We must always remember that out there in the sea, we are alone and no one can help us...
In this section we will occupy with the preparation of the rib provided that engines and rib (tubes, hull) are well maintained. Through this article there will be essentially a quick reference to parts forming the rib, as well as the supplies of basic and backup equipment, which will compose a seaworthy whole. At the same time we will look at the most common causes of damages that usually happens which therefore will make us afford with the necessary spares.
Let's go step by step, starting first of all with the basic parts that make up our rib at priority:
- Auxiliary engine
- Fuel system
- Steering system
- Electrical installation
- General supplies
1. The engine
The fact is that someone can do a few things to a motor of last technology. Nevertheless, it is useful to have some spares on board:
- Engine and gearbox oil
- Fuel filters and the appropriate number of spark plugs
- Spare impeller
- Petrol filters and engine fuel pump, and of course
- Spare propeller. As it has been emphasized several times, the backup propeller is not necessary only when the main one is beaten. A very unpleasant situation is also the spinning of the propeller, which happens without warning and no one can determine the time it will appear.
2. Auxiliary engine
If the main motor has any serious damage then the auxiliary engine is one that will take us from unpleasant adventures. So it needs to be well maintained and absolutely ready.
First of all we connect it to a separate tank permanently.
Then we create a second provision in case we need to go several miles with the auxiliary engine, thus avoiding the constant transfusions from the mainly tank. From the water trap of the main engine's fuel system we connect another one fuel hose which ends to our auxiliary engine.
To be able to repair a hole or tear in the inflatable tube we must have with us a repair kit which should include:
- Hypalon material of same quality and colour with the tubes of our Rib
- Two-component glue for tubes in a small package
- Hypalon solvent for thorough cleaning of the area we will intervene but also for removing excess glue
- Scissors and a well sharpened slitter to cut the Hypalon in a similar shape and size we desire
- Masking tape to segregate the area we will intervene
- Sandpapers for etching the bonding surfaces and
- A small brush to stretch our glue.
4. Fuel system of the main engine.
Any obstacle to the constant flow of fuel from the tank to the engine is sure to immobilize us. It is indeed the most common cause when suddenly the engine stops or can't switch on. In such a case the first thing to check is whether the fuel can reach the engine.
Therefore it is very important to check the fuel line hose, fuel primer bulbs and valves so as they are always in a great condition.
As far the water-separating fuel filters are concerned:
We can place two water-separating fuel filters in parallel set-up, ensuring essentially the second one as a backup. In parallel arrangement, the fuel passes only from the first water trap, while the second one is located just below the first and isolated with two-way valves placed one at the inlet and one at the exit of the fuel. So in case of problem in the main water trap we only have to open the switch of the second water trap.
By this way we can easily cancel the first water trap in case of problem and put the second one in operation.
Parts with which the boat must be equipped:
- About three meters of fuel hose
- Spare fuel primer bulb
- Spare water-separating fuel filter
- Engine fuel filter
5. Steering system
It is known that there are two main types of steering systems: mechanical and hydraulic. The first, due to greater stress often shows wear and therefore needs careful maintenance and replacement in shorter time.
In a hydraulic steering system the things are simpler and it very rarely causes a problem. All we have to do is to check the oil level and inspect the oil- tubes throughout their distance for any damage leading to leakage.
So we always need to have on board the necessary oil, a litter is enough, in case of need.
6. Electrical board installation
We all know the importance of a proper electrical installation. Not only to be run out of power, but rather for our own security. Suffice to contact two bare wires and initial fire side is a fact.
Suitable cables through into protective channels and arranged in groups by means of cable ties, stable and appropriate connections without the presence of oxidation is undoubtedly a clear evidence of the quality of the electrical installation of our boat.
We know that even our boat's batteries are the only source of electricity, when the key of our engine is in position off. Therefore, we must keep in the excellent condition since they are those that will give the necessary electrical energy needed to start on our engine. They are also are responsible for the functioning of devices and systems of our board when we are anchored in an isolated bay.
A thorough checking of the entire electrical installation, from the batteries til each switch separately is more than required.
So, we must have a small separate toolbox which will include:
- Spare switches
- Spare fuses of all types placed on board
- Spare cable lengths of five meters
- Terminals, connectors, heat shrinkable tubes and cable ties
- Pliers, insulating tape
- Trial 12 volt screwdriver
- Voltmeter to measure directly over the poles of the batteries
- Spare bulbs of each type present in the rib
7. General supplies
Apart from the obligatory equipment, which the law requires, there are some things that are imposed by simple logic and the actual conditions, which are necessary for our security.
We will focus our attention mainly on some things that must be present in each boat:
- A toolbox with a complete set of tools: screwdrivers, a series of wrenches, a full set of ratchets, a large number of stainless steel screws of different calibres and lengths. Of course, we must not forget the spanner and wrench on the nut of the propeller. Our toolbox should also include a silicone tube.
- A backup bilge pump and a manual pump
- A manual and a 12 volt pump air
- A well organized pharmacy with painkillers, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, ointments for burns and stings...
- A bag with wetsuits and flippers for each member of the crew, and of course
- Traditional navigational instruments such as the compass, the divider and the parallel ruler.