This evening my Marelon seacock failed

There’s no greater feeling than the sinking feeling you get when your seacock fails, and your boat is effectively sinking.

Around 11pm on a Bank Holiday Monday I decided to unblock my sink. The sink doesn’t block very often, but I thought I’d sort it out and have an early night before the week ahead.

The handle of my Marelon seacock came off in my hand simply by turning it from the closed position to the open position. Water started coming out through where the handle used to be. I tried getting the handle back on, but it wasn’t happening.

So I stood there for about 5 minutes scratching my head, watching water flow out of the seacock into the bilges. This was not the ideal end to my Bank Holiday weekend I thought to myself.

The bilge pump was handling the water so I reached out to Oliver for ideas. From the BVI’s the suggestion was to unscrew the seacock and put a bung in it. I was reluctant to open up the seacock as the rate of water coming in was manageable at the time, and didn’t wish to make the situation worse.

After about 15 minutes scratching my head, Dan my neighbour came home.

“Hey Dan, good evening?” I said

“Hm not great? you?” Dan replied

“Come over and have a look”

“Ahh you’re doing some DIY”

“Not exactly”

“What’s that noise dude? oh fuck….FUCK….FUCK DUDE!”

“Yeeeeeeeh I’m sinking…slowly”

I had an idea that if I could get some angled long nose pliers in where the handle used to be (which wasn’t visible as it was facing up against the side of the cupboard),  I might be able to turn whatever the handle used to turn.

Fortunately Dan, a man of many tools was able to supply just the thing. I shoved the pliers around the back and gripped something, gave it a twist and the flow almost stopped, kept turning and out poured the water again. I was effectively turning the ball inside the seacock around and around, on the second rotation I got it into place and the flow of water pretty much stopped.


Next day I’m on to Force4, who advise me to speak to Aquafax. Aquafax’s spoke to Forespar who said they had never heard of such a failure, and it must have been to do with outside influences.

Forespar need to start using Google as I found such failures…

The seacock by the way was less than 2 years old, inside, and protected.

I was offered a replacement out of goodwill which I begrudgingly took. All my other seacocks are Marelon so on the basis that if I wasn’t happy getting a like for like replacement then I should in theory take all the other seacocks out.

I asked if they wanted the failed seacock to examine, they didn’t seem to bothered, so I didn’t waste my money on postage.

Not willing to leave the boat, I worked from home for a week and then took it to Ipswich for a early lift-out.

The effort to change an already installed Marelon seacock for another one is significantly harder than changing a normal DZR, because the white mushroom skin fitting that screws into the Marelon seacock is gunked up with sikaflex on install, so you’ll never be able to undo the seacock once threaded on, unlike a normal bronze seacock which unscrews with ease.

I no longer champion Marelon seacocks I’m afraid from this experience.



Author: Tim Butler

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