Bio Deisel

Bio diesel can be used in Beta Marine (Kubota) engines with certain caveats. 

Definition: Biodiesel is produced in pure form (100% biodiesel), which is referred to as B100 or Neat Diesel and may be blended with petroleum-based fuel in various percentages. For example: A blend containing 5% biodiesel and 95% petroleum-based fuel is referred to as a B5 blend.

Recommendations regarding the use of Biodiesel

Enhanced care must be taken, even if the biodiesel meets the said standards above:
Biodiesel can attract moisture and may contain higher water content than conventional diesel fuels.
Keep storage and vehicle tanks as full as possible to prevent moisture from collecting inside. Ensure all tank caps and covers are installed properly to prevent water from entering.

Shorter maintenance intervals, such as cleaning the fuel system and replacing fuel filters and lines, might be required.
Kubota strongly recommends using a water separator.

Follow the standard Kubota oil change interval for the given engine along with checking the oil level daily prior to starting the engine. Extended oil change interval beyond the standard interval can cause engine damage Cold weather conditions can lead to fuel system plugging, hard starting and other possible unknown failures. Plugging can include both fuel filters and fuel lines. Microbial contamination and growth can cause corrosion in the fuel system and premature plugging of the fuel filter.

Degradation of the fuel in the supply chain or in the vehicle:
– Accelerated by the presence of oxygen, water, heat and impurities
– Biodiesel should not be stored for more than 3-months.
– Prior to engine storage, the engine should be flushed for a minimum of 30-minutes with petroleum-based diesel fuel.

If Biodiesel is spilled onto painted surfaces, it should be cleaned off immediately to prevent damage to the painted surface.
Biodiesel, by definition is biodegradable, so the higher the concentration of biodiesel in a fuel blend, the more susceptible the fuel is to degradation and engine performance and fuel consumption might be affected. Concentrations of no more than 5% biodiesel are approved to minimize potential corrosion on aluminum, zinc material along with rubber and plastic parts.

What you didn’t know about barnacles

Below is some interesting information about barnacles I found while doing some research. We’ve had a problem with them here in W. FL. For the most part they love our prTypical barnacle cluster exampleop, prop shaft, and strut.


  • Charles Darwin was the first to study them in 1851
  • They have the longest penis in ratio to their size of all animals
  • They only have one eye (no, not the one mentioned above!)
  • They have six pairs of legs
  • They’ve been around for 400-500 million years
  • They grow fast, in patches, for survival
  • They only attach themselves to hard surfaces
  • They attach head first to your boat
  • They go through two larval stages before they set up camp on your hull
  • Color plays a roll on where they decide to attach themselves
  • They will grow on top of each other to kill out other barnacles
  • They’re growth rate is closely linked to water tempature


  • They could sink that abandoned boat in your marina that’s home to rats


  • They can weigh down your boat thousands of pounds
  • They will slow you down
  • They’re unsightly
  • They’re sharp
  • They’re an invasive species
  • They don’t come off easily
  • They can cost you a lot of time and/or money
  • There’s no miracle science cure to keep them off your baby
  • They live in shallow intertidal zones, like marinas

Installing solar panels on a US 30

Solar panels

Since our marina has been rebuilding the docks over the last few months, there has been no shore power. This gave me the “justification” for this project. Here’s what it took…

2 20 Watt 1.2 AMP solar panels w/controller $240 each
2 Sunsei solar grips $50 each
Marine grade wire $30
Though deck $13
Connectors, shrink wrap etc. $20
115 AMP hour house battery upgrade $60
Solar powered vent fan $150
Dremel cutting bits $20
Total $875ish

Not dropping anything expensive overboard while doing the install, priceless.

Solar fan

The hardest part was finding light weight solar panels and a way to mount them out of the way.

Automatic bilge pump review

We purchased one of these new type of “computerized” 500gph bilge pumps today (West Marine $50) and installed it. With hose and back flow prenveters etc the total was about $100. I was skeptical about not having a float, but it works great. We also run a Attwood automatic for the high water pump that works well, but I was

impressed with this unit because it was small enough to fit between the keel bolts and sucks the water down to about 1/2 inch. I tested it a couple of times by filling the bilge

with a hose. This install was to replace our faulty diaphragm pump and it works well. This, the shallow water pump runs off the dual house batteries (on 2 solar panels) and the high water is wired into battery two, the start battery for redundancy.


Pump update, so far so good (2 years later) . This little pump has worked day in and day out pumping out the dehumidifier’s offering that trickle via drain hose into the bilge.

Onboard refrigeration that works!

I installed our new Engel fridge/freezer today and tested it out. The advertisement says that it pulls .6 amps on average. That was the main selling point because I guestimate our solar panels put out just under 2 amps after being broken in. With all the normal stuff running stereo/VHF/Depth Sounder/Chart plotter we usually use just over 1 amp. I had it running on A/C and switched it over to D/C battery power and closely monitored the amp meter (the cabin temp was 91 degrees). It was pulling about 2 amps for the initial cool down to about 34 degrees. This sounds about right, because it shouldn’t have to run continually after that. I’ll update with a longer term test later. BTW it cost about $600 and $20 for wiring stuff. Our house battery consists of two 115 amp/hr batteries in parallel.

Cap’n Chris – We have an Engel. I think it is 45 quart- the medium-sized one- same one Bob Bitchin has. It kicks ass! Relatively inexpensive, and not an energy hog on the two house batteries. Two 20W solar panels keep the batteries topped off at sea. The best part- it runs on shore power and automatically switches to 12V when shore power is turned off. We had been toying with the fridge option for a while, and when you have a small boat, space is valuable. So, since the quarter berth isn’t used for much, other than storage, we measured and bought the max size that would fit. She freezes really well, which is nice for a long voyage where you need to make ice.

-UPDATE 2022

Still works!

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Key West Attempt

Here’s a short video of our attempt to make Key West from Tampa (MacDill AFB Marina). We hit a high-pressure system followed by back-to-back cold fronts and the seas got nasty. We made it as far as Port Charlotte FL before we turned back (we were making slow progress and breaking a wave over the bow every 8-10 seconds) because the weather forecast wasn’t good for the next 7-10 days. After that we tool a leisurely two days to motor back up the ICW. There was something like 16 draw bridges and 3 fixed on the way back. We didn’t get any footage of the bad weather because it was at night and we were tired. Apr 2008. When we got to our home marina, we slid her back in the slip and drove down to Key West for 6 days

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