The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a Safety Alert on the danger of potentially hidden deterioration in bilge pump and piping systems.
A recent inspection of an amphibious DUKW “duck” tour fleet revealed that one of the vessels had steel bilge piping that was “severely wasted and holed.” The majority of the remainder of the vessels had similar damage to varying degrees. The effect of the deterioration was that water back-flowed into the bilge.
This type of damage, which can continue unnoticed because the piping is hidden, can result in failure of the bilge pumping system, an “extremely unsafe condition,” the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard urges operators and inspectors to check bilge piping systems for deterioration, including piping, hoses, clamps and supports. Make repairs as needed. This should become a routine part of the inspection process. The Coast Guard recommends installing an access plate on the inner panel of the area of the discharge piping. Coast Guard inspectors should be informed if any modifications may require regulatory oversight.
Below is the entire Coast Guard Safety Alert: