Wet and Worried - Sail Magazine

Wet and Worried

J. Hillier of Sausalito, California, asks:"I bought what I thought was a waterproof handheld VHF radio, but when I dropped it in some water in the bottom of my inflatable it died. It was only in the water for a few seconds before I picked it up, and even though it did work for about two hours it went dead after that. What do those specifications really mean?"
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0

J. Hillier of Sausalito, California, asks:

"I bought what I thought was a waterproof handheld VHF radio, but when I dropped it in some water in the bottom of my inflatable it died. It was only in the water for a few seconds before I picked it up, and even though it did work for about two hours it went dead after that. What do those specifications really mean?"

Gordon West replies:

Handheld VHF radios have a number of categories of water resistance but the most common are splash-resistant, watertight, and submersible. Usually you’ll find the description on the front of the unit. A splash-resistant handheld is the most vulnerable to water and can survive just that; a splash from any direction. It’s best to protect these units by putting them in a polyurethane waterproof pouch; the pouch will also keep help the radio afloat should it go overboard. All devices will also have either a Japanese Industry Standard (JIS) rating or an International European Community specification that defines the level of water ingress protection built into each product. Visit hy-com.com/jis.htm. for descriptions of these. If I were carrying a handheld in an inflatable, I’d probably want a unit rated at least JIS 6, which is watertight.

In your case, I suspect that though the radio’s innards were still dry, enough seawater got into the battery compartment to corrode the contact pins and knock out the unit. Always take the battery out of a radio immediately after if it gets wet, clean the battery compartment and contact pins with a cloth dampened with freshwater and alcohol, then let the unit dry completely. Clean and recharge the battery, then reinstall it in the dry compartment.

Units having the highest JIS ratings (JIS 7 and JIS 8) can be immersed for a specified period of time and still work. However, these radios should also have their battery and battery compartment cleaned and dried if they get wet. If the display begins to show some fogging, let the unit dry in the sun. Chances are good the fogging will disappear after it warms up.

Related

Stearns Photo

Racing the Solo Mac for a Cause

There are plenty of reasons to do a Chicago-Mac race, and Rich Stearns, who has done literally dozen of ‘em should know. This year, though, he’s doing the Solo-Mac for an especially important reason: to help those with prostate cancer.“Two years ago, I was diagnosed with prostate ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comRafting dangerOne unseen danger when sailing yachts lie alongside one another for a convivial night is that if they happen roll to a wash or begin to move in an unexpected sea, the spreaders can clash ...read more

180615-01 Lead

A Dramatic Comeback in the Volvo

After winning three of the last four legs in the Volvo Ocean Race (and coming in second in the fourth), Dutch-flagged Brunel is now tied for first overall with Spanish-flagged Mapfre and Chinese-flagged Dongfeng following the completion of Leg 10 from Cardiff, Wales, to ...read more

MFS-5-2018-Propan-SP02

Tohatsu LPG-powered 5hp Propane Motor

Gassing it UpTired of ethanol-induced fuel issues? Say goodbye to gasoline. Japanese outboard maker Tohatsu has introduced an LPG-powered 5hp kicker that hooks up to a propane tank for hours of stress-free running. Available in short-, long- or ultra-long-shaft versions, the ...read more

180612-01 Landing lead

Painful Sailing in Volvo Leg 10

It’s looking to be a case of feast or famine for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean fleet as it continues the epic struggle that has been Leg 10, with it having been all famine thus far. Painful is the only word to describe the light-air start in Cardiff, Wales, on June 10, as the 11-boat ...read more

01-13_07_180304_JRE_03695_4605

Tips From the Boatyard

Within the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard sits a communal sail loft which provides service and repairs for all seven teams sailing in the 2017-18 edition of the race. The sail loft employs only five sailmakers who look after 56 sails in each stopover. If you’re thinking, “wow, these ...read more

sailCarwBasicsJuly18

Sail Care for Cruisers

Taking care of your canvas doesn’t just save you money, it’s central to good seamanship  Knowing how to take care of your sails and how to repair them while at sea is an important part of overall seamanship. The last thing any sailor needs is to get caught on a lee shore with ...read more

Ship-container-2048

The Danger of a Collision Offshore

This almost happened to me once. I was sailing singlehanded between Bermuda and St. Martin one fall, and one night happened to be on deck looking around at just the right time. The moon was out, the sky was clear and visibility was good. Still, when I thought I saw a large ...read more