening to various channels lets you know what's going on, so in some cases you can avoid situations, even change your plans because you've just heard the mooring/marina/anchoring is chock-a-bloc. And yes you would need to take a VHF course, but no bad thing if you are taking your boating seriously.
 

gjgm

Active member
Joined
14 Mar 2002
Messages
8,110
Location
London
Visit site
I recall when I started out, every expense seemed another small body blow. But being able to call every boat within miles in a few moments is probably an investment worth making, and Id get a fixed set with a decent range. God forbid anything does go very wrong, but £150 all in with ariel may well save your life- and that of anyone who happens to be with you. Thats got to be worth a tank of fuel.
Think I started with nothing, got a h/h (on price)-mistake- but never really felt at ease until I bit the bullet and got a fixed.
 

mel80

New member
Joined
22 Sep 2006
Messages
530
Visit site
In my opinion, every boat (including tenders) should have effective alternative propulsion. This was well illustrated for me when I had to swim a mile to shore towing a medium size speedboat with a knackered transmission! For a small boat close to land, a set of paddles is a good investment for anything larger, a small outboard is better.
 

davesimmons

New member
Joined
1 Mar 2006
Messages
147
Visit site
A radio it is then. Are the portables any good? I appreciate a fixed is probably better but as it is a small boat I don't know where it would go. Anyone got one going or could advise on a specific make / model worth purchasing?

P.S Have oars & boathook.
 

davesimmons

New member
Joined
1 Mar 2006
Messages
147
Visit site
thanks mel80 - Unfortunately I have looked at my boat every which way and can not see where a auxiliary engine could go;
Regal 1800
RegalBack-1.jpg
 

Genie

New member
Joined
10 Dec 2006
Messages
216
Location
400m West of L\'Omptolle
Visit site
Hi Dave
There are plenty hand held VHF's out there - as I understand it you do not need to have a licence to possess one, just to operate one. I believe you may operate one without a licence in an emergency, but going on the course will give you correct procedure and protocol to use one confidently. It's amazing how that days training can really kick in in a situation, so i would definitely recommend going on one.
There are some cheap sets from about £39 but they generally lack any power (1 or 2 watts) to transmit very far. A reasonable 'cheapie' is the Midland 5w splashproof unit, but to be honest I would go for an ICOM waterproof unit at about £100 or so. That way the unit will work even if you are in the drink or in very wet conditions (when you really need it to work) and you'll find a quality unit will last and remain part of your kit as you possibly change boats and buy bigger.
I tend to use my hand held on the approach to marinas as the lesser output doesn't interfere with other VHF units further away and so keeps background 'chatter' for others ata minimum.
It's also a check every time to make sure the hand held works fine.
As mentioned, a mobile is OK, but is nowhere near as good as a VHF. Buy one, get on the course and it will make you feel much more confident about boating and going that little further off shore.
I hope this is of some help.
Cheers. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 
D

Deleted User YDKXO

Guest
Another good reason to have VHF is that the Coastguard issue weather forecasts and weather warnings which could prove critical on a small boat
 
D

Deleted User YDKXO

Guest
Surely a handheld VHF is of limited use on a boat as the main VHF because it needs regular charging and Sods Law dictates that the batteries are dead or that you've left it at home on charge just when you need it the most?
Also a fixed VHF would have a much longer/higher aerial which would give it a much better range
 

mel80

New member
Joined
22 Sep 2006
Messages
530
Visit site
Nice boat; about the same size as the one I had to tow. In that case it wasn't too serious as it was on relatively enclosed water in the Med, but I would be pretty nervous about going out in open water with any sort of tidal stream without a back up. How easy would you find it to row your boat against wind or tide? By yourself? VHF is a good idea, but it should always be a last resort, don't treat it as a 'Plan B'. You can get some pretty slimline folding outboard brackets that might fit your transom without spoiling the lines too much (you can get aluminium if you think wood would look out of place). Obviously if you really can't do it then you'll just have to put up with one engine, but do consider what you'd do in the worst case senario. i.e. strong offshore wind (or tide) and too deep to anchor.
 
Top