Cleaning the bilge

On the trip from Conwy to Holyhead, Blue Opal‘s bilge got filled with the contents of a canister of clean engine oil. You can imagine the panic this caused when we reached Holyhead, and performed an inspection of the boat to ensure that everything was fine. It resulted in one of my crew climbing down into the port locker, and under the cockpit sole to take a look at the back of the engine – a non-trivial thing to do, and something I can’t do with my 191 cm frame.

Anyway, the oil has been sitting in the bilge for a while, with some water and soap. Finally got around to ordering some oil-absorbent cloths the other day, and got the bulk of the oil out of the bilge, and then today I cleaned the rest out. To do so, I had to get the jubilee clip on the bilge hose loose (thank goodness for ratcheting hex drivers), then unscrew the two screws that hold the L-shaped bit of fibreglass in place. With a bit of muttering, the whole assembly came up, covered in muck and oil. Dismantled the bilge pump itself, cleaned it up, and replaced a zip tie with a shortened screw. Wiped the L-shaped bit of fibreglass too, and then used the absorbent cloth and a regular cloth to clean out the bilge. Some more washing with soapy water, and the bilge is clean again (and mostly dry – the pump doesn’t pick up all of the water).

Getting the bilge pump out