Updated: Dec 7, 2021
You already know that I am all about safety gear for my family and friends while on board, but did you know that also includes safety gear for our home? We have to make sure Calypso is protected so she can protect us. Have you ever heard of high-water alarms? Well, I sure didn’t until a very good friend suggested that we buy some for the boat. We did some research and decided to take his advice. Let me tell you how thankful I am that we bought those little $10.00 gadgets a year and a half ago…
I woke up the other morning to a continuous alarm that I hadn’t heard before. Since I didn’t recognize it, I quickly began checking each area of the boat where we have several different types of alarms. I was able to narrow it down to the starboard side cabin under the floorboard. Since there are no other alarms there, I quickly realized it was our high-water alarm.
I sprang into action and hurried to wake up Jeremiah. We began pulling up floorboards on all sides of the boat to see how much water there was and to assess the possible damage it had already done to our equipment. Thankfully, it was fresh water and all of our things seemed to be okay. What was scary was that the water was getting extremely close to the actuator unit for the throttles on the starboard side-- yeah, the ones we just replaced for $5000.00! Fortunately, we still had time to figure out what was leaking and why none of the 3 bilge pumps were working.
We knew there had to be an issue that would cause all of the bilge pumps not to work. Possibilities could include a dead battery, a bad connection or problems at the circuit breaker. Jeremiah began checking each potential issue that it could be while I started researching online. As we were doing all of this, it hit us; while we were away in the States, we had someone come onboard to keep an eye on the batteries and solar to ensure they were doing their job.
It turns out that he turned off the bilge pumps at the circuit board to save power while the boat was on the hard getting work done. Since turning the bilge pumps off is something we would never do, we didn’t think to check them when we got back to Calypso...I know, so simple right? Once we switched them back on, we could hear the magic happening below us--what a relief, it all goes back to those $10.00 high-water alarms!
If the alarms hadn’t been there, who knows what could have happened. We may have never realized the water leaking in from our water heater and the condensation from our air conditioning units until it was too late. I can only imagine all the potential damage it could have caused our throttle boxes, engines, air conditioning units and so on…. I’m talking about the possibility of 100K in damage!
A high-water alarm can quickly alert anyone on board that flooding is taking place and the bilge-water level is rising. It’s a great piece of equipment to have aboard a sailboat due to the potential danger a vessel and crew is faced with while being surrounded by water. They’re very easy to set up and place within the boat. We will continue to check ours monthly and happily replace them whenever needed. A huge thank you goes out to our good friend John who suggested we buy them many months ago!