Keep That Plow Where It Belongs – On The Farm

Inboards Outboards, a wondrous device

For skiing or fishing, they work so nice

half in, half out, as strange as can be

Four in a line, V6 or 8V

Hop in, crank up, and away you will go

To catch a big fish, or bikini to show

You’ll speed through the waves

As slick as can be

Till the depth of your vessel exceeds

that of the sea

Boats are for boating and here is a clue,

When it comes to a plow,

A John Deere is for you!

Lots of mechanical damages I view on inboard outboards for underwriters come from what I call, Farm Boy Boaters. When they hit the ground, they revert back to tractor tactics, and believe they can plow their way out of problems.

When your raw water intake is out of that wet stuff and down in the goo, it’s time to stop, or you may experience a large repair bill.

Here’s the usual scenario. You have a soft grounding and decide to plow your way off. The first thing you destroy is your raw water impeller, which does a great job until you switch from water to sand or shell.

Now comes the rub. After burning your impeller, the sand or mud goes to the oil cooker, which promptly stops up. Then the engine gets the Chernobyl syndrome and wants to melt down. In extreme cases with tractor mariners, the heads warp and you get water on the pistons causing an $8,000 repair bill. Ouch!

If you don’t pay attention to your risers and exhaust elbows, they get arterial sclerosis, or the inner jacket falls and., ouch. There you go again, back to the shop for more unnecessary monetary humility. So what’s a Plow Boy to do?

Rule No. 1: If you ground and don’t come off easily, shut the thing down, now, not later. Not only can you trash your engine but your poor propeller, designed to slice through the water, doesn’t chop shell or rocks too good.

Get out the old boat hook or gaff and test the bottom composition. If you do come off easily, check your sea strainers if you have them and check for exhaust flow. Your risers and exhaust elbows may be suffering from the high cholesterol clog, and your mechanic will testify to the fact that they don’t last forever.

Boat/US put out a failures probability chart for risers and manifolds: five years., 45 percent failure; seven years, 85 percent; eight years, 90 percent; and nine years, 100 percent. You may do some simple math and decide this is the year to replace these boys.

Lots of policies don’t cover incidents related to lack of maintenance and wear and tear, and replacing a long block can get your attention, big time. The exotic metal risers didn’t work that great because of different expansion and contraction rates between iron and stainless steel. Some are now being better coated and may be ceramic lined, and things are looking up for these wet systems, but for now, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.

May your risers never bring you low, and remember, The Lord loves sailors.

Neil K. Haynes June 1999

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