Wednesday, December 12

Hose and Hose Clamps

By Andrew Spaulding

Wire reinforced hose

By now you’ve felt the chilled bite of winter’s arrival. What to do to keep warm over the long winter months? Work on the boat of course! A hose and hose clamp inspection project isn’t too taxing, although beware those few extra cookies around the middle don’t trap you in the lazarette.

What is the hose and hose clamp project you say? Checking all of your hose and hose clamps…bow to stern. Hose related failure can lead to dramatic, catastrophic failure. Anyone that has even a few years working in the marine industry can tell a horror story about a hose gone wrong. An annual ritual ought to be a comprehensive survey of your hose. The winter doldrums are a perfect time of year to inspect your hose.

I prefer to break down the boat compartment by compartment as I go looking for my hose. This way I know which hose I’ve looked at and which hose still needs inspection. Every hose and hose connection is suspect. Check each hose for cracks, discoloration, and kinks. Make sure that any place where the hose can abrade on a bulkhead or piece of equipment, that there is protection for the hose.

In any place that you have wire reinforced hose make sure to check for signs of rust. Rust indicates that the hose has suffered some wear and tear that is exposing the internal structure. This is a case for immediately replacing the hose, as this situation can lead to a dangerous failure. Typically wire reinforced hose is used in exhaust systems where even a minor hose failure can lead to carbon monoxide building up in the main cabin.

While you're checking the hose, make sure each hose clamp is tight. Even if it looks tight, loosen the hose clamp a quarter turn and then tighten it back up. If you don’t feel the hose clamp tighten right back up, it could be breaking, twisting apart, or the teeth could be loosening. Any of these situations require a new hose clamp. 

Since you are going to make the effort to look at all of the hose and hose clamps, take advantage of the current camera technology and take digital pictures of all of your hoses. This way you can compare your hose year to year to identify any degradation to your hose.

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