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Date: 1 July 2018. Attaching Wires to the Bulkhead.


The 32-volt battery banks on a neighbor's yacht needed replacement. Like all boat jobs it expanded a bit. Most of the Might-As-Well and While-We're-At-It items were as as a direct result of me. One issue was some of the wiring had fallen off the bulkhead. I had a low-cost (free!) solution. Here is how I fixed those wires.


When wires are not supported they become stressed. The PLASTIC CABLE TIES ↑ had broken. This is not entirely unexpected. All become brittle over time. Once the first breaks the next in line will have more weight on it. Then that one will snap. A cascade effect follows, with each brittle support failing sequentially.

The danger is abrasion. We do not want wires rubbing against each other. Boats underway vibrate which exacerbates this chafing problem.

Fortunately I had a solution. A few days ago I had hauled Algae out of the water for some repairs. I store a cheap life jacket in the dinghy so I am legal. After about a year or so the fabric cover of the life preserver will deteriorate. My life preserver had a tear, making it unacceptable as a life saving device.


The belt strap however was a-okay. I cut the striped strap off the jacket, throwing away the rest. A quick trip through the washing machine and I had a nice belt for something. Frankly I was not sure what I would use it for, however it was too good to throw away. I kept it.

When I saw those wires in the bilge I knew I had my answer.

The belt would easily secure the wires to the bulkhead.

My assistant cut the strapping into a 1' piece. Then he burned the edges using a lighter. I did not want the webbing to become frayed. I had some #6 and #8 half inch long screws in my stash. With a washer to prevent the head from going all the way through the webbing, I was ready to mount the wires.

That is when I ran into my first problem. The wires are HEAVY. They were too weighty for me to support and attach to the bulkhead so I had to improvise. To hold the wires up, position the webbing, and then screw the whole thing to the bilge bulkhead was not going to happen. I needed to lift those cables somehow.

A second webbing belt was available so I used it to temporarily hoist the wires. It was not pretty, but it worked.

Once the wires were supported it was *easier to secure them to the bulkhead.

*Note the word chosen is easier versus easy. Holding the wires, strap and a screwdriver all at the same time was an exercise in perseverance. I did succeed, eventually.

One WEBBING STRAP secures the batch of wires to the bulkhead.

In the above picture you can see I follow the advice found in the Stacking Battery Cables article.

The wires are better now that they are raised. Multiple straps support the weight of the wires.

Though these are simple life jacket webbing straps, they work well to hold the wires safely. The cost was free. Thus I was able to add a few extras where needed. This is not a gosh, stop everything and do it immediately job. It is a solution worth considering, especially since the plastic things eventually become brittle.

As for me, I have still got more of the strap from that old life jacket. I tucked it into my stash of stuff aboard Seaweed. Frankly I like this better than the plastic supports. Because the wire bundles were so large, this was easily adaptable for the correct diameter.

Best of all this is free. Should I need or want to mount something to the bulkhead down in my bilge, I have an easy way to do so. The fabric webbing will not abrade.

Not all solutions have to come from a retail store. Often we see boaters asking for lists of necessities and spare parts for their intended journey. With a bit of thought and the correct circumstances you may be able to make do with what you already have on hand.

Our parents used up what they had. If not for the initial intended purpose, items often found a new life in a different capacity. This is both economical and a wise use of resources. Aboard my boat it is a habit. There is a pleasure I discovered in reclaiming old items.

As each part of my past (or Daddy's) begins serving a new use aboard Seaweed I smile. There is a distinct happiness in knowing that things used a half century ago are still being enjoyed today. Daddy even made tools. I will tell you more about that one day soon. I only wish I was half as smart as he was.

Happy boating, and thanks for reading.

Have you checked your wire bundles recently?
What else have you used for your wires?


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Categories: Gear, In the Bilges,

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