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VOL. 8 NO. 7
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Sinking prevention

10 tips to keep your boat from going under

Sinking prevention

Repairs on a sunken boat often cost more than the boat’s actual value. To prevent a sinking, boaters can follow these 10 tips:

  1. For inboard-outboard-powered boats, inspect sterndrive bellows annually and replace them every three to five years. The shift bellows is usually the first to fail.
  2. For inboard-powered boats, check the stuffing box every time you visit the boat, and repack it, rather than simply tightening down the nut every spring.
  3. For engines with raw water hoses, replace them the moment they indicate wear, such as when small cracks appear or the hoses feel spongy when squeezed. Rusty hose clamps should also be replaced.
  4. Replace the engine cooling system impeller every two to three years.
  5. Inspect the boat’s cockpit and live well plumbing; 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.
  6. Each season take a hard look at all below-waterline fittings, hoses and clamps.
  7. Don’t forget to secure the drain plug.
  8. Keep a good lookout, and ask guests to keep their eyes peeled for deadheads. If you’re grounded or hit something, consider a short-haul to inspect the bottom or drive gear.
  9. 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.
  10. Dock line management systems that keep the boat centered in its slip can prevent snags that sometimes lead to a sinking.
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