Boat US (the Boat Owners Association of The United States) has just issued a list of the five top reasons why boats sink in the spring. This is a list well crafted to grab the attention of a boatowner this time of year. Or any time of year. The two words a boatowner least likes to see in the same sentence are “boat” and”sink.” (Photo of sunk boat off Hawaii is from the Boat US Seaworthy website.)
The Top Five Reasons Why Boats Sink in the Springtime:
1. Missing or damaged hose clamps: These clamps are often removed in the fall to winterize the engine, and then forgotten about in the spring when the boat is launched. Tight spaces in engine compartments make it difficult to see some unsecured or deteriorated clamps.
2. Unsecured engine hoses: Over the winter, freezing water can lift hoses off seacocks (valves).
3. Spring rains: Combine heavy rains with leaking ports, deck hatches, cracked or improperly caulked fittings, chain plates and even scuppers clogged by leaves and your boat could be on the bottom soon.
4. Broken sea strainer: Glass, plastic and even bronze strainer bowls can be cracked or bent over the winter if not properly winterized, allowing water trickle in when the seawater intake seacock is in the open position.
5. Leaking stuffing box: If equipped, a steady drip from an improperly adjusted stuffing box (the “packing” around the prop shaft) has been known to swamp a boat.