|On this page we cover plumbing aboard -
sinks; washbasins; heads (lavatories, or toilets as they are increasingly called
these days); deck hoses; sea-water intakes and
all that goes with them.
The new quick piping systems sound very interesting.
Have you found any revolutionary new plumbing materials which work well
on boats? Have you used one successfully or is yours the oldest plumbing still functioning aboard a
Tell us all about it and share your stories, advice, hints and tips with
Have you any great plumbing ideas which worked well on your boat?
Trying to solve a thorny plumbing problem? Put it to our readers and see
if anyone can offer the ideal solution...
The Skipper has a tale to tell...
At some point during a ten day charter around Cap
d'Antibes, I was informed of "a problem" with the starboard heads. The thought of dismantling,
unblocking, washing down, rebuilding and re-priming the cussed thing was too much.
I knew, only too well what a horrible job that can be and, after all, I had a full tank of compressed air
handy. That, I decided was the way to deal with this mini-crisis. No need to change
my clothes, even, one quick puff and it would be cleared.
Now this is the point where things started to go slightly wrong.
Having been able to unscrew the jubilee clamp and free the pipe leading to
the sea-cock, I managed to wrestle the dive tank into position and tape it onto the open end of the outlet pipe.
Once this was achieved, I oh-so-gently pushed the lever to the 'on'
position. Nothing. It occurred to me that I must have picked up an empty
tank but, just to make sure that was the case, I pushed the lever a little
I cannot really describe the noise but I'll try. It sounded like a cross between an elephant with an upset stomach and a Harrier jet. You would find it difficult to believe just how much a seven
foot piece of pipe can hold.
The whole cubicle was covered. The floor, the walls, the thickest layer on the
ceiling, the mirror, the door...Then came the odour and, finally, the realisation that I felt strangely
I couldn't believe what had happened. I was rendered speechless, for the first time in my life
(and not only because I didn't dare open my mouth for fear of what might
find its way into it. )
There are two morals to this story:
1) One should always explain to guests aboard that, just because the contents of the pan have
disappeared, it doesn't mean they have really gone and anyone using the
heads should continue to pump for a further 15 pulls after the pan is
clear, otherwise there tends to a backlog of contents in the pipe.
2) If the previous advice has been ignored, think twice before you reach for the compressed air.
There are some things that just don't bear thinking about.
That is definitely one of them!
Whether you have a tale to tell or some sound advice or, like The Skipper,
a combination of the two, we'd love to hear from you!
In the meantime, for light relief, you may like to try
our In-Quiz-ition No. 1:
ten questions with links to the answers, in Quizzcles, if you haven't
already done so.