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Hose Clamp Smarts

Here’s a wild little suggestion for you. Think about designating a few hours during the upcoming weekend to tightening and otherwise addressing all or most of the hose clamps you have on board your boat. Sound like a make-work project? A silly thing to do? A waste of time?

Well, we say, “Not!”

Depending on a given clamp’s location, engine/transmission/propshaft vibration can slowly but surely (or sometimes not so slowly but just as surely) loosen it. Indeed, at this very moment, clamps mounted on your engine or engines are almost certainly loose if you do much cruising at all—and heck, they may be subtly leaking fuel, coolant, or oil into the bilge. Moreover, the undersides of clamps mounted on most or at least many of your on-board hoses have a tendency to gather condensate on the underside and corrode—and there’s really no way to get a handle on this unless you either employ a mirror or simply go ahead and loosen the clamp, rotate it so you can see it, and then either replace it or tighten it back up if you find it’s in good shape.

Now for two more related suggestions. If you’re like most boat owners, you have a variety of clamps on board. Some are of higher quality, some lower, some require a 3/8-inch nut driver for tightening/loosening, some require other nut driver sizes. So hey, instead of harboring such confusion, why not introduce a bit of uniformity so that, in the future, you can remember exactly what size nut driver you need to tighten all the clamps on board? And then, use said driver to do the job without having to back-track to your tool box every five minutes.

And oh, the second suggestion? If you need to change or replace a clamp this weekend, why not go with high quality as opposed to low? Going high will help you eventually achieve a state of affairs where fewer and fewer hose-clamp checkups are called for.