Monday, August 21, 2006

Where Boats Sink

A recent study by Seaworthy magazine investigated the question of where most boats sink, and it turns out that the overwhelming majority of vessels sink while docked. In fact, the study found that of boats sink while tied up at dock at a rate of four-to-one over those that sink while underway.

This was true even of docked boats with self-bailing cockpits (which obviously begs one to question the reliability of this feature).

The causes identified for sinking boats were as follows:

Sinking at the dock
Rain/snow 47%
Underwater Fittings 20%
Above the Waterline Fittings 10%
Poor Docking Arrangements 9%
Water Over Gunwales/Transom 9%
Other 5%

Sinking while underway
Water over gunwales/transom 32%
Livewell/Baitwell Plumbing 20%
Drain plug 16%
Struck a submerged object 12%
Other 12%
Construction 8%

While sinking underway is unlikely unless treacherous weather conditions are present, keeping your boat's chances of staying afloat while left unattended at the dock can be increased by ensuring you have a tight-fitting all-weather cover on her at all times. As for underwater fittings, bronze is recommended over plastic. Use a weather radio before heading out far from shore, and most of all, don't hit anything while underway!