Devices Only Work if You Let Them!

Devices Only Work if You Let Them!

November 18, 2018 Safety Sailing news 0

All too often people take risks with their lives and with their most prized possessions by ignoring or tampering with safety devices.Hopefully one would not tamper with a life jacket because it was bulky, the wrong colour et al?

So, why would one replace electrical fuses with nails or screws?

Q. What is an electrical fuse for?

A. To protect the equipment down line of it. When a fuse blows it will open the entire circuit and stop current passing through the component/s. Thereby protecting the systems on board from being damaged. Sensitive equipment on a boat, in the car, or at home can be destroyed by power surges or supply issues that happen ‘out of the blue’.

Old and badly maintained electrical equipment and electrical wiring are often the cause of blown fuses as is excessive load being applied.There are two conditions that can cause a fuse to blow. Most commonly, when too many lights or plug-in appliances draw power from the circuit, it can overload the capacity of the fuse and cause the metal wire inside the fuse to melt through.

Secondly, if there is a short in the system, a faulty wire, loose earthing strip, loose connection etc causing a micro spark that will blow the fuse.

NB. Water affecting electrical systems will also blow fuses, condensation, rainwater, sea water ingress etc. Fuse ratings are specifically calculated so that the fuse – the weakest link – will blow in the prescribed circumstances, using a higher rated fuse than recommended means that the fuse may not blow and will allow the fault condition to continue and sensitive equipment will be damaged.

For safety’s sake, we urge boaters to use the correct fuses at all times, and to carry spares, should fuses continue to blow talk with your boat yard or preferred electrical systems repair people because a fault may be present, and it needs fixing sooner than later.

NB. Sparks and hydrocarbon fuels are a dangerous mix, do not take the risk! 

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In recent times we have witnessed on social media and in august sailing publications people using screws, nails, tools and other devices to override the fuses on boats.  Please, stop before it is too late.

Such a practice at home or on board the boat can lead to a fire breaking out. If the system protection cannot protect itself by blowing the fuse it will build up heat and can cause a fire, at home this is bad news – you call the fire department, at sea you are in serious trouble, you, your boat and your passengers!

CO2 detectors are designed to spot fire at its earliest stage – CO2 is created as soon as combustion starts (far more effective than smoke detectors). However, if the detector is battery powered do make sure they are in working order and that you have fresh batteries onboard.

If your CO2 detector is connected to the boats power supply check it is working regularly. CO – Carbon Monoxide – detectors are vital for safety, check them frequently. If these devices are disconnected or the batteries are expired, they will not work and your life and those of your crew or family etc will be put at risk.

Safety systems are carefully designed by experts for our safety. On-boat systems are crucial to safety and well being. The old saying, ‘why spoil the ship for a ‘hapeth o tar’, was never more true. For the sake of a fuse costing pennies/cents is your boat and your life not worth that much? And, the same goes for batteries.

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Take care and sail safe.

Passionate about safety.

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Author: R. Langley