24 August 2015

Who Knew PowerPoint Would Be So Handy On A Boat

When I quit corporate la-la land, I left behind high heels, clothes that need to be ironed and endless meetings about budget allocations and headcount. I also thought I left behind PowerPoint presentations. I figured when we moved onto our boat, the ability to create diagrams, insert pictures, add labels and format text boxes really wouldn't be all that important of a skill. Tying a bowline - important. Making a PowerPoint presentation - not a high priority.

Turns out I was wrong. All those years working away in a cubicle in my own personal Dilbert cartoon have finally paid off. Now, I find myself using PowerPoint to document all the systems on our boat. I'm as surpised as you are.

They aren't the prettiest presentations I've ever made and, trust me, I used to make some pretty slick presentations in my time. But they're functional. And when you live on a boat, you quickly learn that function is far more important than aesthetics. After all, wouldn't you rather have a boat that floats, rather than one that has fashionable throw pillows?

One of the things I've slowly been doing over the past couple of months is getting to know our boat and figuring out what everything is. Although Tickety Boo came with a Moody 346 manual, it's almost 30 years old and doesn't reflect the changes that have been made to the boat since then or provide all that much detail.

One of the fun things about boats is that they have all these tiny little spaces hidden away beneath the floor, in cabinets, under the bed  and settees. Everytime you open one you're presented with exciting little mysteries to solve. Like what the heck is that pipe for? Where does that wire go to? Where is the water in my bilge coming from? 

Here's what you see when you lift up the floor in our saloon (aka living room). Once I opened it, I sat down and stared at it for hours, utterly confused by the the various hoses, pipes and contraptions. Okay, maybe I didn't stare at it for hours - my attention span certainly isn't that long. 

Eventually, I traced the various pipes and hoses to other parts of the boat and identified the various bilge pump equipment. Then I made a handy-dandy PowerPoint diagram so that we would have a visual reference going forward.  

We've also got lots of mysterious vents. Well, mysterious to me. Scott knew what they were. Turns out they're called "breathers" and provide ventilation for our water tanks, holding tank and propane locker. We didn't have these on our last boat. There's days that I miss our old boat - it hardly had any systems at all and was much simpler to understand. Then I remember it was so small that Scott had to sleep on the settee because there wasn't room for both of us in the v-berth. There's something to be said for larger, more complex boats.

I've also been making diagrams of our thru-holes and seacocks. I get a little unnerved by the fact that we have holes above and below our water line, but what can you do? The water from your sinks needs to go somewhere. Same for the waste from your blackwater tank. And, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, you actually need a way to get saltwater onto the boat for the engine, to flush the toilet and to wash off the anchor.

As frustrating as it can be to figure everything out at times, it sure beats wearing clothes that need to be ironed and sitting in an office everyday!

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  1. Well, can't say that I miss Powerpoint, but use Excel all the time. It is handy for inventory...when you wonder where in all those nooks and crannies you might have stored something. Spreadsheet has a list of items (provisions, spares, etc.) and quantity of each item in each identified storage location. Guess I'm lucky on the diagram front...an ex charter boat tends to have decent pictures in the manual for important things...like getting the renters to keep the boat from sinking. ;-)


    1. You are lucky to have a decent manual. Our boat is chock full of mysteries that we're having to document ourselves. I still use Excel quite a bit for budget stuff, to do lists, inventories etc. I guess you can get away from the office, but you can never quite get away from MS Office.

  2. "My own personal Dilbert cartoon" - ha! What a great idea for documenting boat things. It all looks very intimidating to me, but your diagrams make it seem like a high school physics lesson - nice :)

    1. There were definitely days in corporate la-la land where I expected Dilbert to come walking around the corner because it felt like I was living in one of his cartoons :-)

  3. Makes me feel really old. I had mine in a loose leaf notebook. Old skool

    1. Old school is definitely better much of the time! I'm not the best drawer, so if I used a notebook, I probably wouldn't be able to tell what anything was.


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