I probably shouldn’t write about some of the more creative “jury rigs” I have seen, so don’t get any ideas.

The first challenge was selecting just a few from the encyclopedia of onboard jury rigs I have seen, especially on towing vessels. I still have nightmares. So many jury rigs but so few words allowed in my blog.

So, in no particular order, here you go:

  • There was the general alarm in the wheelhouse, and not exactly the standard “contact maker” general alarm. I noticed a red electrical switch wall plate that looked exactly like the “emergency run” switches on your heat pump or furnace at home. It had the word “emergency” labeled on it so I guess the thinking was it would be an OK alarm. I couldn’t help myself so I pulled off the red wall plate switch cover. Sure enough it was a plain old wall switch from the dollar store. Inspecting a bit closer the installer had spared no expense in the wiring. It was the clear plastic covered wire from your at-home table lamp. I guess when you have to sound the alarm, any old general alarm will do — NOT!
  • Then there were the two jury-rigged running lights, absolute classics. The towing lights were mayonnaise jars carefully silicone-sealed over a household lamp socket. I guess it was the same lamp the general alarm guy took the wiring from. Don’t forget the porch light bulb. I’d guess changing bulbs might take a little extra effort. At least the label was off the jar, but I can see how he could have made it a 20-point light with the correct placement of the mayonnaise label. We’ll come back to the other navigation light madness in a moment.
  • And then there was a clever and versatile jury-rigging that used emergency wiring to get power from one corner of the engine room across the engines to the other corner. No fuse needed. Several sets of jumper cables were hooked up end to end by their alligator clips. Just add more jumper cables to make it as long as you needed, I guess. Zip ties suspended it nicely. I guess extension cords were too simple compared to the fun of jumper cables. No problem giving the crew change vehicle a jump-start.
  • Back to the running lights, part two. This boat did have the red and green sidelights and they were even on the correct sides. But rather than buying a set of lights this creative individual preferred the homemade version. You’d be amazed at what a pair of sports water bottles and flashlights can do for you. The starboard light was a green sports bottle and the port light was a red sports bottle. At sunset, like the rules of the road say, he illuminated the running lights by turning on the flashlights in each one of them. They were duct taped in the bow. I’m not sure if the proper arcs of visibility were showing, but at least they were red and green.
  • Finally, there was the remote activation station for the CO2 in the engine room. Besides a local station, a remote station, usually topside, is required. Combining the two would be brilliant I suppose. I noticed a pipe cap on a good-sized pipe stub right next to the galley vent fan. When I asked about its purpose the guy cooking enthusiastically showed me that in case of fire in the engine room he’d just unscrew the cap and reach his arm in and grab the pull pin on the bottles. Both remote and local. I hope he had a long sleeved shirt on or the arm hairs will take a hit.

There are so many other jury rigs we’ve all seen. Send me some of your finest for my “Jury Rigs Part 2” blog. The above jury rigs were creative and entertaining. You just can’t make up stuff like this. Sail safe.

A collection of stories from guest authors.