Add a High-Water Alarm For Peace of Mind
Simple to install and easy to test, these systems will alert you when things go awry in the bilge. Hands-on Sailor from our August 2011 issue.
For obvious reasons, wiring for the components of high-water alarms, particularly those located in the bilge, must be robust and waterproof. The system should be tested by actuating the float switch at least monthly and by filling the bilge with water—to test both the high-water alarm and bilge-pump system—at least annually.
If flooding should occur as a result of the batteries going dead or otherwise malfunctioning, as often is the case, then it makes sense that the alarm should operate independently of that power supply. Proprietary alarms available from Ultra Safety Systems (www.tefgel.com) use a pair of 9-volt transistor batteries for this very reason.
If you wish to rely on the alarm to alert others while your boat’s anchored, moored, or sitting dockside, then include an annunciator (again, a loud one), and consider adding a strobe, for additional impact, on deck as well. For the expense, high-water alarms represent one of the better returns on your onboard investment.
Steve D’Antonio offers services for boat owners and buyers through Steve D’Antonio Marine Consulting (www.stevedmarineconsulting.com).