Last Saturday was not a typical day for me. The family had taken off to do some afternoon shopping and I was very much looking forward to cleaning and painting Tulum IV’s bilge before our friends arrived for dinner. However, this was not to be and instead I was able to practice what I preach and help out in any way I could to keep a sport fisher on our dock from sinking. I didn’t do much, but I felt a strong need to help and had no problem doing whatever the Marina Staff needed me to do. The Marina Staff were excellent during this incident and really know their stuff. However, they were hampered by the fact they could not get inside the boat, they didn’t know where the leak was coming from originally and found too late that the entire engine room was completely flooded. To their credit,,,,the ONLY reason the boat continued to float is because of their hard work and actions. TowBoat US had been called quickly, but took over two hours to respond to the incident,,,,by which time the boat was out of danger of actually sinking.
Here’s what the scene looked like when I arrived, the boat very close to actually going under by the stern:
To their credit, locals on the dock and the Marina Staff employed what pumps could be found to keep water from coming higher, made sure to try to keep the water from coming through scuppers and then actually employed your’s truly to just simply bail,,,,a highly underrated but effective technique to get rid of water as needed.
Here’s what the boat looked like an hour later and before TowBoat US got there with large pumps, out of danger:
Here’s all the work done in between, with us literally standing on one side to try to raise the scuppers out of the water to keep it from going under:
Eventually a diver was able to go down and identify that water was coming through a shaft seal, which is why the entire engine room was flooded through the doors:
By the time the afternoon was done, the Coast Guard arrived to do an incident report and the boat was stabilized by TowBoat US and towed away. Later the same day, I heard a rumor that the boat owners insurance company had already totaled the boat due to the extensive water damage, but I can’t confirm that.
Moral to the story: Know where your shaft seal is and be prepared to plug it. A wooden bung won’t do it for a round shaft seal; get the round wax seal that specifically designed to go around the shaft in case of leaks.
Never know what kind of excitement you might find in the Marina, but this wasn’t the kind I really like. Never did get to paint the bilge that day but I did get it cleaned really, really nicely.