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  • Capt. Eric

The Sound of Silence

People imagine a boat at anchorage or remote dock is a very quiet and tranquil place. In many ways it is, but in others, a complex power boat like Enfin is never fully quiet. Actually, absence of any noise would probably alert me. When I sailed on large commercial ships, I had a number of total black-outs, and each time the crew would be woken up by the absence of noise, when all machinery stopped and the ship suddenly got completely silent. Within a couple minutes, everyone would be up in the hallways looking like zombies and shaking ourselves in gear to get the ship going again.

Keeping watch, and living on a boat are very sensory experiences. Sight, smells, sounds all contribute to knowing the boat.

Sounds tell you so much about your boat:

-The clunk of the ice dropping in the ice drawer, before the water pump kicks in for a short cycle as it refills the ice tray.

-The freezer or fridge compressor starting and stopping.

-The thermostats closing to trigger a demand for heat, often followed by the thump of the furnace flame starting up. A short while later, the local fan kicking in to circulate hot air in the requested zone.

-The water pump rhythm as water is being consumed on the boat. Slow when water is being measured, fast or uninterrupted when demand is higher. If the pump is running for no reason, you'll need to investigate.

-The double flush of the head.

-The whistling of wind in the rigging and mast, the creaking of the chain and snubber at anchor, all telling you how the boat is doing.

-The waves hitting the hull, and the boat's movements, letting you know if the anchor is holding.

-The dock lines and fenders creaking under load.

-The generator's humming and changes in pitch as various electrical loads come in.

-The bilge pump kicking in, and how often it does.

And so many more. Any change in sound, any unknown noise will absolutely get your attention. There is no such thing as true silence on a well running, safe boat.

Eventually, these small background sounds and noises are your peace and quiet, your normal, when you can sleep soundly and in safety.

However peaceful things look, sounds and noises are a good thing on a well running boat

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