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Finding water in a boat’s normally-dry bilge is never fun. The only good thing about us finding water in ours the day after returning from the Galapagos is that with the boat being on the hard, we were pretty certain (100% certain actually) that we weren’t sinking!

When we returned home at 1:00 AM in the morning, we turned on the water pump as a matter of course. Although we went to sleep almost right away, I seem to recall hearing the water pump cycling on and off a few times (this is one of the boat noises that live-aboards become very sensitive to). When we awoke in the morning, and I noticed that sound once again, I glanced into our bilge and found several inches of water. As we were on land, I felt safe in dispensing with the taste test (is the water fresh or salt?), and with the fresh-water pump cycling, I was pretty certain that we had a leak. The next questions was, where?

Can you see the water pouring from the bottom?

Although I’m not positive, I believe it was the previous owner of ZTC who first told us to always turn off the fresh water pump when leaving the boat. He explained that if this was not done, and the pressurized fresh-water system was to develop a leak, it could pump the entire contents of the water tank into the boat. While this wouldn’t likely sink a boat, it could certainly cause damage. This lesson is one of many that we made into habits, and are now very thankful for. Instead of a few inches of water in the bilge, we could have come home to find over 300L of water sloshing about!

It didn’t take too long to find the leaky culprit, an old fitting hidden in one of the least accessible spots, under the galley sink, behind the washing machine. For the past couple of days we have worked to replace the old plumbing, a task made more difficult with the chandlery being closed on Sundays.

We will NOT be using a fitting like this!

Yesterday, while working to eliminate leaks in the new system, I managed to break the access plate to our fresh water tank, dropping the lid and all of the fittings into the bottom of the tank. Sigh. One step forward, one step back. Oh well, what a great opportunity to clean the inside of the water tank, a job that, upon inspection, is thoroughly due!


  1. I didn’t realize you back in Grenada already. I was under the impression you were doing the whole Pacific crossing! Well that was short and sweet. Still an adventure 🙂

    • Actually, we’re in Trinidad. We were gone a month if that could be called short, but yes, as we left, we were envious of our friends who were continuing, and our replacements who were due to fly in to take our crew spots.

  2. Washing machine? where is it ? picture please! I dropped mine too, used a wire hanger to fish it out. Mine has 5 compartments with 5 covers, the rest are under the table that you will have to remove. Try to borrow a pressure washer to clean the tanks, a brush was not sufficient to do the job on hull #261. Then I used a wet vac to clean up all the pieces of white gellcoat that were on the bottom. Finally I used chlorine to shock the tank. Your side trip looked awesome but I’m sure it’s great to be home to fix stuff…

  3. Actually, a fresh water leak cannot sink a boat, Mike. Well, that is presuming that the freesh water source is onboard tankage, because the boat is already carrying this water. A leak just relocates it lower in the boat.

    If you are plumbed into city water tho, it is an entirely different story. I have seen two live-aboard boats at Shilshole nearly sunk by Seattle City Water when fittings broke in the onboard system and Seattle tried to put all their water into the boat…

    s/v Eolian

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