boat sunk

Sunk in the harbor: tips against an embarrassment


Safe in the harbor but still on the ground? Can happen and has to be ironed out by expensive specialists. But it would be best not to let it get that far.

No ship sinks to the bottom without a reason. It doesn’t have to be an iceberg slicing open the hull like that of the Titanic, or a collision with floating debris, rocks or another vehicle. No, it is usually completely trivial reasons that cause the accident. And often the owner is complicit.

Owners of old wooden boats are used to the regular creeping in of water and pay a lot of attention to the problem. But too much water in the boat sinks every vehicle, even those made of GRP or aluminum. This is because many boats have holes in the hull “as standard”, e.g. for the drive shaft, the rudder stock, the transducers of the echo sounder and log, cooling water supply, the draining of rinsing water and much more. The mechanical functionality of securing such inlets and outlets plays an important role. Here are the most important pieces of advice:

1) Check the function of the sea cocks and especially the seals or hose clamps and replace defective mechanisms or old, brittle or porous rubber parts. This should be on the work list in addition to an inspection of the stuffing box or the seal of the rudder stock before the start of the season.

2) Test and service the bilge pump at regular intervals. This is the best insurance against sinking in port. Inflow and outflow must be free, the float switch must work and above all:

3) The power supply must be sufficient to ensure the operation of the pump. To do this, they should have a battery charger or a reliable shore connection.

4) The tarpaulin must be tight, especially if your marina is regularly hit by thunderstorms and torrential rains. However, the fabric and seams suffer from UV radiation and over the years become permeable or prone to tearing. Regular inspection and maintenance of the tarpaulin is a prudent boat owner’s duty.

5) For owners of boats with sterndrive: Check and maintain the universal joint bellows and the shift bellows, which ensure water ingress if they are defective. Humorous, but not unthinkable: Hungry rats that eat rubber in an emergency. Experts recommend leaving the drive folded down and straightening it.

6) If possible, always tie up with the bow against the general wind direction, also means “parking backwards” to prevent the risk of full impact (e.g. on boats with little freeboard).

7) If you cannot be with the boat regularly and often and also live further away, ask another boat owner at the same mooring line or the harbor master to check on your ship from time to time. Things like this can usually be managed well when having a chat over a good bottle of wine.

8) Even more important than the number of your insurance broker could be that of an aid organization, e.g. the pleasure craft association, SeaHelp or SeaTow Europe, all of which use a kind of breakdown service on the water. to be.

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