Sounds like a design problem. Anyone hear of this before?
Is there a preemptive step that can be taken to prevent this.
If it wasn't for this problem it would have just been a rough crossing.
That sounds to me like equipment failure, not a design problem. Hit anything hard enough and the right way, and it will break. I can't think of anything preemptive that you could do to keep this from happening, only what you could do to mitigate the effects once it does. The first thing that comes to mind is keeping a bung attached to the thru hull fitting for immediate use in case of failure.