Bilge water - what's too much - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-01-2010 Thread Starter
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Bilge water - what's too much

How much water does your boat take on in an average week? (sitting idle, not sailing with the toe rails in the water)

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post #2 of 10 Old 06-02-2010
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none, unless there is a really big storm, then I may get up to a 1/4 inch in the bilge (about a 20oz soda bottle worth)

I also have an outboard, so no propshaft to deal with.

Four Points - 1990 Hunter 27'

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post #3 of 10 Old 06-02-2010
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Where is the water coming from and I will tell you how much you should have. You should know why there is water in the bilge. Air conditioning?
Prop shaft? leaking portholes?

In theory (theory) your bilge should be dry. Most peoples are not - esp those with AC.

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post #4 of 10 Old 06-02-2010
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When sitting idle, we don't take on any water, but then we try to keep our toe rail out of the water.

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post #5 of 10 Old 06-02-2010
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None. I've had to do a good deal of work to make it none.
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-02-2010
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Source is more important than amount

IMO, there are reasonable sources of water in the bilge, and others that should be eliminated.

Reasonable Sources:
1. Conventional stuffing box that needs to drip a bit to work right.
2. Rain coming in through an anchor hawse pipe if your anchor locker drains into the bilge (doesn't count if your anchor drains overboard).
3. Rain coming in through the inside of a mast with in mast halyards.
4. Other vents for wet lockers that drain into the bilge.
5. Air conditioner condensation if it drains into the bilge (doesn't count if it drains overboard or into a sump).
6. Fridge drain (but you might want to plug this one, spilt milk in the bilge can get pretty nasty smelling fast, and cool air likes to run down hill).

Sources that should be eliminated:
1. Leaks below the water line such as thru hulls, hoses, strainers, etc.
2. Leaks above the water line such as poorly bedded deck hardware, chainplates, hatch gaskets, etc.
3. Hull/deck joint leaks (these repairs can be nasty).

As others have said, its more important to identify the sources as the "reasonable" ones than the exact amount of bilge water you experience, which may depend for example, if it rained. Finding above the water line leaks can be a painful experience. Wait for the rain or use a hose. At least in my experience, the place the water shows up is never obviously close to the place the water came in, especially when deck hardware is involved.
Oh, and I'm assuming we're not talking about wooden boats!
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-02-2010
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I'd add to the reasonable sources the companionway boards.

nearly all the water I get in the bilge comes from driving rain coming in through the companionway and either weeping in between the boards, or pouring in faster than the track drains will empty, and therefore over filling and dripping inside.

I hope that the new bimini will eliminate a large ammount of that. I'm actually heading down to the boat this afternoon to look for evidence of new rain leaks following a very heavy downpour yesterday.

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post #8 of 10 Old 06-02-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DropTop View Post
I'd add to the reasonable sources the companionway boards.

nearly all the water I get in the bilge comes from driving rain coming in through the companionway and either weeping in between the boards, or pouring in faster than the track drains will empty, and therefore over filling and dripping inside.

I hope that the new bimini will eliminate a large ammount of that. I'm actually heading down to the boat this afternoon to look for evidence of new rain leaks following a very heavy downpour yesterday.
We solved this problem by making a Sunbrella cover for the companionway. It is a flat sheet with darts where it makes the turn from the overhead hatch down over the boards. We hemmed the edges and installed a few snaps to keep it in place. Our hatch boards are smoked acrylic (or maybe lexan - were installed by the PO), so the cover has the added advantage of keeping out light in the morning, and giving us some privacy at night. It is also handy to use when there is a light rain as we don't need to keep moving the boards in and out, just secure the canvas cover over the open companionway. Finally, it also protects the teak slides for the hatch boards, which means less frequent varnishing. PM me if you want pics or more details. It is a fairly easy project and is one of the first we tried with our Sailrite sewing machine (prior to moving on to the bimini).
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-02-2010
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Keep your bilges dry or at least to the very minimum level. Especially if you have a wide beam nearly flat bottom vessel. And Rail Meat may not compensate for all of that bilge water.....
Free surface effect can be hazardous, especially to power vessels...
Keep your tanks either full or empty. In between is called "slack tank", and this can cause a problem for you also. You don't want a slack tank if possible.

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post #10 of 10 Old 06-02-2010
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We used to have a little water in the bilge all the time, until I disconnected our leaking water heater...it was leaking through the heating element.
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