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Sinking Boats: Abandon Ship!

Aug 4, 2008
Remember those funny cartoons you’d watch as a kid where some cartoon characters are in a boat when suddenly there’s a hole. In an effort to counteract the effects of this hole in the boat, people start using pails to scoop the water out; however, they can’t keep up and eventually the boat sinks as a consequence. Well, this also happens in real life.

Every year, thousands of boats of all shapes and sizes sink. The most ironic part is that most of them sink when they’re not even in use; they’re at the dock!. As a matter of fact, sinking boats is perhaps one of the biggest losses to marinas all over the world.

Why is this: because marine insurance is too expensive. Perhaps one of the major reasons that boats sink is because the people who own them are neglectful. Another possible reason may be due to the fact that the people manufacturing, building and distributing the boats are inexperienced themselves or have inexperience, inefficient staff members. Now, there’s a scary thought. I mean, imagine if the people who build cars didn’t have qualified staff on hand? Ugh- I don’t even want to think about all of the negative consequences that could come out of that.

According to David Pascoe, boating specialist at http://yachtsurvey.com, the major causes of boats sinking can be broken down into two categories: hull design and internal systems. In terms of the hull design, Pascoe claims that hull design problems usually involve boats under 40 feet long and more often boats that are under 30 feet long. The smaller your boat is, the more likely it is to sink because smaller boats sink faster than larger ones. When it comes down to powerboats and why they sink, it is usually because of the cockpits being improperly designed. For sailboats, the reason is due to improper head installation, sink drains and inadequate bilge pumps.

Many people who own boats do not realize the value of weight distribution. For example, if you have a smaller boat, you need to pay even more attention to the bilge pump because if that fails, then you are going to really be up a creek. Pascoe goes on later to say that improper design or use of poor quality materials is the cause of the majority of boats sinking. Internal system failures, as he calls it, fall into three main categories: reverse siphoning resulting from errors in plumbing, insufficient bilge pumping or batter failure and failed hull fittings and hoses.

If you are thinking of purchasing a boat, you really need to make sure that you properly inspect the boat for any problems before hand. If you are already a boat owner, you need to make it your duty or responsibility to (every time) always check over your boat thoroughly before you take it out on the water. After all, the last thing you want is to have a problem or end up in “hot water” when you’re miles away from everything. It is also a good idea to make sure that you always wear your life vest for this reason as well as have a working radio and/or tell someone where you are planning on going for that day.
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