Monday, 16 February 2009

S O S - Scheduled Oil Samples

Well while John's away in Wales doing something or other in a tent he asked me to look after the blog. His exact words were . . . "perhaps you could do a few techy things?"

As it happens we've got a few techy things on this week.

The biggest part of my job is the planned maintenance for the Mersey. This varies in complexity from checking bulbs are working to oil changes on the engines. These days we don't just change the oil annually or every so many hours (as you would in your car). What we do is every 3 months I sample the oil from both engines (see above from the starboard engine) and send it off to Finnings ( The clever scientist people at Finnings then test the oil and carefully analyse the results. They test for water and fuel in the oil, different metals in the oil and the condition of the oil itself. By comparing the results to set standards and to previous results they can detect engine problems before the user notices them. Coolant in the oil for example is a good indicator that a head gasket is leaking, increased metal levels can show that bearings are wearing.

If Finnings recommend that the oil is changed then this is done as soon as possible. Once the engine has run for about 10 hours on the new oil another sample is taken. This then gives the new benchmark for that engine. By doing this we are able to extend the period between oil changes from annually to about 2 yearly. This means less oil and filters to buy and dispose of, good for the environment and good for our pocket too!

For those of you who remember their periodic table, here's a list of what they test for.

I've put our samples in the post, should have the results by the end of the week. Fingers crossed they should be OK.

In the mean time if anyone's got any "Techy" questions please feel free to ask away.



Mart said...

Clever stuff. Like blood tests but for a boat! lol

How much of what you do is governed by having to have the boat ready to respond to a shout? Do you liase with flanking stations to avoid both being VOR (or whatever the nautical equivalent is!) at the same time?

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
Do you use Synthetic or Mineral oil?
How often do you service the inshore boat?

Anonymous said...

Can you post a warning before reproducing parts of the periodic table in future? I've spent the last 20 years trying to forget it exists!

Only joking, I've never really thought about this side of the lifeboat before. Interesting ...

I'm also wondering why on earth anyone would want to be in a tent in February.

Anonymous said...

Hi all, thanks for the comments and the questions.

Yes Mart I guess it is like a blood test for a boat :o)

We are governed in what we can do at station. The basic rule is that so long as our flank stations are fully operational our boat can either be taken off service or put on restricted service. Repairs that can be done in a day are usually done at station and the boat is taken off service until the work is done. Most maintenance has little or no affect on the boat's availability. Even an oil change can be finished off pretty quickly if your pager suddenly goes off! If a boat needs a repair that will take longer than a day to do then a relief boat is normally brought to the station to cover.

Hi Peter

We use Mineral oil, BP VANELLUS C5 GLOBAL 15W-40 to be exact.

The engine on the inshore boat is inspected 6 monthly and serviced annually. It then goes away with the boat for refit every 2 years.

Hi Fee

Sorry about that :o) I was surprised how many I could still remember!

I had another look at John's email and he did actually say he was going to North Wales but nothing about accomodation. I bet he is in a tent though!