Practical Sailor evaluated washdown pumps capable of performing high-pressure cleanup chores on boats ranging in size from a weekender to a mid-size cruiser. We looked at eight pumps from four manufacturers: the C-60 Deck Wash Kit from Groco Marine; two pumps from Jabsco / ITT; two from Shurflo; and three from Johnson Pumps. With gallons-per-minute ratings ranging from 3.5 to 7 GPM, the pumps were evaluated on their free-flow and restricted outputs, outflow distance and pressure, power draw, price, warranty, design, and construction quality.
While model holding-tank testing allows side-by-side comparisons, there’s nothing like on-the-boat testing to sort out practical differences. Our test boat, a PDQ 32, had been plumbed with a mix of low-end vinyl sanitation hose and water exhaust hose; the rubber hose was permeated, cracked, and discolored, and the sanitation hose was permeated to the point of having a thin film of sticky goo that had condensed on the external surface. A textbook case of time showing the weaknesses of poor material selection.
Last year, Practical Sailor installed and tested seven internally mounted liquid-level monitoring kits, including the sensors and their mated remote display panels, in a polyethylene holding tank; the results were reported in the May 2008 issue. The sensors spent the following nine months marinating in the tank, with the occasional sloshing by a tester, before being re-tested to see how well they continued to perform. The test field comprised float sensors, neumatic sensors, and an ultrasonic sender. Float sensors included Sealand TankWatch1, Dometic DTM4, Groco TLM Series, and Wema SHS-8. Air-pressure-fueled sensors included Fireboy-Xintex PTS and Hart Systems Tank Tender. BEP Marines (Marinco) TSI sender uses ultrasonic pulses to measure liquid levels.
Continuing with our most recent evaluations of marine sanitation systems, Practical Sailor tested eight marine-grade diverter valves (Y-valves), the valves that control the flow of liquid from one source to two different outlets or from two sources to one outlet. The test field comprised seven manual diverter valves and one electric valve from seven manufacturers. Testers looked at construction, performance, ease of use and install, price, and warranty. The manual Y-valves tested included products from Bosworth Co., Jabsco, Forespar, Groco, Johnson, Whale, and Trudesign (distributed in the U.S. by Raritan). Testers also looked at an electric Y-valve from Trudesign.
Practical Sailor evaluated stainless-steel hose clamps from 11 manufacturers, including Shields, ABA, Murray, AWAB, Breeze, American Valve, Ideal/Tridon, Trident, Koehler, and Norton. The test clamps, both T-bolt and worm-drive designs, were all size 28 (for hose sizes 1 5/16 to 2 1/4 inches) and 32 (for hoses 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 inches). Bench tests included torque to compression and torque to failure tests, and a magnet test and long-term saltwater bath test to determine corrosion resistance. All clamps were closely examined for quality of construction and workmanship, and price was considered in final ratings.
Protecting marine water systems from freeze damage is a deceptively simple goal. The terminology and various product claims can be confusing, and what seems like a good common-sense decision can lead to trouble. We tend to think that all water systems are the same; that boats as well as RVs can be protected by the same pink antifreeze without any further thought. However, many of the problems we associate with age, or normal wear and tear-stiff impellers, cracked pipes, ruined joker valves, and foul-tasting tap water-can often be attributed to errors during winterization.