Your Seacock Specialists Caution That Boats Can Sink Even If Something Bad Doesn’t Happen
Raritan Engineering your seacocks professionals would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding how to keep your boat from sinking while its docked.
A boat shouldn’t sink unless something really bad happens, right? Your seacock analysts know that a high-speed collision, a fiery fuel explosion, a direct strike by lightning — these events certainly can sink a boat.
Studies of insurance claims by BoatU.S. back this up, showing that more than two-thirds of recreational-boat sinkings happen at the dock or on a mooring. BoatU.S. further estimates that only 35 percent of such sinkings are out of an owner’s hands.
The (Not Always) Mighty Bilge Pump
A bilge pump can really save the day in the event of an unexpected gusher, and it’s great for cleaning up the condensation and other unavoidable drips and drops that collect in the bilge.
Do Winter Right
When it comes to winterizing, an ounce of prevention can be worth gallons and gallons of cure. Ice can damage hoses below the waterline, strainer baskets and through-hull valves. Water can contaminate the gear lube during the boating season — if it freezes, it can crack metal and blow seals.
Your Boat is Full of Holes
Not to be an alarmist, but your boat is likely already full of holes below the waterline. These can include holes for a drain plug, mounting bolts, transducers, sensors, through-hull valves and other items. In a perfect world, these — and any downstream hose clamps, fittings and strainers — would all be properly fastened, sealed and/or clamped to keep water out. And they likely were when the boat was brand-new.
Come visit us at Raritan Engineering because we have all the seacocks for all your sanitation needs.
Be Good to Your Bellows
Your seacock experts feel that the bellows maintain their watertight seal while allowing the drive to turn side to side and trim up and down, but these repeated movements can eventually result in tearing from fatigue. Age and deterioration can cause the rubber to break down over time, especially if exposed to heat or other harsh conditions.
One Drop at a Time
One below-the-waterline hole that deserves special attention is the opening where the propeller shaft passes through on an inboard boat. This will often be sealed with a few rings of packing material and a tightening gland all nicely referred to as the “stuffing box.”
Batten Down the Hatches
This simple step would prevent countless sinkings. At some point, it is going to rain. If the hatches leak — especially cockpit hatches where rainwater can accumulate — then we can end up with water in the bilge, an overwhelmed bilge pump, and a progressive sinking situation.
A falling tide can easily trap a boat beneath a dock, where it will fill up with water as the tide rises — often leaving it hanging on its side by its lines. Good dock-line technique can save the day.
It’s not uncommon to see a boat with cockpit scuppers or freeing ports designed to sit barely above the waterline once people, gear and fuel are aboard. Now replace that two-stroke outboard with a heavier-by-200-pounds four-stroke and watch the scuppers sink down to the waterline before people and gear are aboard.
There have also been a surprising number of sinkings due to cockpit drain fittings and hose fittings leaking into the bilge. Sometimes these are routed through the bilge area with little to no access, making it difficult to ensure hose clamps are tight and the hose is in good condition.
Of course, there are always a few bonehead mistakes that send boats to the bottom every year. Forgetting the drain plug when launching, forgetting to tighten the lid after cleaning a strainer, and leaving a shore hose running on deck after cleaning have all resulted in multiple dockside sinkers.
Choose your marine supplies here at Raritan Engineering, where we always take care of your marine supply needs.