Here’s the rundown on how yesterday morning went:

I got out of bed around 7 am.  (Not a bad start.)  It was a little chilly in the boat so I slipped on socks (my feet get cold easily), sweats and a shirt.  I went into the galley to get a drink and behind me I heard it – drip, drip, drip.  It was raining extremely hard and I had a leak.

If you think about it, boats have a lot of holes in them.  People have written books to describe all of the holes.  Holes in the bottom, holes on deck, holes in the sides, big holes for masts and tiny holes for screws.  Wherever there is a hole there is a potential leak.  Leaks on boats are common, hard to find the the source and can be expensive when the water causes damage.

It was easy to find the drip.  SPOILER ALERT – I never found the leak.  The water was dripping into an electrical outlet – not good – so I felt I should do something right away.  Find a towel, put it in the path of the leak and at least the water is no longer going into the electrical outlet.  That’s better.  But the drip is really more of a stream.  The first towel is quickly soaked.  I try a chamois instead.  Better, but it too is soon soaked.  Grab another towel and another chamois.  Ahh, that’s better.

So the immediate issue is under control – the boat is not going to burn down because of an electrical short.  But wait, there is a little trickle of water going behind the cushions.  So I dried that up but saw that the trickle continued into the storage below the seats.  Aha!  Another bodacious mess.  I unloaded everything, clean and dry the inside of the storage area (about 2’x6’x3′).  By now I am sweating profusely and contemplating switching from sweats to shorts but decide there is no time to waste.   The storage space is still damp so I decide to use a fan to accelerate the drying process.  Good plan, poor execution.  Plumbing parts, electrical parts and general boat parts are piled everywhere.  I did not see the quart bottle of teak oil.  I hit it with the fan, propelling it into the storage area.  It’s a plastic bottle so no big deal.  Right?  Well, it was a very old, brittle plastic bottle and it shattered, sending teak oil throughout the storage space.  And to top that off, there’s a 2″ hole in the bottom of the storage that drains directly into the bilge.

Now I’m in the engine compartment with oil absorbent diapers cleaning up the teak oil.  Once that was under control it was back to the salon to clean up that mess.  I used a commercial degreaser to clean the storage space, dried it and thought I had finished that part.  But noooo, the degreaser left an oily film so I scrubbed the storage space again with soap and water.  Much better.  Now back to the bilge.

I clean the bilge with soap and water and vacuum all the water out.  Now I hear a hissing noise.  The fresh water lines run through the bilge in the engine room.  There are 4 Ts in this small space and yards of hose.  After a solid 30 minutes of looking, I find the leak.  I tightened the hose clamps on all 4 Ts and replace the broken clamp that is allowing the water to leak.  Done.  EXCEPT, I still haven’t found the location of the water intrusion.  Too bad, it’s lunch time now (yep, 5 hours to soak up a little rain in the boat).

Is anyone interested in buying a boat?

Capt. Steve Willis
FSB Scuba Director – RETIRED
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

Leave a Reply