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Marine Expo

November 22, 2010

Sterling Marine visited the Pacific Marine Expo this last weekend.   We are always amazed at how much we learn when we attend.   From the new products, to the various suppliers, to the new rules and regulations that are advertised here.   We had a wonderful time.

After the Expo Sterling Marine employees headed back to the shop to prepare for the next day.  Sterling Marine was assisting Old Tacoma Marine Inc. to check out a ferry-boat near Tacoma.    OTM has been asked to “pick-up” a few engine parts off the old WA DOT Ferry.   Sterling Marine operates a 14 foot Boston whaler which is perfect for this type of work as we can get there fast and get back fast.   Turns out though the “boat ramp” we were instructed to use was more of a beach.  This beach had 3-4 foot swells breaking onto it.   We figured, let’s try.    The boat launched fine with only a few swells crashing over the stern however the real issue arose when we tried to get the truck out of the beach/ramp.   The truck was stuck and with the tide coming in we were scrambling to get it un-stuck.  Fortunately a nice man and his truck came over and pulled us out.

After we hit the water, it was only a 10-15 minute cruise to the Island, once there though we realized that a much larger boat would be needed on a much calmer day in order to pick up the engine parts.    In a way the day was a success as we now know what tools we will need in order to complete the job.

In other news Sterling Marine is preparing to build a locker in the shop adjacent to our office space.   We plan to make the bottom level for dive gear (tanks, suits, weights, etc.) with a small bench to work on our gear.  The upper level will be almost to standing height and will be primarily used to stock parts, store line, etc.

This week Sterling Marine will be visiting Bainbridge Island.  We have one bottom survey to conduct in Blakely Harbor and one zinc maintenance and hull cleaning job near Battle Point.  Look for our zippy Boston Whaler this Wednesday mid-day!

Sterling Marine: A Seattle Based diving and marine services business providing sterling quality services to the USCG, Yacht Owners, City/state agencies, and more!

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Sterling Marine Update!

November 8, 2010

It has been a long time since we have updated the SMS blog.   Since our last update Sterling Marine has continued providing underwater maintenance to local yacht owners as well as branching out to provide other services.    The summer was pretty slow, but business has picked back up for the winter season?   (we don’t understand either).

A few weeks ago the City of Duvall called SMS asking us to provide an estimate on the inspection of two outlet pipes located in the Snoqualmie River.   SMS divers Sterling Hines-Elzinga and Adrian Lipp drove down to meet the plant operations manager and take a look at the area.   We went down to the river, and according to the operations manager the river was in ideal conditions.  It was low, great visibility, and wasn’t moving to fast.   This week the river is about ten feet higher, moving about eight times as fast and is pretty muddy.   We now have to wait and hope for the conditions to improve.   To follow the rivers stats click the link:

Sterling Marine has been working with another client on Bainbridge Island to help them apply for the necessary permits to install a mooring system in front of their property.  As usual, the state and city officials are very hard to work with.   We had to make two trips to Bainbridge Island in order to apply for the cities permit.   But after all was said and done I will most likely never have to go there again (until next time).

Our 13 foot launch we use to dive out of will be in Karpenske Marine Carpentry’s shop over the winter getting an overhaul.   Since I bought it about four years ago the wiring has been a complete mess and half the time our electronics and lights don’t work…  So KMC will be helping us re-wire, re-paint the bottom, and fix some loose railing around the boat.

Sterling Marine officials have also been talking to some local marine electricians and boat owners to really get to know how zincs react in the local waters.  SMS is trying to be more than “the diver who replaces your zincs and scrubs your hull”.  We want to be able to educate the vessel owner and help provide them with the best product that help keep their boat running.

Some key tips:

– Dont over zinc.  Over zincing can make your zincs do the opposite of what they are supposed to do. In other words the metals you are trying to protect by adding more zinc are more likely to corrode more if you over zinc.

– In fresh water Magnesium zincs are more suited to help prevent corrosion then standard zincs you would use in salt water.    When in doubt refer to your engine manual and manufactures notes to see if they suggest anything.

We have also talked to some local ship yards, yacht owners, and captains about the science behind a clean prop.   You would be amazed at how helpful a prop and hull cleaning can be.  A dirty prop or an un-fare prop can actually damage your prop.  An un-fare edge can create tiny bubbles while running and literally pull the prop away from its-self.    Some Captains and yacht owners also say they can feel the difference between a prop that has been freshly cleaned and a prop with barnacles and muscles on it.    The difference is huge!  Boat speed and maneuverability can be affected by a dirty prop.

Sterling Marine will also be attending the Pacific Marine Expo!  All the local marine companies will be attending and some will have booths.   All though it is geared toward the commercial people, non business’s are allowed and welcome!   If you would like to attend it is on the weekend of November 18-20.

Tugboat Maris Pearl!

June 17, 2010

Sterling Marine has been contracted to help with the repair of an old Navy tugboat located in Ballard.    The vessel is scheduled to leave seattle on June 26th and about a week ago the owners learned they needed to pull three Cylinder Heads due to coolant water leaking into the crank pit.    Old Tacoma Marine Inc. is the company in charge but since the project is so large and will take place in such a small amount of time he needed our help.    The vessel was moved from its mooring in Shilshole to Ballard Oil Company where we can drive trucks on the dock and fuel the boat up change the oil.      These tasks may seem small, but when comes down to it, this is a huge job.   Un like a car, we can’t just drain the oil and put new oil in.    The vessel holds over 2oo gallons of oil which needs to be pumped out.   8 oil filters, weighing about 20 pounds each are then removed and the tank where they are held is meticulously cleaned.   The crank pit is then meticulously cleaned with hands!  People get inside the engine to clean out the crank pit with solvent and paper towels.      After all this is said and done, a week is down the drain.  Obviously there is more to it than I just wrote, but you get the idea.     5000 gallons of diesel fuel are also being pumped on board.    Although this may sound like a lot, it really isnt.   This fuel should last a year or more with heavy cruising.  The Maris Pearl is a very efficient 100 foot boat.   The main engine only burns about 10 gallons per hour at 10 knots and 200 rpm with about 1000 HP.

The new head being lifted into the boat

The Engine!

On Top of the engine work, Sterling Marine was contracted to paint the entire boat.   All 100 feet of hull and deck needs to be painted by the end of next week.   We will have more photos of the new paint soon!

A Day on Puget Sound.

June 6, 2010

Today Sterling Marine took a trip across Puget Sound to Southworth, WA where we met up with Alpha Marine Installations to install some helix anchors.    Alpha Marine is the North West’s authorized dealer and installer of the proven Helix Mooring Systems.      We are happy to be partnering with each other to get some extra work for both of us.   We installed two systems near Bremerton and then took a cruise around the peninsula to service another system.     These Helix anchors are big, 6-10 foot tall screws.     In order to screw them into the ground, we must use the power of hydraulics!    On board we had a 16 h.p., 2500 psi hydraulic power pack to power our hydraulic power head.     With this machinery we can have a 8 foot system installed in minutes.     Alpha Marine has been in business for about 15+ years and over that amount of time they have perfected their systems to make the last longer.     Everything from the type of thimble used to the brand of the swivel has been perfected by Alpha Marine.

Jim Arnold and Duane black lowering the Helix

Anchor and hydraulic power pack into the water.

Jim Arnold preparing the anchor rode.

Helix Anchors, for those of you that don’t know, are a revolutionary anchoring system that is used around the world for commercial and residential purposes.    These anchors are basically a large steel auger screws that are screwed into the sea floor.    Unlike a dead weight anchor, these systems do not cover any marine life on the sea floor, leaving a small footprint on the ecosystem.    They also do not drag around like conventional dead weight anchors, thus leaving surrounding marine life in tact.   On top of all that, these anchors have been tested and proven to hold a significant larger load than dead weight anchors.    For more information on their holding power you can visit our website.

The Government….

May 24, 2010

Sterling Marine had an eventful job this week.    We dove on the USCGC Sea Devil.   It was located in Elliott Bay at the time.     Although we had been planning this for almost a month, there were still a few surprises the day before, as well as the day of.      It was a mad rush to complete the paperwork and acquire all the requirements for the Coast Guard.     Generally, you would do a small amount of paperwork and then do the job, but with the government its an entire different story!    We had to fill out multiple items.    On site we found that we were unable to have both of our divers in the water.    Due to new Coast guard regulations, you must have a standby diver on the surface which, for us, tripled our time on site.     Cleaning an 87 foot boat is no easy task, and it especially isn’t easy with only one diver.    We also ran into some problems with removing the old zincs, as they were stuck in there holding plate.    Although it was a very long day, we got the work done and the client was happy!   A success!! Pictures from this dive will be ready mid next week, after our inspection report is done!  stay tuned.

We also finished up the site survey for a client on Bainbridge Island.  We are installing a Helix Mooring system sometime soon and wanted to know the bottom compositions.

Vessel Malfunction

May 10, 2010


Our dive boat had more than a few issues starting for our trip across the sound to Bainbridge.     We had it in the water and loaded and it refused to start for us.   After troubleshooting we realized it needed more than we could give it with a hammer and pry bar so be aborted that mission and headed for downtown Seattle where we caught a ferry!   More about our job on Bainbridge below.

This past weekend we had a good amount of work.    First on the list was the site survey out at Bainbridge Island.    Sterling Marine’s team was chosen to design and install a custom permanent mooring system.    In order to choose the best system we surveyed the land.     We now have enough information to complete the permitting process as well as design a few different systems for the owner to choose from.      Our ideas have come down too a helix mooring system or a dead weight system.    We plan to take our boat out this coming week and take a few more measurements and soundings to help us with the permitting.   We will also have some still photos from our video inspection on our next blog post.

Sterling Marine also did some hull cleaning for some of the duck dodge vessels.    Duck Dodge is starting soon and a lot of the more serious racers are wanting a clean bottom!

In the coming weeks we have the Coast Guard survey, site survey, and survey at the CWB shop.

Photos from our diving this weekend!

Duane Black preparing to survey the sea floor.

Another One!

May 3, 2010

Weekend News:

On Saturday SMS dove at the CWB to find some anchors that had been lost (cut by a tow boat company) when the docks were towed away for opening day.    Some how the tugboat company in charge managed to loose three anchors as well as TOW one of them away?    How could someone manage to tow 200 feet of dock away with four anchors attached?   Any how, we were called down to find them and mark them with a surface buoy.   SMS reported to the site on Saturday, May 1 around 10am.    After getting almost half of our gear loaded into the boat they provided us with, Duane realized that he had left his weight belt at home.     This may seem like no big deal, but without weights, a diver has no way of sinking down.

An hour later Duane shows up with all the proper equipment and we head out to the working spot.     First down we find a line just sitting in the mud and trace it back to an ecology block (cement anchor).    We immediately surface and grab a line and float to mark it with.    Next we start a search pattern to try and find the other two anchors out there.     Somehow we managed to fin them despite the fact they were about one foot beneath the sea floor.   With zero visibility and our hands feet deep in the mud, we managed to tie the lines to the eco-blocks.

All was fine until, right as we were boarding the work boat, Sterling dropped his mask.     Generally we would have gone back to get it, but because we were just on the bottom working the mud had been kicked up and we were unable to recover it.   Sometime this week we will return to find it.


As we have stated in our earlier blogs we have a site survey at Bainbridge Island this week.    We will be using the T/V Isswatt to transport our gear to the site.   More on this after we conduct the survey.

Also, on May 20th we have the video inspection of the USCGC Sea Devil.  More on this after the 20th.

This is a picture from one our fun dives a while ago!