It depends on what boat you're in...
For instance, on my boat, I'd check the amas to see if they were taking on water... if not... would try and get a patch over whatever was letting the water in... but wouldn't be all that worried about it, because if the amas aren't filling, there really isn't any way for the main hull to fill up with more than a foot of water or sink.
I do recommend that you get the hole sealed as well as possible, since even a small hole lets in far more water than most bilge pumps can deal with. The deeper in the water the hole, the faster it will let water in, and the harder it will be to seal off.
On some modern boats, the hull is constructed with a fiberglass liner, which has much of the interior molded into it and acts to stiffen the hull...however it makes getting to the interior of the hull much more difficult.
One of my friends keeps several plumber bowl waxes on hand on her boat... since they're very useful for stuffing into irregularly shaped holes...and then put a piece of wood across the backside and screw the wood or prop the wood in place, and most smaller hole can be sealed fairly thoroughly that way.
The crash blanket idea that TB has mentioned is a good one, but not of much use to most people, as it does require you to practice deploying it.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Last edited by sailingdog; 07-18-2007 at 12:54 PM.