Tag Archives: Living on a Boat

Quality Bilge Time

  The other night while having a few beers with a fellow liveaboard, the topic of stuffing boxes and packing came up. He had a bad experience trying to get corroded nuts loose in order to replace his packing. His advice was to never let that happen as it turned into a dirty, knuckle-busting job. 

  I vowed to inspect mine and the beer drinking continued. Yesterday I dropped down into the bilge for a look-see. To my dismay, the bolts were unrecognizable globs of corrosion. After scraping and banging away at them with a scewdriver for a while, I managed to clear them enough to actually put a wrench on them. Should have taken a “before” pic but I didn’t. 


  A walk to Ace hardware for new stainless bolts and washers, plus a can of PB Blaster was in order. Now every boat owner knows that any job in the bilge is ten times harder than if it was on deck or even on land. It’s dark and cramped and nothing is ever easy to reach. In this case, my work area was further constricted by the a/c pump, strainers and assorted hoses that support the a/c system. Well, we haven’t used the a/c in over three years. I decided now was the time to simply remove all this useless stuff to clear up the work area. Busted knuckle number one was the result, but it did clean up the space and give me room to work. It also created another job for the to-do list. I may as well remove the a/c unit itself now that I’ve rendered it inoperable. I’ll take it to our local marine consignment shop and make a few bucks. That seems to be the way with a lot of boat projects. One job turns into two, or three. 

  I attacked the nuts that adjust tension on the packing first. They started to loosen just fine, but then stalled as they reached the corroded part of the bolt. Busted knuckle number two . . . More PB Blaster and a pause to climb out of the bilge for some fresh air. I finally got them off and started cleaning the bolt with a wire brush and more PB Blaster. Replaced the old nuts with shiny new stainless, using a locking nut as the back up to the first one. 

  Then I started on the bigger nuts that hold the backing plate to the bulkhead. The new nuts just did not want to cooperate going back on. Busted knuckle number three . . .They’d come tight and refuse to budge any further, well short of fully tightened on the bolt. I kept backing them off, spraying them again, and retighten. It was tedious work. My hands were now a combination of corrosion, sweat, blood and PB Blaster. Eventually I managed to ram them all the way up the bolts, but today I plan to back them off a tad and see if I can get them any tighter after soaking all night. Then I plan to coat them with a little grease to prevent any new corrossion. 

  Once finished, I had an ugly mess of goo beneath the shaft. Oh goody! Bilge cleaning. Again, one job turns into multiple jobs. If I was working on a similar project in a garage it may have taken a half hour or so. Down in the Holy Place it took several hours. Spending all that time in the bilge caused me to start mentally ticking off all the other items I should inspect or tighten soon. 

  So there’s a lesson for you. Don’t neglect this little maintenance chore or you too can spend hours busting knuckles in the dark confines of your bilge. My next book definitely needs to have the word Bilge in the title! For now though, you can read about other adventures of liveaboard boating in Leap of Faith / Quit Your Job and Live on a Boat, and Poop, Booze, and Bikinis, by Ed Robinson.




Top Ten Boating Pages on Facebook

There are many great resources and fun pages on Facebook that are boating oriented. This is my list of the ten best. If you are a liveaboard boater, planning on living aboard, a liveaboard wannabe or just a plain boating enthusiast, you should “Like” these pages. 

Check out their websites too if they have one listed. 

(No particular order)






YouBoats is a yachting social network. 




Boat Porn



Eye candy for boat addicts, boat builders, sailors, dreamers, and lovers.

(No, it’s not that kind of porn . . . )


Living Aboard Boats



Living Aboard Boats is an open group. A place to share with other group members the lifestyle and experience both good and bad of living aboard a boat. Both those who are currently living aboard boats and those who want to are welcome.




The single best place to shop for boats, anywhere in the world. I could spend hours just looking.




Boating Lovers




Based in Brazil, but plenty of English language boating stuff.


The Boat Galley



One of my personal favorites. Chock full of useful tips about life aboard, not just galley stuff.



Discover Boating



Discover Boating is a public awareness effort powered by the North American recreational boating industry.



I’m A Boater



Fun boating pics and products



Active Captain



If you travel on your boat, or plan to . . . you MUST sign up for Activecaptain. Too many fantastic resources to mention.

Active Captain is an online nautical resource providing marina, anchorage, hazard, and local knowledge data. The data is integrated into more than 20 navigation products and can be access on the ActiveCaptain website. There is no cost for using or contributing to ActiveCaptain.



Plenty of pages to look at to feed your boating fix. Give them a Like.

Also consider Liking the official Facebook sponsor of this blog:



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