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Cleaning the chain and ground tackle when anchoring in muddy estuarine anchorages




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What is the issue?
Estuarine anchorages often have sticky mud that is very difficult to remove from the chain and anchor. A bucket of water sometimes is just not enough to remove it.

Why address this?
This is more than an issue of a filthy foredeck and crew. If you take the anchor chain down with mud the silt will eventually block the chain locker drain. Soon you will find muddy, organically rich water, overfilling into what is typically the yachts focsle berth. Worse you can pull in shellfish and later find the subsequent nauseous stench of their decay permeating the boat.

How to address this?
Install a deck wash salt water pump to your vessel and hose the chain as it rises section by section. There are many wash-down pump manufacturers available that provide kits. These typically include an appropriate pump, check valve, pressure switch and hose pipe adapters and are not overly expensive.

When installing it is recommended that you take the feed from an established seacock such as the galley or head intake line but not the engine. Most pumps draw about 10 amps, it would be normal practice to run the vessels engine whilst hosing. Therefore it would be inadvisable to have the pump in competition with the engine intake. A check valve will be required on the galley/heads side of the pump to prevent backflow.

Pumps typically push better than they pull, so the closer the pump can be deployed to the inlet the better the performance. You may need to use an extended power lead and attention to the correct gauge of wires to use over the distance should be observed. It is more than likely that you can run a dedicated circuit with a dedicated fuse or breaker.

This is a highly effective means of getting rid of resistant mud from anchors and chains. Once installed a deck wash pump will fulfill many convenient purposes aboard the vessel.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession. Header image with thanks to Fortress Anchors.
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