James Stevens explains which skills are best to perfect while you have plenty of time to do so. This week, draining the water from the primary fuel filter

Draining the water from the primary fuel filter

James Stevens

James Stevens, author of the Yachtmaster Handbook, spent 10 of his 23 years at the RYA as Training Manager and Yachtmaster Chief Examiner

A YM reader had taken an RYA diesel maintenance course but, due to time pressure, had always employed an engineer to service the engine. With more time on his hands he decided to service it himself but found it was nothing like as straightforward onboard as it was in the classroom. The lesson he learned was that it’s much better to become familiar with tasks alongside. Then, should you need to do it in anger at sea, you’ve a far better chance of succeeding.

His first hurdle was removing the water from the bottom of the primary filter. It’s often mounted in a pretty inconvenient place so the first problem is getting at it, and then being able to see the glass bowl to check for water.

Draining the water is quite simple and involves loosening a nut under the bowl so the water, which is in the bottom of the bowl, can drain out. You need a torch, either on your head or clamped to the boat, the right spanner and a container to catch the water. Space is limited so the container needs to be quite small and have a screw top or sealable lid – you can’t simply throw the contents over the side. It’s a smelly job, usually in a confined space, and the quicker you can do it, the better you will feel.



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