Lessons Learned - February 2019

Is It Right Or Is It Wrong 9

It is time again for my latest installment of “Is it right or is it wrong.” For the past ten months, I have been collecting photos of things that we know are just not right, some things we know are right and sometimes we see things of which we are not sure. I thought that I would share a few of my latest observations in installment nine. I do appreciate the reader submissions, as I may not see all that is right (or wrong) as I boat around the Bay and the Delta.

Sunk, Sinking, And Soon To Be Sunk Boats

As most of us travel around the bay and delta by boat or by land yacht, we all see an abundance of neglected and abandoned vessels well on their way to becoming a burden for the rest of us.

I spotted this fishing vessel lying on her side and tied to the launch ramp but with no obvious attempt at getting her on land for repairs. From the appearance of the vessel it has been stuck in the mud for a least a week, likely longer. What was once the pride and joy of a yachtsman is now well on her way to becoming another wreck for someone else to deal with.

Orange cones out to warn passing motorists and it appears -the owner has intentions to rescue this small craft. With the CF numbers clearly visible the owner should not be hard to find.

The owner′s intention to return and collect his vessel seems more certain with this next trailer-less boat. Look closely and you can see the chain and lock wrapped around the tree to prevent someone from loading her on a trailer thus rescuing her from certain death by parts thieves.

Difficult to determine what occurred with this fine example of a derelict vessel.

At some point it appears someone put out an oil boom to contain any fuel or oil spills, however that was long ago as the boom no longer wraps around the vessel. Again, with clearly visible CF registration number it should not be difficult to find the owner and have the vessel removed.

It is not enough to abandon your unwanted trailer boat, so you fill it with trash and other items that you do not want and then abandon the entire mess. I think that I have a new term, “trailer less boat trash.”

I do not go out looking for these abandoned vessels. They are so prevalent that not a week goes by that I do not just happen upon one. I am even to the point now that I do not even stop to take a photo or two when I come across them. Abandoned vessels seemed to have just become part of the scenery.

Clearly not in the same category as the others, this beautiful well-maintained sport boat had the hydra hoist fail. Fortunately, no damage to boat, berth or lift. A bit of minor repair and all will be back as it should be.

I have walked past this particular boat for quite some time and always wondered how it got there and if anyone has ownership.

With no obvious access to the dock or boat from land, it appears the only access is by a tender or dinghy of some sort. However I have not ever seen a tender or a person ever present near this boat so I am guessing that she is abandoned. Too bad, I would love to have my own private dock in Marin County.

While on the subject of dinghy′s, I have an example for opposite ends of the spectrum. This beautiful tug was spotted at the dinghy dock and is the tender to a much larger tug.

Ok, busted, you can see the registration is WN. I spotted this well-crafted miniature tug in one of my favorite boating destinations, Poulsbo, Washington. If you have the opportunity to go boating in Puget Sound, make the short 20-mile voyage from Seattle across to Poulsbo on the Olympic Peninsula and you will be pleasantly surprised with this historic community of strong Norwegian heritage.

At the opposite end of the dinghy spectrum we have a good example of a workhorse that has been used hard and put away wet.

Although she looks to need a few repairs, these rubber boats are durable and with a little effort she will be back to work in no time.

Just for fun I thought that I would take a drive out to the end of 8 Mile Road to Herman & Helen′s Marina and check the current status of the impromptu boat yard.

I do not think anyone would be surprised to see the same old boats sitting in the mud. The Aurora and the Fir have some white paint on the exterior and the tug looks like another boat ready to sink. I looked back at the May 2018 letter I received from the Fir stating how they really want to leave and go to a real boatyard. You would think that the inconvenience of having no potable water, no electricity, and no waste removal system would be enough incentive to get underway, but no, here they continue to sit. With the old H&H boat sheds sinking and the buildings crumbling it looks like just another mess responsible boat owners will end up paying for.


No installment of Is It Right Or Is It Wrong would be complete without a few electrical mistakes.

I can only guess how well this particular GPS system is operating. For the GPS antenna to receive signals from a large number of satellites it needs to be point straight up and not to the horizon. Unless those new Russian satellites a low on the horizon.

I suppose if you never intend to disconnect your shore power pigtail adapter, plastic tape is a suitable solution to the proper locking collar and sealing ring.

I do appreciate the attempt at style by using something other than the plain silver duct tape most of us would be satisfied with.

In all fairness I snapped this photo very early in the morning after a pretty windy evening. Apparently, the boat had been moving around in her berth throughout the night and the shore power cord ended up hanging in the water, but that being said, the power cord and mooring lines should have been better secured so the cord would not end up in the water.

Owner called and said that his stern thruster would not work and wanted us to check it. After opening the battery box it was easy to see the problem. An 8D battery had exploded, fortunately inside the spill containment box. This is one of the reasons that the ABYC recommends that wet cell batteries be installed in an enclosure that will contain any spilled acid.

On closer inspection it was obvious the amount of liquid acid was far less than what should have been present. It appears that the owner did not check or add water to the battery for more than a year and the battery charger boiled the battery dry, it eventually overheated and exploded. Yes, we did replace it with a maintenance free battery and upgraded the battery charger to a modern multi-stage smart unit from a highly regarded manufacturer.

If your battery terminals look like this then it is time to find out the cause, rectify it and clean these up. If ignored you may end up with a battery like the one above.

Miscellaneous And In No Particular Order

Hired to go get a boat in San Francisco and bring her to her new home in the Delta, I was a bit surprised at the novel method the owner used to ensure that nobody walked off with his power cord.

When making any sort of long-distance voyage, I like to take in and secure all lines and cords. In this case I just had to coil it up at the rail and lash it down as the owner no longer had the key to the lock.

When doing a safety inspection on an older boat we look in the bilges via any inspection hatches available.

Imagine my surprise when I pulled back the carpeting and opened the hatch to reveal a bilge full of red #2 diesel. I suppose it could have been worse, this could have been a gasoline powered boat.

Not sure why this cleat failed, but I do know that it was supposed to hold the stern of a large boat next to the dock, but the tender was also using this cleat.

I am not sure that I would be so trusting of a cleat that has a failed mounting screw. This vessel at the other end of this mooring line was a very pretty and well maintained trawler.

I expected nothing less that the yachtsman would have properly cleated and well-dressed lines.

This is one of the coolest cleats I have seen. The owner had these custom made and they not only look good they are also functional.

That is all for this installment. Now I can sit back and enjoy that fine cigar and glass of port as I consider Is It Right Or Is It Wrong 10. We are right in the middle of winter and some of the best bay and delta boating is this time of year. Be safe around our fellow yachtsmen and yachtswomen and if you do see something that you are not quite sure if it is right or wrong, take photos and email them to me at patcarson @yachtsmanmagazine.com. I may include them in the next edition of Is It Right Or Is It Wrong so that we can all learn from others′ experiences.


With the start of every new year, it is time to have our annual Courtesy Vessel Safety Check, your 2018 sticker is now outdated.

Having a current decal on the port side of your vessel is definitely right. H

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