Date: 15 March 2014. Tired Captain.
I'm an inveterate kibitzer, and Seaweed always has
the VHF radio turned on. There is a world out there and I'm interested in
what others do and say. One day recently I heard SeaTow responding to a
fellow who apparently was having fuel/engine difficulties. That is
not uncommon in the Gulf of Mexico, and it is often a preventable problem.
Boaters should know that when we get into rough seas the
gunk in the bottom of the fuel tanks WILL get into the fuel lines. That's
why having spare fuel filters is critical. Additionally, knowing how to
bleed your system is important.
If you don't know how to bleed your engine (get the air out
of the lines) then definitely hire a mechanic to teach you. That is one
thing everyone who runs a boat ought to know, including the children. And
it's not magic, nor is it particularly difficult. However, if your system
is convoluted or difficult to bleed, fix that issue ASAP.
Carrabelle's TowBoatUS Captain Russell:
If you don't know how to get the air out of your fuel
lines, it's something you need to learn. And having a clogged fuel
pick up line isn't fun either. (Ask me how I know that!?!)
Trust me when I say that air in your fuel lines will not do
you any good whatsoever. I spent over a week trying to get a clog out of
my pick-up tube before knuckling down and calling for help. And I
probably would not have radioed but for the fact that the weather was
What I did before calling:
First, I turned my fuel pump around so that it would pump INTO the tank.
Then I tried:
Back flushing with
Ditto 90% rubbing alcohol.
Sta-Bil didn't work either.
Finally I admitted defeat and used my TowBoatUS insurance
to get hauled to port.
Have I mentioned that TowBoatUS is amazing
The local guy, Russell is a tip-top captain, and always ready
to help boaters.
But I'm off on a bunny trail* talking about my experience
versus what intended to tell you about.
Bunny Trail: What my daughter calls the mini-tangents off
topic I take when conversing with her. And for the record, I like bunnies.
The boat in question, a lovely Hatteras48 Sports-Fisherman
had SeaTow for their towing company and I heard SeaTow talking with the
captain a few times over the course of the day. She was having engine/fuel trouble. The Hatt did get her engines going again and headed to port
here in Carrabelle.
I overheard the captain getting confirmation of the
entranceway to the Carrabelle River which SeaTow provided on Channel 11.
The boat intended to go to Dockside, a boatyard near where I'm anchored:
This is the Dockside boatyard in Carrabelle, Florida:
It was about 2030 at night, well after dark when I heard
the Hatt calling on Channel 11 for confirmation that he was at the right
place. (SeaTow's working VHF channel locally is 11.) SeaTow didn't
respond, so I did.
I answered saying "Yes, that is Dockside". The
captain replied "But there are no slips open" and then asked if I was on the
sailboat he'd seen when looking with the spotlight.
"No, I'm on the trawler anchored a bit further up the
I could tell from his voice that it had been a long day.
Although I mentioned anchoring nearby I also added there was a marina
[C-Quarters] across the river and that he would find plenty of power (50
amps), water and wifi there. With a reminder to take to the north
side of the river (oyster beds in the middle) he headed that way.
A bit more guidance ("Just past the two catamarans") and
that the current was on his nose was all the help he needed. Rather
than back into a slip he chose to stop at the fuel dock over night though
in the morning he snugged into a slip. And there she remains.
As for me, I'd love to have a look-see at the
Hatteras 48 sportsfish. She's a gorgeous boat, but then again she's a
classic girl. Hatteras makes boat that surely are eye-catching, and this
lady is no exception. [Lady Pamela IV.]
Plus it was fun to be able to help a boater, albeit just as
a reassuring voice of calm with directions to a nearby safe haven.
Does this make me a local now?
And, how long does it take to move from transient status?
In the Bilges,
Stages of Life ~
Previous Post ...
... Next Post
Anchor Light Fix