Going with the flow: drip loops

Everyone has to drill holes in bulkheads. On modern center consoles, the main reason is to run cables for electronics. Protecting the hole to prevent water intrusion is a classic rigging problem.

If you don’t care about removing the cable, you can seal the hole with caulk. If you want to be able to easily remove the cable later, the traditional way to protect the exit point is to attache a small, downward-facing clamshell cover, and add something called a “drip loop” (see picture below, left).

A drip loop is simply a downward curve in the cable just before it enters the bulkhead. Water splashed on, or running down the cable will naturally gravitate to the bottom of the loop and drip off, rather than run to the bulkhead hole and seep in. Simple, effective and definitely “low tech”. Admittedly, this was more important before we started using cable clams (see below), but you get the general idea.

Another variant of this is how we ran the cables for our VHF radio. When we first decided to mount our waterproof VHF on the side of our console, we ran the cables through a hole we drilled in the side bulkhead, and tried to use a Cable Clam to seal the hole.

But the cables were too bulky, and we never got a good seal. So we decided to take advantage of the air gap that was present on the rear edge of Toy Boat 2’s tilting console, and just routed the cables out and around the bottom back edge . This resulted in natural drip loops to keep any water on the cables out of the console (see picture below, right).

Going with the flow-the antenna cable drip loop

A drip loop for our VHF antenna

Going with the flow-radio cable drip loop

Using a drip loop on our radio cables

Going with the flow: rear-facing ice chests 

We use 25 quart ice chests as stern quarter seats. They’re working out the way we thought they would, but when first installed, we mounted them so that the lid openings faced forward. Seemed logical at the time, but since these ice chests did not have lid latches, the lids would blow open whenever the boat was towed over 30 mph.

Our first thought was to add stainless steel latches. But we do a lot of fly-fishing, and any type of latch attracts loose fly line like a magnet. Also, latches would be at just about the right height to gouge a shin if we fell against it.

The solution? We flipped the chests around so the openings faced the stern. The wind naturally blows the lids shut, and the rear-facing openings work just fine. Again – simple, and a natural “go with the flow” kind of thing.

Going with the flow-rear-facing ice chests eliminate the need for lid latches

Rear-facing ice chests don’t need latches to keep their lids closed