The unpleseant situation in which when we turn on the ignition key and the engine stubbornly refuses to start or even worse, while travelling suddenly its rpm drops down and eventually stops working is something that has happened to mostly all of us.
One of the most common causes leading to this situation is the presence of water in the fuel.
Definitely the long-term consequences related to the operation of pumps, fuel injectors and our engine itself can be very significant.
But the most important thing of all is our safety. There are many skippers who have been adrift in the middle of the sea due to the presence of water in fuel. But what will happen if the nearest land is far away and the weather becomes worst? The only certainty is that an odyssey will start the end of which would definitely not be very pleasant.The best solution to the above problem is the prevention. With no doubt there is no boat without a water trap between the tank and the engine. But are all the water traps the same? Are all of them capable to protect us to the same extent by the undesirable entrance of the water into the engine? The answer is obviously negative. In my opinion a water trap should necessarily have the following characteristics:
- be transparent and not metal so as we can have optical control of the fuel
- to worn us immediately even when a small amount of water is detected in its interior in order to be able to empty before it penetrates to our engine
a water trap like that is the "smart" water trap S2-400 of WWS (Water Warning System) which includes:
- the main unit with integrated electronic circuit
- sensors for detecting water
- a double-signal (red and green) LED located on the upper part of the unit
- input connections and fuel export
- two valves, one for quick and easy extraction of trapped water and the other for ventilation, speeding up the process of water removal when it is detected
- 100-micron filter, which doesn’t need replacement but only cleaning
- wiring and the buzzer which will sound when water is detected
Suffice a small amount of water in the water trap -about 20% of its capacity- to cause the activation of the system. Automatically, the buzzer sounds and the ‘’green’’ LED indicator turns "red".
All we have to do then is to turn the engine off for a few minutes and open the drain and vent valves of water trap until the unwanted water removes.
This water trap we placed in 2004 when we started from Thessalonica to carry the Olympic flag in Gibraltar. Throughout the journey, during which we travelled around 4.500nm, the buzzer sounded only once. But we were between Sicily-Sardinia with the nearest land at 100nm and we were preparing to go through a storm that was forming in front of us.
Its evacuation for three times for the next five miles was enough to continue with absolutely no problems on our course.
It's been 11 years since then and the water trap is still on the boat, without any damage, without having to change the filter and without any maintenance costs.
All we have to do is to keep it in good condition by cleaning the filter and greasing every year the threads of the vent valves and drain, protecting it from salts and corrosion.