Thursday, June 18, 2009

Between a (Nautical) Rock and a Hard Place

We headed down to the boat after dinner last night, to check out the new black cover/awnings we ordered for it, and to check on the batteries. I enjoy the boat life, but I have to confess that I'm blissfully unaware of most of the actual workings of the boat.

They have classes advertised with one of the local boat dealerships, classes that are actually advertised as boat classes "for women". (Some of you well-versed nautical women might take offense to that, but hey, not me!) One of them is how to tie ropes; I have tried a couple of times, under Dave's tutelage, but it isn't something at which I excelled, nor have I worked very hard to learn. It used to be more of a necessity, when we were in a BIG slip with our boat, on our other dock. There we were several feet away from both sides of the slip. So there were a few instances where I was on the dock and he was in the boat, saying "No, put that loop through that - NO, not that way, the other way..." and eventually I DID get it figured out, but then didn't retain it for any length of time. I think it is just some Boy Scout thing that all men learn and do well. Maybe I'll take a class or two.

Anyway, we headed down last night because our batteries were acting up last weekend, after the dock had lost power for a few hours. In addition,we also had our shore power unplugged while Dave had the boat topsy turvy and turned around as he was waxing and polishing for two days straight. There are two batteries that run the starboard (that's the right side- yes, I know that boating term!) engine, and then two batteries that run the port (left) engine, and run all of the things onboard that you would need while you are out in the water - the cabin lights, the head, the stereo and things like that. In addition, the port batteries also power the hatch lift to get down into the boat engine. When the boat is plugged into shore power, it recharges the batteries in order for all of these things to work, but it doesn't actually send power these things, it just recharges the batteries that in turn power these things. (Dave, if you are reading this, I think I'm explaining it correctly!)

However, if the battery is drained to zero, and the shore power won't recharge the battery, then you're in a quandry; which was where we found ourselves last night. No battery power, so couldn't start the port engine and take the boat out to see if the alternator might recharge the battery enough. AND, more importantly, no way to lift the engine hatch (which is about five feet long and three feet wide, and not manually liftable by one person-- or even one person and his wife, although we didn't go there) to GET to the batteries to change them, check them, etc. AND absolutely no instructions in the owner's manual telling you what to do if you're in this catch 22!

It was quite the predicament; we visited with some other folks on the dock, who tried to helped us reason through it ("there has to be an alternate way to lift the hatch"... well, gee, that's helpful, thanks!) but in the end we headed home, knowing that Dave would have to call the SeaRay dealership or hopefully find something on the internet.

The world wide web didn't let us down, and Dave was able to locate some information about our 13-year-old SeaRay; the alternate way is with the cigarette lighter outlet and a $10 charger-thingy (there's a technical term) that he has to buy, which will then plug into something and charge something else and then somehow the hatch will work. Good thing I'm not in charge of this mission, huh!?

So, all that to get the hatch open, then go buy new batteries, and make sure that is what the problem is, as opposed to the charging system. If the charging system is the issue then we are looking at a lot more expensive fix. But we are keeping our fingers crossed that it is "just" the batteries, and easily fixable. Boats - holes in the water into which one throws money. But hey, it is a heck of a lot of fun when things are going well, which is most of the time.

Happy almost-Friday to all.

1 comment:

Lucas said...

My job on our boat is to hold down the deck and look pretty......and I'm DAMN good at it!!! :)