Feed Water:  Any subject under discussion among steamboaters inevitably turns to feed water failures.  It is well worth repeating that all steam systems should have at least three separate means of introducing water to the boiler when at maximum pressure.

to increase the heat transfer area.  Two things to remember:  make the connections so that the flow of the exhaust steam and of the feed water are in opposite directions, and keep the higher pressure feed water in the inside pipe or group of tubes.

Most common and most successful is the force pump.  A simple cylinder with a reciprocating piston alternately draws water into the cylinder and forces it out into the

Stack Blower:  Some boilers require an aid to draft during fire startup, or when maximum steam production is desired.  A stack blower is generally fitted to provide this draft.  Just pick up dry steam from the main steam line using a relatively small line and valve. 

boiler, the direction of flow determined by two check valves.  Mechanically driven pumps may be operated from the main shaft through spur gears, or sprockets and chain, or from one of the crossheads through a suitable yoke or other linkage.  Hand operated pumps use a lever attached to the piston.  Some mechanical pumps use four check valves, each pair acted on by opposite sides of the piston.
Pump Failure:  One of the apparently difficult problems to diagnose is that of pump failure.  Almost without exception, feed water pumps fail to deliver when there are air leaks in the supply line.  Once in a great while, dirt in the check valves will be the culprit.  Always use strainers in the supply lines.
Condensing System:  A condensing system is often used to recapture operating exhausted steam when operating in salt or muddy water, or just to increase engine efficiency by lowering the exhaust back pressure.  The condenser produces a partial vacuum as the steam returns to water.  A rotary gear pump is frequently used as the air or vacuum pump to remove the water from the condenser and return it to the system via the hot well.  Care should be taken to draw this water from the condenser at  its lowest point.  In most cases this means that the small vacuum line must be fitted down into the inside of the larger condenser piping to reach the lowest point.

Pass this line back into the boiler where the steam becomes superheated and even drier.  A nozzle directed up the stack is placed several

inches (say half an stack diameter) from the bottom of the stack.  Three small holes in a fitting at the end of the pipe directed so as to make a cone with an included angle of 60 to 90 degrees will work well to direct the ejecting steam up the stack.
Gages:  Many steamboaters are lucky enough to locate some beautiful brass gages which, after repair, calibration, and polishing, add significantly to their steamboat's appearance and performance.  Some useful locations for gages and the gage range required are as follows (in decreasing order of necessity):

Pressure Gages
Boiler steam:                    0-200 psi     
Boiler feed water:             0-200 psi
Condenser Vacuum:         0- (minus) 30 psi
Steam to LP cylinder:       0-100 psi
Exhaust Steam:                0-30 psi
Temperature Gages:
Stack:                              0-1200 F
Hot Well                          0-200 F
Main Steam                     0-400 F

Boiler Safety:  A boiler deserves all the care it can get.  The exterior should be kept clean and painted.  Make certain the base of the boiler is not sitting  constantly in a puddle of water, Keep wet ashes out of the ash pit so that it doesn't start rusting around the edges. 
During winter lay-up, if you can't get all the water and dampness out, and if winter storage is not dry and heated, fill your boiler with RV antifreeze rather than leave it it a empty and subject to condensation.  In the Spring make certain no antifreeze gets into your engine.  Above all, do not steam up a boiler that has not had its hydrostatic pressure test.

Safety Valves:  Safety valves are held closed by a spring whose tension may be adjusted.  It is wise and prudent to rely on a certified valve repair shop or the factory to set safety valves by comparison to calibrated gages.

After so adjusted, safety valves should be left alone, in fact most are sealed to insure that this occurs.   discharge from the safety valve is burning hot, under pressure and hence dangerous.  It should be led vertically through the canopy, or through the side of the boat and aimed down.

Preheating:  Preheating the boiler water is generally accomplished by a simple heat exchanger which may be just one pipe inside another or a bundle of inside pipes or tubes so as