Dealing With Leaks

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Dealing With Leaks
Published By : yacht FTX
DATE : 29, December, 2015
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Dealing With Leaks

 
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Leaks are not only inconvenient and aggravating, but also cause damage to personal gear and the boat itself. The source of leaks are usually hard to find and even harder to stop. The typical case is where the water enters at point A, but shows up at point B, which is six feet away from point A. The owner spends weeks attempting to search out the source so that he can repair it. These are usually instances where inner liners work to distribute the leaks to points far from the source of entry, and are often the subject of many wry jokes. As an aside here, I want to mention something that I see very frequently that is just a waste of time and makes a mess of things. That is the way some people try to take the easy way out by just smearing some caulking on the outside of an open seam. On boats, to make an effective seal, the caulk has to go between the two parts that are mated, and this is called bedding. Achieving this is not easy, but it is the only way to effectively stop leaks. Moreover, with the way many boats are hurriedly built today, parts are often never bedded properly from the beginning. If that is the case, then you have to go back and do what the builder did not do correctly. Of course, the granddaddy of all leaks is the leaky hull-to-deck join, which is usually the most difficult of all to repair. I've seen numerous boats where the deck joint leaks so bad that either the boat is uninhabitable, or the boat has become severely damaged as a result of rotting internal plywood structures, wet bedding and the like. Vee berths in both power and sail boats are often a victim of this problem, where you end up with both rotting mattresses and structures. Ouch! This gets expensive. In many instances, the manner in which the deck is joined is such that effecting an economical repair is near impossible, or that the leakage is so pervasive -- meaning that the deck join is leaking everywhere -- that the deck needs to be removed and reinstalled anew, which also means that it's likely to be more economical to get rid of the boat and buy another one, than it is to attempt to repair it. For these reasons, when considering the purchase of any used boat, it is of paramount importance to check the boat over for leaking deck joints; this is not a problem that anyone should buy into. Leaking deck joins are most intractable when associated with working hull structures. Not all boats are as rigid as they should be, and if the rigging is causing compression loading, both fore and aft, as well as transversely, then attempting to repair leaking deck joins may be an exercise in futility. Checking a boat for leaks is fairly easy. Just start opening things up and looking. The usual indicators are, aside from the plainly obvious, are numerous rust stains where canned goods were stored, rusty tools and mattresses wet on the undersides. If not wet, look for stains on the hard berth surface. Check out any place on the interior of the hull sides where you may be able to see water trails or heavy amounts of mildew. Water stains on headliners, discolored cabin soles, damaged paneling, water puddles or water lines under berths or other places that trap water. The number of indicators is nearly endless. It's a mistake to think that repairing leaks is a relatively minor problem that can be done at low cost. Yes, repairing a leak is usually a simple matter, but the fact is that there is often no access to the area that needs repair, so that to make the repair requires tearing out a part of the interior. Such is often the case with chain plates and other deck hardware.