THE STRUGGLE IS REAL – by Captain GEPH (“Generally Entertaining, but Probably Hazardous”)

We don’t own our boats; our boats own us.

With that in mind, it has long been said that boat maintenance is the torment of vessel servitude. It is burdensome, time-consuming, mentally exhausting, physically grueling, painful at times, usually expensive, and defyingly soul-sucking.

Add the insults of “mandatory”, “routine”, and “compliance” … well then, it becomes a sadistic ritual that often sends even the saltiest of seasoned Captains (and crew) into a whirlpool of procrastination, apprehension, anxiety with a directed animosity towards the tyranny of evil OEM overlords and their mandates. 

Don’t believe me? Just look at Noah… He grounded his vessel on a mountaintop after a mere 6 months of performing “vessel maintenance”.

We, as a meek, feeble people, reluctantly endure the masochistic plight of “vessel maintenance” under the guise of receiving reward in the form of entertainment, recreation, or commerce.

One of the most loathsome and frequent tasks of “mandatory routine boat maintenance” is the “fresh water flush” of our vessels raw water networks. This essential requisite can strike contempt in our otherwise competent, compliant nautical souls, as we ponder performing the task ourselves… or charging this contentious operation to a greenhorn plebe, deemed sacrificial to the cause of “compliance”.

For those of us who must flush outboard engines, it’s not just the burden of lost time while the others have since departed for other “enjoyable activities”, or all the water you’ve wasted while turning your meter into a “grass fan”… 


it’s the exasperated embarrassment of disembarking our boat in the search of, retrieval, and connecting there of some sun faded, half-rotten, non-gasketed, leaking, lime green, dollar-store garden hose that was bought by some grandma gardener in the 80’s, and who’s grandson “borrowed” and forgot at the dock during the 90’s where it has resided since, as the preferred persecuting method of “fresh water flushing” our boats, in the name of “OEM compliance”.

Don’t even get me started about the perils of “fresh water flushing” inboard engines, generators, stabilizers, water makers, etc.  The insult and injury to our personal psyche runs even deeper with inboard systems… dragging out that aforementioned lime green garden hose, choreographing and composing with others for engine shutdown, direction and termination of water flow, opening/closing/reopening valves, opening and resealing sea strainers, knuckle busting on machinery, eventually swamping the bilge and showcasing our advanced “blue vocabulary” while trying to be “quick and clean” about it all.

Yet… For all the self-righteous indignation and blustering, in the end, we ALL bend our knees at the altar of “Boat Maintenance” in search of the peace of mind that is afforded with the fidelity of the “Fresh Water Flush”. 

We inherently know if we don’t maintain our vessels mechanical systems, they will not perform well or even fail, leaving us stranded or sleeping with the fishes.

Yes, my friends, the “routine freshwater flush” has the power to vanquish the pride of boat ownership, as well as emasculate the operator.

We can empathize with why it sometimes gets overlooked, or completely forgotten about until “next time”. 

As boat owners, crew, and engineers, we have often wished (dare I say fantasized) for a “Magic Button” we could just press and **POOF** Flushing Maintenance is done and we’re at “Happy Hour” enjoying our favorite cocktail, rather than grinding through an unhappy hour of an engine room, contorted as we pinball off machinery, or hanging off a stern while involuntarily flogging ourselves with the recalcitrant lime green garden hose…

There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon…

USCG Master Captain Jeff Holzer 

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