Exercise Your Seacocks

By Don Casey

SeacockAll underwater through-hull openings should be fitted with seacocks (not gate valves), but a seacock is worthless unless it works when you need it. To keep seacocks functioning reliably, they must be exercised regularly and lubricated at least once a year. Cone- and plug-type seacocks need to be disassembled to be properly serviced, but ball-valve seacocks are easily maintained by spreading a dollop of waterproof grease on both sides of the closed ball.

Outside the boat, the ball is usually within reach, but to lubricate the interior side of the ball requires removing the hose attached to the valve. Operate the valve handle a couple of times to spread the grease onto the seat, and make a habit of exercising the valve every couple of months.

Don Casey has been one of the most consulted experts on boat care and upgrades for 30 years, and is one of the BoatUS Magazine's panel of experts. He and his wife cruise aboard their 30-footer part of the year in the eastern Caribbean. His books include Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual, and the recently updated This Old Boat, the bible for do-it-yourself boaters.


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