Safety during fall boating

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Folks, there is a chill in the air. Leaves are starting to fall, and will shortly be turning color, there is a mad dash to get everything set for Halloween, and to quote one local DJ, &uot;pumpkin pie and hot apple cider are around the corner.&uot; I personally can’t wait. I am not a huge fan of winter, but fall is perfect. Is there any better weather to watch football? Don’t think so.

Fall is also a perfect time to enjoy recreational boating. There are a few additional challenges, but nothing beats being underway on a crisp day along the Nansemond or James River.

As I starting looking over topics for fall boating a few naturally came to mind, such as engine considerations for colder boating, which are different than summer boating. As I started to write my column on the importance of preheating the engine or maintaining minimum temperatures something immediately jumped out as something I want to re-enforce – namely a safety issue.

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As I did my research on the initial topic I went to one of my favorite Web sites, The Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety at As I began looking at different sections I noticed a safety alert that involved coolant heating so I decided to come to a personal &uot;all stop&uot; on my initial column idea, which I’ll cover next week and instead focus on a safety alert today.

According to the Coast Guard Safety Alert Section of the Boating Safety, site a current alert exists for a Webasto Coolant Heater. Since our attention is on fall boating it seemed this alert was a perfect one to highlight. The USCG Alert is straight and to the point: &uot;Webasto has uncovered a potential issue with the burner tube of the DBW 2010 coolant heater manufactured from November 2002 until Feb. 5, 2005 wherein the stainless steel walls of the burner tube, in some cases, is made out of material that is not within specification and in those cases could fail prematurely.

If such a failure occurs, the surface temperature of the exhaust tube exiting from the heater can increase and could potentially ignite combustible materials in or around the installation area of the heater resulting in a fire, which could cause personal injury.

Occupants may notice an increase in noise relating to such an occurrence and may observe heat related discoloration of components of the heater’s exhaust system.

If you are the owner of a DBW 2010 coolant heating system installed on your watercraft, Webasto urges you to contact your selling Dealer/ Distributor or Sure Marine at (206) 784-9903 to arrange to have the burner tube replaced.

Please note that the burner tube is also supplied as Webasto replacement / spare part no. 26553A and may have been fitted into your DBW 2010 during routine maintenance or repairs. Please contact us at 1-800-555-4518 with questions concerning this issue.

If you call, be sure to have the serial number of the heater.&uot;

Coolant heaters serve vital functions, especially in this day and age of higher gas prices. For example, a boater doesn’t need to ideal his or her engines for heat. Additionally, if you are alongside a pier, you don’t need a shore power connection for heating. In other words this piece of machinery gets the maximum possible use out of the heat that your engines are generating.

So, fall boaters, start thinking of what you need for fall boating, take a look at the safety alert put forth by the Coast Guard, until next week….boat safe…and boat smart!

Joe DiRenzo III is a retired Coast Guard Officer and former cutter Commanding Officer. Currently a Coast Guard civilian employee, he is a nationally recognized expert on port security and maritime terrorism issues. He has written boating columns for the Suffolk News-Herald for just under five years.