Marine Engines and the Gulf Oil Spill - Sail Magazine

Marine Engines and the Gulf Oil Spill

In addition to the extreme environmental issues created by the spill, sailors in that region are also becoming concerned about what, if anything, they can do to protect the engine and the raw water intakes on their boats from possible damage if they make contact with oil that is floating on or near the surface of the water.Since there’s a chance that any sailor, sailing anywhere, might
Author:
Publish date:
marine-engine.interior

In addition to the extreme environmental issues created by the spill, sailors in that region are also becoming concerned about what, if anything, they can do to protect the engine and the raw water intakes on their boats from possible damage if they make contact with oil that is floating on or near the surface of the water.

Since there’s a chance that any sailor, sailing anywhere, might encounter oil floating on the water it’s a good idea to know what must be done when that happens. All the manufacturers of marine engines have recently posted advisories about the possible effects of oil contamination on their sites and the one thing that they make clear is that no one should deliberately operate either a gasoline or diesel powered vessel in water that is contaminated with crude oil. The primary reason is that when oil is pulled into the cooling system of the engine, that system will become compromised.

More specific issues include:

Seawater pump impellers Petroleum products can harm many if not most impellers and they may swell up and fail with subsequent damage to the engine. Damage to hose, gasket and O-ring would be the same with regard to swelling. All these items should be replaced if they are contaminated and any owner who suspects that they may have been running through contaminated seawater must constantly monitor the cooling system for leaks and always be alert for signs of overheating.

Crude oil that is pulled into an engine block or heat exchanger will coat the unit’s surface and that can cause a loss of heat transfer efficiency that would create subsequent engine damage. As a practical matter it is very difficult to clean these components after they have been contaminated by oil.

Cooling system anodes Cooling system anodes can also be rendered ineffective by the coating action of the oil. If they do become contaminated they must either be cleaned or, if that is not possible, they must be replaced.

The seawater filters used by most recreational vessels will not effectively filter the oil from the seawater. In fact most of the commercial vessels working in Gulf to clean up the spill area operate with engines that use keel cooling, a system that does not pull seawater into the boat to cool the engines.

Yanmar has also posted on their site a technical bulletin produced by Apex Engineering Products Corporation that describes Apex’s Rydall MP, a medium-duty multi-purpose surface degreaser/cleaner

Related

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more

dorcap-open-blue

ATN Inc: Dorcap

COOL SLEEPYou’re fast asleep in a snug anchorage, forehatch open to catch the breeze, when you’re rudely awakened by a sneaky rain squall. Now you’re not only awake and wet, you’re sweltering with the hatch closed. Sucks, right? That’s why ATN came up with the Dorcap, an ...read more

HIGH-RES-29312-Tahiti-GSP

Ask Sail: Who has the right-of-way

WHO HAS RIGHT-OF-WAY?Q: I sail in Narragansett Bay, which is a relatively narrow body of water that has upwind boats generally going south and downwind boats generally going north. When sailboats are racing, the starboard tack boat has the right-of-way over the port tack boat, so ...read more

albinheaters

Albin Pump Marine: Marine Water Heaters

IN HOT WATERSweden’s Albin Pump Marine has introduced its line of marine water heaters to the United States. Complete with 130V or 230V AC electric elements, the heaters can be plumbed into the engine cooling system. They feature ceramic-lined cylindrical tanks in 5, 8, 12 and ...read more

03-squalls4

Squall Strategies

Our first encounter with a big squall was sailing from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico. We left at 0200 to ensure we’d get into Ensenada before our 1300 haulout time. The National Weather Service had forecast consistent 15-20 knot winds from the northwest, which was perfect for the ...read more