Structural Inspection and Assessment

Clarendon Plantation Uses DEEP SOUTH DIVERS

We first heard about BIG WILLIE, Clarendon Plantation's pushboat and landing barge combination when we got a telephone call from the plantation's manager. He explained that the pushboat's engine overheated easily, and that she needed to have her keel cooler defouled. We did a fantastic job, of course, and in fact cleaned the entire pushboat's bottom... To include the propellers ("wheels"), her triple rudders, and unique keel cooler. In fact, we weren't even sure that what we were looking at was a keel cooler, since it was so unique. It didn't matter, of course - we simply cleaned everything and made her "slick and quick" as we say in the business.

Less than a week later, the manager called us again and explained that while our cleaning had helped her be smoother and more efficient, and even dropped her engine temperature by about ten degrees, it didn't completely solve her overheating problem. That's when we began to look further into the problem.

It seemed that the ten year old BIG WILLIE was already on her third engine! The previous two had actually overheated to the point of no repair, and each engine replacement had cost the plantation upwards of ten or twenty thousand dollars. Thus, we coordinated with the plantation to bring in a diesel expert to consider repairs or alterations to the boat - for example, if the coolant was blocked within the keel cooler, if the pumps were insufficient at pumping coolant, if the barge was actually blocking water from properly flowing over the coolers, or even if the cooler design itself was flawed and unable to sufficiently cool the boat's massive motor.

In order to communicate the design of the unique and custom box-steel cooler (most keel coolers are made of copper tubing), an underwater sketch was made of the vessel's hull. The local low-visibility waters made this a particularly unique challenge, and our divers had to view and sketch one square foot of the boat at a time. Underwater cameras were useless in the muck.

Below is a compilation of the sketches, complete with measurements, provided to the diesel expert, the plantation manager, and ourselves:

Eventually, the BIG WILLIE was hauled out and additional "wings" were added to the cooler on each side so that it no longer resembled a "W" in shape but instead an "MM" in shape. This additional cooler square footage was exactly what she needed... Today she runs cool and dry and powerfully, with the overheating problem permenantly solved. This could not have been accomplished without the inch-by-inch study and sketch performed by DEEP SOUTH DIVERS!

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