Onboard every yacht, the safety and well-being of the crew are of paramount importance. While stanchion base fittings may seem like a minor detail in the grand scheme of yacht design, they play a crucial role in ensuring both safety and aesthetics.
In this article, we delve into the significance of correctly fitted stanchion base fittings and explore the often-overlooked aspect of how they are fastened to the boat.
A Fundamental Element of Safety
Stanchion base fittings are not mere accessories; they are essential safety components on yachts. These fittings are designed to secure stanchions, which are upright posts that help define the boundaries of the yacht’s deck. Stanchions, in turn, support lifelines and railings that prevent crew members from falling overboard. Hence, the integrity of Stanchion base fittings directly impacts the safety of those on board.
The Marriage of Form and Function
In addition to their primary safety function, Stanchion base fittings also contribute to the overall aesthetics of the yacht. A well-crafted Stanchion base and guard rail not only performs its duty but also enhances the visual appeal of the vessel. A badly fitted or installed stanchion base can create unsightly corrosion issues or be the starting point for a failing teak deck.
In the image the dark area surrounding the stanchion base is moisture or corrosion weeping from the steel into the teak decking from a poorly fitted stanchion, which could lead to further teak deck issues.
Examples of how Stanchions can be fastened onto a yacht:
The choice of material for Stanchion base fittings is crucial. Polished 316L A4 stainless steel is the common choice due to its durability and corrosion resistance. However, Special attention has to be paid to the environment and other materials in the installation.
This is especially important when dealing with metals. Mixing dissimilar metals will lead to corrosion on the less noble components when mixed with salt water and oxygen, necessitating careful specification and installation.
When the stanchions are Stainless steel and mounted into an Aluminium deck – the two types of metal have to be isolated from each other. If the stanchion is Steel and the deck is Steel – the types of Steel have to be the same. Mixing different types of Steel will eventually lead to galvanic action and corrosion.
Stanchions that are fitted into a Base need to be considered carefully. A base that remains full of salty water will lead to pitting corrosion and possible weakening of the safety feature.
In conclusion, Stanchion base fittings may be small in size, but they are giants when it comes to ensuring the safety of those onboard. They are often the starting point of much wider and more costly issues to resolve. Paying attention to the material choice, fastening method, and watertight integrity is paramount. These fittings are not just a functional addition. They require detailed planning, construction and careful craftmanship when installing.
Reach out to us at Classic Yacht Shipwrights if you need help in understanding what you are looking at when an issue stems from a stanchion or its structure.