Why Boats Sink In Springtime
And Can Wreck Your Entire Boating Season
With the return of warm weather, boaters are once again cruising America’s waterways. But, some may be in for a rude surprise when they find their boat sinks at the dock just after being put in the water.
According to the April 2007 issue of Seaworthy, the damage-avoidance newsletter from BoatU.S., spring brings its own unique challenges to preparing and maintaining a boat in seaworthy condition.
“While not widespread, sinkings at the dock this time of year are easily avoidable,” said Seaworthy Editor Bob Adriance. “However, a spring sinking can ruin a boating season since repairs may well have to wait because marinas and boatyards are very busy outfitting and launching boats.”
After combing through the BoatU.S. Marine Insurance claims files for the most common causes of springtime sinkings, Adriance has the following tips for boaters:
Adding to this, cramped engine boxes mean that the hoses and the clamps holding them sometimes can’t be visually inspected easily. In the spring you’ll need to ensure all of the hose clamps are securely tightened in place.
Double clamping with marine-rated stainless hose clamps, inspecting hose-attachment locations, or keeping seacocks closed can all save you from a spring sinking.
Larger boats with cracked or improperly caulked fittings that are located just above the waterline can also inadvertently let water in when they become submerged. Ensure that rain rolls off the boat and not into it.
And, if the seacock was left open, the boat will sink as soon as ice in the strainer thaws or the boat is put in the water. Always inspect the strainer for cracks or other damage.