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23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

Janice aboard Seaweed,
living the good life afloat...

Trawler cruising on $10 per day is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

Janice Marois, accredited member of Boat Writers International.

It's been suggested I share my views on living aboard a boat with very limited resources. Hopefully my successes will help others achieve the life. And yes, I'll share the things I did wrong too -- though not everything 'cause a girl's got to have her secrets!


Date: 1 March 2015. Warranty Paperwork (SeaSense bilge pump)

One of the advantages of living afloat is that we are in touch with the outside world. Like the other day, when I heard the bilge pump come on I did not hear the water splashing outside. I immediately knew there was a problem. Checking, my 800gph primary bilge pump was not removing water.

This pump is easily accessible. Each Monday I remove the grate and clear out any hair that might be accumulating. Skipper sheds, and my hair is long too. Because I don't want any issues, clearing is a part of my routine maintenance and thus far has been successful.

Today, alas, that was not to be. There was a bit of seaweed that had gotten caught in the impeller and broken the unit. Yes, the shaft still spun but that's not enough. The blades on an impeller form a centrifugal force that remove water from the bilge. Mine wasn't working so I needed to resolve that ASAP.

Fortunately, finding the paperwork is not an issue. All too often when items break finding the purchase information is one more thing to go wrong. When stuff is already not good, hunting down missing paperwork is a real pain in the transom.

Aboard Seaweed I've solved that issue. My system is simple. As items are purchased I place the paperwork in a folder. I am organized, so items are in alphabetical order too.

My folder is from Target. It was in their dollar section so the quality is not great, but it works. I don't like the vents at the bottom corners though. Also, the plastic is icky -- not sticky, just what I would call crisp. It is not of good quality however for a buck, it is still fine after five or six years. Jeesh!



The doggone folder won't fall apart. It still serves the purpose so I can't justify buying a replacement. Have you ever noticed when you want to buy a new product, Old Faithful keeps on and on, and on?!?

This pump is my primary. It's the first one that comes on when water gets into the bilge. Made by SeasSense, the 800gph automatic pump is a good one. This is the first failure and I've been using this brand since discovery. According to Calder's Mechanical and Electrical Manual, bilge pumps should be judged (among other things) by weight, and the SeaSense is a hefty unit.

The SeasSense 800gph bilge pump is an automatic, and at $40 (full freight at a sporting goods box store) affordable. When I purchased this unit, I made the following notes:

  • Length of guarantee
  • Date of purchase (and price)
  • Installation date


There's a secondary reason I write on the paperwork (photo above) the date of purchase. As you can see, the ink has faded on my receipt after 2.5 years.


My inked notes make finding the data critical to my issue easy. I know that this is under warranty.

Also, I've removed any paperwork in foreign languages. English works for me and the rest is drivel so with scissors: chop, chop.

As you can see, I've kept the wiring instructions, plus the model number from the card on the package and my receipt. All else has been thrown away.

These three items, attached together with a piece of tape, were filed alphabetically in my paperwork folder. Retrieving same was easy -- and so too was the return policy.

Kudos to SeasSense and yes, I will be buying a spare pump for my ship's stores. Soon!

I phoned the company on Monday morning, emailed the required proof of purchase and damage later that afternoon. I followed up with a phone call, speaking with Heather in their office. Now, days later my new unit is in hand and already installed.


Side note regarding installation of 12-volt items: Whenever I'm hooking up new goodies, before I do the final wiring I verify the unit works. I've had DOA items, so this is my sanity saver.

After I've got everything laid out, I clip the wires together with my light-tester. The light verifies that I've got power to the newest goody. Thus, it should power up and work.



Insulated alligator clips are at the ends of my light. They held together the wires for the bilge pump with the power source for testing. Once I confirmed the SeaSense pumped water, I added the butt connectors and made it all pretty.


I have two
2k Johnson pumps and the single 800gph SeasSense in Seaweed. Algae has a 500gph pump too. Have I mentioned that I don't like bailing?

Life's good afloat. It's better when bailing is kept to a minimum.

Here's a little trip down Memory Lane: There was this fellow who had annoyed me. It had rained during the night and I was an early riser. Before he woke up I carefully rowed my dinghy over next to his and very quietly bailed mine out and into his. Then I went home (back to the 40'er) and waited for Tom to roll out of his quarter-berth. He did eventually, and had a lot of water to bail out of his *Zodiac.

*Zodiac is a brand of inflatable dinghy.

Lesson to be Learned: Boys should never annoy little girls. (I was probably less than ten years old at the time.)

Comments welcome and encouraged on the
Warranty Paperwork (SeaSense bilge pump) page.

Categories: Boat Talk, Books, Characters, Gear, Humor, Money, Organizing, Recommendations, Relationships


Announcement: I did start a few months ago emailing notices to readers when new articles go up. If you'd like to be included via BCC* simply drop me a line to janice@janice142.com and I'll add you. It's free.

*BCC - Blind Carbon Copy. Basically no one but me will have your email address and the list of subscribers is not available.

Now this is not fancy. Basically I copy off the top three items in my Archive file. That way you can catch up if life gets in the way of your reading fun.

Secret: If you want to know what's what, start in the Archive. It offers you the title, first paragraph and topics (Categories) covered in each article.

Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire

Of course every boat needs a Deck Swabbie. Mine, born in 2008, is a papillon mix who weighs in at 4 pounds 3 ounces.


Coming soon ...

Power cord primer.


The Archive holds a running list with synopsis of published articles, and links to same.

Topics of Interest:
You can achieve a simple satisfying life

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican.
(Poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1879-1972.)


For years I've been collecting short pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms. If you're like me and enjoy the weird, go ahead and CLICK!

These are previously posted at the bottom of each article -- for new, you'll have to come visit again.

Seaweed is being repaired in Carrabelle right now.

The above chart (#411) can be a wish book of sorts as you look over your domain and wonder where to go next. And yes, I do have the originals (sans red arrow) as jpeg's for download should you desire your own for closer perusal. Enjoy!

The Writer's Block

It's my belief that other folks who boat are some of the most interesting in the world, and inside every boater is a story. Well, let yours out! I'd love to post short stories, vignettes, or even longer articles that focus on some aspect of our life on or near the water. Suggested topics include:

1. I Remember When...
2. My First Boat
3. Who inspired you to be a boater?
4. Fishing Trips or Tricks
5. Or another subject of your choosing

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard, and personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower, but kids, well, kids were kids. Here are my two aboard the tow boat my dad ran for a time:

Your pictures would be wonderful too. I posted one of Boot Key Harbor taken in 2001 that has gotten quite a few downloads and really, that's not so terribly long ago... Do you have any photos to share? Email me.

Do you want to help out?

Often an article for the website will be completely written yet lack photographs. I like pictures and am looking for some for up-coming pieces:

  • Parrot or a macaw

  • Electric food dehydrator

  • Derelict sloop or ketch

  • War medals

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized for emailing -- I'd prefer the full-size version. Also, the name you'd like me to use when I add the copyright stuff to your picture. And thanks!


23' Schucker mini-trawler, circa 1983.

Thanks for visiting. If you happen to see my boat along the waterways, give a call on Channel 16. I'm always listening.

click picture to enlarge

My home is not fancy by any means, however you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to come back to her after an expedition on shore.

If I can live this life, why not you too?

Skipper, First Mate

Aphorism Alert: Begin doing what you want to now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. Marie Beyon Ray.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.


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