Dripping time bomb

I’m deviating from the normal to tell a true tale of a boater more in story format.

He left his boat safely, he thought, on its mooring for a few weeks. He had done a final check, filled up with water and fuel and all was well below decks. Unbeknown to him in the engine room the start of a dangerous build up had just begun. Drip after slow drip, diesel was leaking into the bottom of the engine. Day after day, each drip added to the level of oil, diluting it, making it more flammable. Higher and higher it came until after a few weeks it began to overflow and drip into the engine drip tray. And still it came. No one to hear it, no one to see, not until the engine was started. What happens in that situation is the mixture is shot up into the pistons like so much extra fuel and the engine revs like mad. It goes faster and faster. The only way of stopping it is to block off the air supply, by the time you can do that the engine has usually blown up.

Anyway back to my tale of this poor boater. There were a couple of reasonable days of weather so he decided to go for a cruise. All kitted up to go he arrived at the boat and realised there were a couple of maintenance jobs to do with the paintwork and he wanted to do a bit of electrical work on his radio. He wondered if there was enough life left in the batteries and thought he could run the engine for a bit to charge them up. But, remembering that it takes about 20 minutes running to put back the starting energy, he decided against it.

The following day he came down to the boat again, this time it crossed his mind that he had not started it for a few weeks and thought he might run it for a bit, even take it out of the marina, but time was getting on, so he’d do it tomorrow, in fact he was taking her out for a cruise.

Getting home he checked his email and found a license reminder. Trying to renew on line he discovered that his boat safety certificate (like an MOT) had expired and he had to get the boat inspected before cruising again. This gave extra impetus to tidying the DIY jobs on the boat.

So down he went to give it a check over before taking her out. Perhaps he’d run her up first just to warm her up a bit, but then again, he decided to get on with the work.

On lifting the engine cover he heard a drip, drip, drip, and didn’t start her up.

Yes this story has an anticlimax, I haven’t blown up my engine, yet!

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