Jump to content
  • Announcements

    Welcome! New around here? Take a look at the New Members' Guide for some pointers.

    Not a member yet? Sign up here and you can soon be chatting away with friends old and new..

    Check out our Handy Information section if you're after something quickly!

Sinking Boats


Oddfellow

Recommended Posts

There's been a spate of sinkings recently as the freezing conditions have given way to a rapid thaw.

I know of two boats that have found their way to the bottom because they were not winterised - one we've raised and another owned by a friend (who should have known much better).

Speaking with some other boat yards who have been around a bit longer than Freedom, there seems to have been a reduction over the years in the number of people comissioning yards to do their winter laying up. Whilst I can fully appreciate that money's getting tighter, ignoring the proper winterisation process on your boat is a major mistake and one that a number of insurance policies won't cover if the worst happens.

If you haven't winterised your boat this winter, you need to visit the boat asap and make sure it's in good condition and not taking on water. If you're really lucky, you'll have gotten away with it - this time.

Please, get it winterised if it hasn't been already else you may find that a few hours work or some money spent with a boat yard will spiral into thousands in salvage and recomissioning.

Check out our Facebook page or visit

for a video of the salvage.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 52
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Never mind about winterising, the guy didn't even turn the bloody seacock off :o , there might have been frost damage to the motor, he may have even got away without any damage as the hose blew off and allowed expansion, but it wouldn't have sunk if he had just turned it off. Even in summer all seacocks should be turned off whenever you leave the boat, again I doubt insurance companies would be happy if you did not, also it keeps them free if you operate them regularly.

I posted this a couple of years ago, maybe I should have bumped it at the start of winter.

http://www.thenorfolkbroads.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=313

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's often a lot more than that. Certainly, turing the seacocks off will help prevent sinking of an unattended boat, but if you've not protected your engine from freezing, the hoses can rupture, the block can crack, the core plugs can blow out (some engines have coreplugs behind the flywheel). You're at risk of rupturing water pumps, drain pumps and so on as well as allowing moisture into the engine to create corrosion.

There's so much more to proper winterising than just turning a sea-cock off; your boat dosen't have to sink in order to suffer considerable damage. The problem is that people seem to have become complacent about it - we've had years of mild winters and many people have probably got away with it - a good few more this year will be calling their insurance companies.

But, even if you did just turn the sea-cock off and the freezing pipes further down the line fractured, turning it on again would cause the boat to take on water. Many of these factures may be quite small and you might not notice the leak whilst you're on-board, but over a couple of days unattended, you could easily lose the boat. It's not a case of scaring people, its a matter of stating facts and helping people to prevent damage. Many people will put tube heaters on boats to stop freezing but there's a massive reliance on the heater working and for what? A couple of hours of maintenance is all it needs.

Like I say, I've learned of two boats in as many days that have sunk because people have ignored even the simplest of tasks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the point both Ian and I were making is that the boat would not have sunk had the seacock been turned off. Other damage is another issue, and anybody who doesn’t check the bilges and turn the seacock off after a cruise even in summer has no sympathy from me if their boat sinks.

None of that of course detracts from the (I hope) undisputed fact that engines and other systems should be properly winterised.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No argument against winterising Andy but Boats sinking because they are not winterised is not going to happen, as long as the sea cocks are closed any water that can get out of anywhere is already on the boat.

So long as the seacock remains closed (and hasn't itself burst due to water trapped within it).

If you don't notice that a pipe has ruptured or been pushed off a fitting, it might take a while after turning the seacock back on before you noticed that the boat was filling up with water.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you don't notice that a pipe has ruptured or been pushed off a fitting, it might take a while after turning the seacock back on before you noticed that the boat was filling up with water.

Still wouldn't sink though, and quite frankly your normal checks like looking around properly on a first start after a lay up would reveal those anyway unless they were quite small, even the standard glance over the stern to check the raw water was exiting with the exhaust would reveal something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Still wouldn't sink though, and quite frankly your normal checks like looking around properly on a first start after a lay up would reveal those anyway unless they were quite small, even the standard glance over the stern to check the raw water was exiting with the ehhaust would reveal something.

Of course it can sink. Many private boats sit on moorings for months unattended and a small puncture in a raw water pipe can be quite unnoticeable. This boat probably went down in 12 hours or so but what if it was a smaller leak that took 30+ days to pull the gunnels under? If the owner only visits every 40 days....

I think the point is this: closing seacocks is every bit part of winterising as it is good practice generally. Incidentally, I've seen seacocks damaged by ice too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course it can sink. Many private boats sit on moorings for months unattended and a small puncture in a raw water pipe can be quite unnoticeable. This boat probably went down in 12 hours or so but what if it was a smaller leak that took 30+ days to pull the gunnels under? If the owner only visits every 40 days....

No matter how big or how small the pipe rupture or jacket damage it wouldn't sink in a year let alone 30 or 40 days if the seacock was turned off when leaving the boat, and as for ice damaging a seacock, in the extremely rare cases that may happen at least it would be covered under frost damage insurance if it were turned off and the rest of the boat winterised.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems to me that the advice offered by the OP is spot on.

Many people start off their boat ownership on the Broads. Probably many have no experience/knowledge of boat ownership and maybe don't even know where the sea cocks are.

So getting someone who knows how to winterise properly seems great advise .... and may well save thousands.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No matter how big or how small the pipe rupture or jacket damage it wouldn't sink in a year let alone 30 or 40 days if the seacock was turned off when leaving the boat, and as for ice damaging a seacock, in the extremely rare cases that may happen at least it would be covered under frost damage insurance if it were turned off and the rest of the boat winterised.

You've missed my point - many people don't turn them off once they've recommissioned the boat for the season (or even at the end of the season). A small leak in the raw water system can easily sink a boat. It's not just engine seacocks either; toilet flushes are arguably more at risk as you don't see them as often. Sure, if the seacocks are off, the likihood of sinking during winter is considerably reduced but I would argue that if that's what you consider "winterising" to entail, there's a good possibility that you could discover a hidden leak too late once you start using the boat again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So long as the seacock remains closed (and hasn't itself burst due to water trapped within it).

So what are you going to do as part of your winterising procedure that will stop the sea cock bursting if it freezes?

If the sea cocks are closed then there is nothing that you can do to sink the boat that relates to winterising.

Yes if something splits you could, after the sea cocks have been opened get water into the boat but A: you should check your bilges anyway and B: when you leave the boat you should close your sea cocks anyway so it should not result in a subsequent sinking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many people start off their boat ownership on the Broads. Probably many have no experience/knowledge of boat ownership and maybe don't even know where the sea cocks are.

That is like saying they don't know where the ignition key is.

If they are picking up a boat then the chances are they will have to turn the sea cocks on before starting the boat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You still have the toilet though Mark.

On yours you will have a steel tube running from the transom plate leg intake up above the water line, before changing to a rubber hose to come back down to the raw water pump, so it should be no problem.

Guess what, changing my raw water pump revealed that all the elevation does is creates a syphon and if the hose comes off the pump the water pours in unless you lift it about 3". :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So what are you going to do as part of your winterising procedure that will stop the sea cock bursting if it freezes?

If the sea cocks are closed then there is nothing that you can do to sink the boat that relates to winterising.

Yes if something splits you could, after the sea cocks have been opened get water into the boat but A: you should check your bilges anyway and B: when you leave the boat you should close your sea cocks anyway so it should not result in a subsequent sinking.

You could put lagging around the seacocks to help prevent freezing. It certainly wouldn't be hard to do.

We should all visit the dentist once a year (or more frequently), not speed on the roads (or rivers) and brush our teeth in the morning and before bed - we should all close seacocks when we leave our boats. But we don't and, sometimes, we come unstuck. The difference between what we should do and what actualy happens can be major and, if just one person learns from this owner's mistake, then I'll be happy.

As Trigger once said "always look after ya Broom", Norman, Vanguard, Freeman, et al.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is like saying they don't know where the ignition key is.

If they are picking up a boat then the chances are they will have to turn the sea cocks on before starting the boat.

I didn't know where the ignition key was on my last boat .......

Turned out it didn't have one ...... it was a saildrive with cord starter.

It did have cocks though ....... and I made plenty of cock-ups during my tenure!! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You still have the toilet though Mark.

On yours you will have a steel tube running from the transom plate leg intake up above the water line, before changing to a rubber hose to come back down to the raw water pump, so it should be no problem.

Guess what, changing my raw water pump revealed that all the elevation does is creates a syphon and if the hose comes off the pump the water pours in unless you lift it about 3". :o

I have often wondered why installers don't include a syphon break in the line for just that reason. :-|

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On a slightly different tack, I love winter cruising and often dream of winning the lottery (ha ha) and having my own boat built. Would it be actually possible to build a boat from scratch and protect all the pipework and engine in such a way that it could be used all year round? Would this be practical/possible?

cheersbar

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You've missed my point - many people don't turn them off once they've recommissioned the boat for the season (or even at the end of the season). A small leak in the raw water system can easily sink a boat. It's not just engine seacocks either; toilet flushes are arguably more at risk as you don't see them as often. Sure, if the seacocks are off, the likihood of sinking during winter is considerably reduced but I would argue that if that's what you consider "winterising" to entail, there's a good possibility that you could discover a hidden leak too late once you start using the boat again.

I haven't missed the point at all, in fact I'm not disagreeing with you at all, if you read the link to my post earlier in this thread you would know exactly what I consider proper winterising is. My point was vey simple, and it is: if the guy in your thread had turned off the seacock then his boat would have been unlikely to sink despite not winterising it, I also said that does not detract from the fact that it should have been properly winterised too.

Turning seacocks off is something everybody who owns a boat should be aware of even if they are new owners.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't missed the point at all, in fact I'm not disagreeing with you at all, if you read the link to my post earlier in this thread you would know exactly what I consider proper winterising is. My point was vey simple, and it is: if the guy in your thread had turned off the seacock then his boat would have been unlikely to sink despite not winterising it, I also said that does not detract from the fact that it should have been properly winterised too.

Turning seacocks off is something everybody who owns a boat should be aware of even if they are new owners.

Indeed. It's just that there are many factors to owning a boat and in these troubled times, not winterising properly can save money, but it can cost too. I think we will all cut corners in everything we do and it's human nature to become complacent also. It's also fair to say that as we are all under greater pressures, we simply forget to do things. I think it's probably the more experienced owners who are at a greater risk of this.

That said, there's a new owner close to us who forgot to open his seacock last December and got a short distance away before the engine over heated. (I must stress that they are not our customer) The impellor was replaced and then he went out a few days later only to have the boat towed back because he thought it was sinking..... Then it was discovered that he'd melted the water lock the day before and the exhaust water was exiting into the bilge and making its way over the floorboards. Pumped out and waterlock replaced, off he want again a few days later - only to need towing back in again because he forgot to open the seacock again. I only hope that his Nanni engine survived - those 4110s aren't known for their ability to take much cooking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On a slightly different tack, I love winter cruising and often dream of winning the lottery (ha ha) and having my own boat built. Would it be actually possible to build a boat from scratch and protect all the pipework and engine in such a way that it could be used all year round? Would this be practical/possible?

cheersbar

The obvious answer is no. You can't protect against all eventualities - just look at how many buildings get water damaged because of frozen pipes. You can do so much to protect pipe runs and such, but you can't protect an engine with insulation because it needs to have the very same insuration removing else it might overheat during normal running. If you're on-site all the time, simple electric heaters to keep the freezing temperatures out of the engine would be fine, but if you're not around to check on it, how do you know that the fuse hasn't blown or that there isn't a power cut because of heavy snow?

I've seen some really natty work done to some private boats to make antifreezing the raw water track simple. It involves a Tjoint just after the seacock with a valve on it. After this, the pipe runs to a simple receptacle into which you put antifreeze. Close the seacock and open the other valve and you have a simple and quick method of protecting the raw water system which would be simple to administer if you wanted to use the boat all year (won't help with domestic and flushing water though).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On a slightly different tack, I love winter cruising and often dream of winning the lottery (ha ha) and having my own boat built. Would it be actually possible to build a boat from scratch and protect all the pipework and engine in such a way that it could be used all year round? Would this be practical/possible?

cheersbar

Assuming you've won the lottery then I'd suggest that a heated wet shed might be the easiest way to do this (although certainly not cheap).

Another way might be to build a boat around a radiothermal isotope generator with electric heating and propulsion, but I suspect the paperwork involved might be a problem, and they're quite expensive as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • NBN Mobile App


  • Our Sponsors

    Norfolk Broads Network is run by volunteers - You can help us run it by making a donation

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

For details of our Guidelines, please take a look at the Terms of Use here.