FAQsHow can stainless steel rust?
Stainless steel is a name given to many different grades of material with varying degrees of resistance to rust. Key West Boats uses only the high grade of 316 or better S.S., but even this grade can rust under some conditions. Stainless is an active metal that will form its own protective layer called a pacification layer. This protective layer can be compromised by some solvents and abrasives leaving the metal subject to corrosion until the layer can be reformed. The pacification process itself requires oxygen which comes from contact with the air. Therefore if the metal is allowed to stay in constant contact with salt water the protective layer can be broken down and rust can begin. Abrasives and harsh chemicals should be avoided when cleaning your boat to protect the stainless parts along with a freshwater rinsing after use in salt water, but this brings up another possiblity. Some freshwater contains chemicals or minerals which can promote corrosion. In some parts of the country well water contains harmless minerals for human consumption but those same minerals can promote corrosion in the stainless parts on your boat. It may be necessary to install a filter in your water supply to protect your boat's hardware in these cases.
For a more complete explanation of Stainless Steel and its properties there are several websites on line to use for reference.
Why does my live well overflow?
All live wells in a Key West Boat are fed by an electric pump and drained by gravity. The pumps are often over sized to allow for rapid filling and this can and often does result in a higher fill rate than gravity can keep up with for drainage. The over flow most often happens when the boat is sitting at rest and the level of water in the live well is closer to the level of water outside of the boat. The difference in the water levels is part of what determines the rate of flow with regards to drainage. While on plane the difference in level is greater than when at rest so the overflow is most likely to occur at rest. It is not caused by the overflow outlet being under water at rest. The solution is to simply use the inlet valve inside the live well to control the flow into the live well to match the rate of flow out. Smaller pumps could be used of course to eliminate this needed adjustment but that would result in slower live well filling and the bigger pumps seem to last longer.
Why is my fuel gauge inaccurate on my boat?
Several issues affect the accuracy of a fuel gauge on a boat making it less accurate than on your automobile. First and most important, boats float. They tip side to side and pitch bow to stern sometimes with extreme angles compared to an automobile which stays fairly flat most of the time. The fuel in the tank runs back and forth seeking the low side dramatically affecting the float on the sender, which sends an erratic signal to the gauge to tell the operator how much fuel is in the tank. Because of this it has long been cautioned to not depend on a fuel gauge in a boat for anything more than a suggested indication of fuel level. They are notoriously inaccurate.
Next issue that has come about in the last few years is new EPA rules applying to marine fuel systems. Part of these requirements are for an air space in the tank to allow for expansion and contraction of the fuel without overflow. To maintain this air space there are a system of valves and floats that cut off the incoming fuel before the tank is full of fuel. Because of this air space the float on the fuel level sender cannot reach the top, and the gauge can never read full. It stops somewhere around 3/4 tank or slightly better. That takes getting used to but knowing this helps. It also reduces the useable fuel in the tank by some percentage, compared to the theoretical capacity of the tank based on empty volume. Complicating this situation is the fact that there are several suppliers/builders of marine fuel tanks supplying the industry, and they aren't all rating the EPA tank capacities the same way. Some give absolute theoretical volume, while others allow for the air space, but none of them rate the tanks at useable fuel. What this means is a 40 gallon tank will likely not provide exactly 40 gallons of useable fuel. Depending on the angle of the boat that useable fuel will change as well. As much as we'd like for them to be dependable and accurate, they aren't.
Glossary of Terms
AerateTo force air and oxygen into livewells to keep fish of bait alive. Also, to force air under the running surface of a hull.
aerator pumpA term usually used improperly. Literally it refers to a pump used to insert air into water thereby oxegenating the water for the purpose of keeping bait or fish alive. It is commonly used to refer to the pump used to inject water into a live well, which should be referred to as a live well pump.