Please select your home edition
Edition
Doyles Sails - Onfire

Why Boats Sink- Ten best tips on prevention

by BoatUS/Sail-World on 1 Jul 2014
Sunk - now what? .. .
She seemed okay when you left her, after that last happy day, but a phone call a couple of days later telling you she had sunk destroyed all your sailing dreams for a long time to come. In fact, it could be the end of her. That’s because repairs on a sunken boat - whether unattended or underway - often cost more than the actual value of the boat.

So if you want to prevent a sinking at all costs, what can you do? Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), who, among their services to boat owners, offer insurance, are ideally placed to look at the reasons why unattended boats have sunk in the past.

BoatUS recently took its first significant look since 2006 at its boat insurance claims files and found that most sinkings were preventable. About two out of every three (69%) boats sink at the dock or mooring, while only the remainder (31%) sink while underway.

Of all of the dock/mooring sinkings, 39% occur when some small part gives up the fight with water due to wear, tear and corrosion. When it comes to gradual leaks due to slowly failing parts, too many boats existed in a 'zombie state' somewhere between floating and sinking, dependent upon the bilge pump, which merely postponed the sinking until the pump failed or was overwhelmed. This one is a no-brainer: lack of maintenance is the factor here.



For boat sinkings while underway, the most common cause (43%) is hitting something – a log, the bottom or colliding with another boat or dock. Some of these sinkings might have been avoided if some some extra care had been taken – and some can be chalked up to simply bad luck.

Interestingly, low-cut transoms that were common on boats in the 1990’s and a cause of sinkings is no longer much of a factor, as contained splash wells separating the interior of the boat from the transom are more common in boat designs today. However, being swamped while tied stern-to waves remains a cause.



To prevent a sinking, whether yours is a sailing or motor boat, here are the ten top tips:

1. Frequently inspect the boat’s cockpit and livewell plumbing – again look at hoses, clamps, and cracked or broken fittings. Make sure you can inspect all such plumbing, and if you can’t, install inspection ports to make the task easier.

2. Each season take are hard look at all below-waterline fittings, hoses, and clamps.

3. Keep a good lookout while underway and ask crew and guests to help keep their eyes peeled for deadheads. If you have grounded or hit something, consider a short-haul to inspect the bottom or drive gear.

4. Dock line management systems that keep the boat centered in its slip can prevent snags that sometimes lead to a sinking.



5. Don’t forget the drain plug – you knew this one would be on the list.

6. For inboard-outboard powered boats, inspect sterndrive bellows annually and replace every three to five years. The shift bellows is usually the first to fail.

7. For inboard powered boats, check the stuffing box every time you visit the boat, and repack – rather than simply tighten down the nut – every spring.

8. For engines with raw water hoses, replace them the moment they indicate wear – such as when small cracks appear or they feel 'spongy' when squeezed. Rusty hose clamps are also a concern and should be replaced.

9. Replace the engine cooling system impeller every two to three years.

10. Always pull trailerable boats from the water when storms are forecast. These boats generally have too little freeboard to stand up to any kind of wave action.

About BoatUS:
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the USA's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half-million members with government representation, services such as 24-hour dispatch, on water boat towing as well as roadside assistance for boat trailers and tow vehicles, feature-packed boat insurance programs, money-saving benefits including marina and service discounts, and vital information that improves recreational boating. Its member-funded BoatUS Foundation is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating and offers range of boating safety courses – including 33 free state courses – that can be found at BoatUS.org/courses.


Naiad/Oracle Suppliernavathome 660x82X-Yachts AUS X4 - 660 - 3

Related Articles

Knowing Harken takes years and years (Pt.II)
We looked at how Grant Pellew became the MD here in Australia, and how they rigorously go about testing their gear In Part One of getting to know Harken, we looked at how Grant Pellew became the MD here in Australia, and how they rigorously go about testing their gear. We also looked at some of the other brands Harken distributes in Australia and so we move on to the last category.
Posted on 25 Sep
Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
Amel - Do you fit the bill?
Perhaps it is equally as fascinating as the many features that go into either the Amel 55 or 64 It is certainly an interesting set of criterion. Perhaps it is equally as fascinating as the many features that go into either the Amel 55 or 64 and make them a definitive part of the quintessential bluewater cruiser armada. We’ll come to all of those in due course, but firstly we’ll tackle the hero image and why in so many ways, this explains, so, so much.
Posted on 21 Sep
Knowing Harken takes years and years (Pt.I)
You could imagine that being familiar with all that Harken produces and stands for is a lengthy process. You could imagine that being familiar with all that Harken produces and stands for is a lengthy process. So if you were going to be the person at the top in Australia, it would be best for you to have immersed yourself in sailing from an early age. When you grew up, being one of the technical service team would be more than a handy apprenticeship, as it were.
Posted on 19 Sep
Brookes and Gatehouse Videos with Knut Frostad
Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos with Knut Frostad, the legendary Volvo Ocean Race sailor and former CEO. See him talk about sailing in general, the B&G product choices and placement he made for his own boat, and then why he loves his Outremer 5X.
Posted on 8 Sep
Boat Books of the Month - How to Read Water and False Flags
How to Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to Sea & False Flags: Disguised German Raiders of World War II. This month the Boatbooks Australia: Boat Books of the Month are How to Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to the Sea and False Flags: Disguised German Raiders of World War II.
Posted on 6 Sep
Soft Padeyes – light, strong and versatile
Several types of soft padeyes are now available and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel pa Several types of soft padeyes are now available on the market and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel padeyes. They all capitalise on the incredible strength to weight ratio and abrasion resistance of Dyneema® which offers a reliable, robust, flexible and safe termination.
Posted on 6 Sep
The X Factor starring X-Yachts
X-Yachts do indeed have plenty to sing about. X-Yachts do indeed have plenty to sing about. Testament to that is the three-year-old Xp38 on display at the recent Sydney International Boat Show still looked brand new. This was no mooring minder either, but rather a boat that had gone up to Hamilton Island Race Week for each of those years and campaigned hard.
Posted on 31 Aug
The C Beetle Project
Every now and then something comes along your way and you just have to read it. Every now and then something comes along your way and you just have to read it. Such is Phil Smidmore’s tale of Mick Miller and if I could be so bold as to implore you to read, then I know your life will be the better for it!
Posted on 30 Aug
Zhik sailors win 17 sailing medals at 2016 Olympic Regatta
The 2016 Olympic games are over and what a Games they have been - Zhik sailors dominated Zhik sailors won almost 60% of the medals contested at Rio de Janeiro. It was a regatta which tested sailors and gear - with one day being the most severe conditions ever experienced at an Olympic regatta. For the Zhik team riders on the waters of Rio, four years and more of hard work and dedication have paid off for many.
Posted on 29 Aug