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Beware of chafe

19 March, 2017

Chafe is well known as a problem for running rigging and sails but it can also affect other parts of a vessel. The photo above shows a fuel hose that was resting on a cutout through a bulkhead in the engine space. As the engine vibrated during normal running the hose gently chafed away unseen.

This one I picked up on an insurance survey and was only evident when lifting the hose to inspect the underside. The owners had completely missed it and were preparing for an offshore passage. Had the line chafed through it was positioned ready to leak fuel over the hot engine. On the same survey I found the exhaust hose was similarly worn through where it was sitting on top of a stud retaining the SailDrive ring.

Inspect the clamping and securing of your hoses or electrical lines to ensure they do not chafe either through engine vibration of movement when underway. Inspecting the hose and cable runs when running the engine on the berth should give a clue, if you see a hose or wire vibrating then its worth securing it with a saddle clamp or cable tie to prevent it wearing through and spilling its contents or shorting a circuit. Placing sheathing around the hose can help but doesn't stop the chafe, it only delays it.