Emergency procedures when sinking - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
 Not a Member? 

Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 11-30-2010
Learning to sail
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 113
Thanks: 1
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Rep Power: 5
aaronwindward is on a distinguished road
Emergency procedures when sinking

One thing I've wondered a lot when sailing around in my new-to-me boat is what I'd do if the boat developed a serious leak that was not easy to fix. We sail in the Sam Framcisco Bay, a semi-protected bay, never far from land, and have good lifejackets, a VHF radio, and the usual safety gear, so I'm not really worried about personal safety. The main thing I don't know is what to do to save the boat.

Obviously fixing a leak by jamming something or other into the leaky part of the hull is the best, but there's a wide category of leak types that I know I wouldn't be able to effectively seal within a reasonable amount of time, such as situations where it's hard to find the leak, where there isn't good access to the leak location, where the hole is large, etc.

One strategy that occurred to me is attempting to ground the boat. In our part of the bay, we're never far from shallow water. I think this would only be effective near high tide, as the daily tidal range around here is around seven feet. I'm not sure if trying to ground the boat could have some unintended effect that would be worse...

Any thoughts?
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #2  
Old 11-30-2010
sailingdog's Avatar
Telstar 28
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 43,291
Thanks: 0
Thanked 10 Times in 10 Posts
Rep Power: 13
sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
If you can find an area with a clear sand or mud bottom that is shallow enough, preferably without strong surf, grounding the boat is an excellent solution to saving it from sinking. Even at low tide, doing so is a good idea, because it gives you time to find and slow the leak, which you wouldn't have otherwise. Also, as the tide rises, there's no reason you can't keep kedging the boat further aground.

Doing so on rockier or debris strewn bottom will still give you more options, but may also result in more damage to the hull, so is not as useful an approach. Same with doing so in areas with heavy surf.

One issue to watch for is that the boat lies down correctly when the tide starts to drop. If the boat lies careened over too far, you stand a good chance of having the boat downflood before it starts to float when the tide returns. The mast needs to be pointed upwards and preferably towards the shallower waters. You can often help the boat do this by laying out kedge anchors and using them to tip the boat in the right direction as the tide recedes. Of course, if you have twin keels or a wing keel, this may not be necessary.

If you do so at near high tide, with a seven foot tidal range, there's a good chance you'll be able to work on the hull from the outside and get a temporary patch over the damaged area. Carrying epoxy putty that cures underwater, like MarineTex, helps in making emergency repairs.
__________________
Sailingdog

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Telstar 28
New England

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)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.

Last edited by sailingdog; 11-30-2010 at 05:26 AM.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #3  
Old 11-30-2010
BubbleheadMd's Avatar
Chastened
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Edgewater/Annapolis
Posts: 2,862
Thanks: 1
Thanked 56 Times in 52 Posts
Rep Power: 5
BubbleheadMd will become famous soon enough
Send a message via Yahoo to BubbleheadMd
I'm in agreement with the grounding strategies, but let's talk for a moment as if grounding were not an option-

1. If you haven't already, buy a package of wooden bungs and tie the appropriate size bung to each thru-hull with a length of twine. That way, the appropriate damage control item is already in place if a seacock or thru-hull fails.

2. A Forespar foam damage control plug. I bought one of these from my local chandlery. It's essentially a large, red Nerf cone. If you drag on a rock, or hit a floating object that causes a gash in the hull, you can jam the cone lengthwise into the gash. You can cut it up as necessary to fit small punctures. You can jam it into thru-hulls, etc. It's very versitile.

3. A "belly band". Keep a tarp or an old sail onboard with grommets alone the edges, and lines run through the grommets. If you incur a puncture that the Forespar plug just can't seal, you can jump overboard, and place this tarp or fabric over the hole. Water pressure will shove it right into the hole. You bring the lines up to the deck and tie it off.

You can add Marine-Tex around the perimeter of the hole from inside the boat to really seal it up, or if time allows, you can smear Marine-Tex around the perimeter of the hole from outside, and then slap the belly band over the hole.

I rode nuclear submarines for 11 years and you wouldn't believe how crude some of our damage control equipment was. Marlin, wood plugs, "strongbacks" (cut sections of steel pipe with rubber backing), and "Band-It" kits. Marlin and wood swells when wet. This stuff works but it requires that you be imaginative and quick.

I envision an actual "procedure" on a sailboat would go something like this:

1. "Thunk". sound of inrushing water.
2. Call away the casualty. Immediately wake up those down below.
3. Immediately engage the bilge pump and start the engine, steer a course to land.
4. Get someone on the manual bilge pump as well.
5. Locate the source of the flooding.
6. Assess the best method to stop the flooding and implement it:
a) Wooden bung/Marlin rope.
b) Forespar foam plugs.
c) Grounding.
d) Belly Band.
7. Inform the CG or nearest maritime authority of your situation and position.
8. Don PFD's and the dink or liferaft for escape if necessary.

Assuming that you're successful in plugging the leak, post-casualty procedures might go something like this:

1. De-water the boat as much as possible.
2. Update the CG or maritime authority on your position and status.
3. Work carefully to improve or secure the integrity of the repair.
4. Station a watch to monitor the breach to ensure that the repair holds.
5. Continue by fastest means to the nearest safe port to effect permanent repairs.

Now before some seriously religious world-cruiser jumps my arse for my very imperfect casualty plan, this is just something easy off of the top of my head for local, recreational sailing NOT, NOT, NOT, blue-water sailing. Also, these steps are meant to be taken simultaneously if possible, and the order is not completely representative of their priority. If you're singlehanding, well... you're going to have your hands full trying to do all of this by yourself.

I didn't mention an EPIRB because the OP is just locally cruising around or daysailing and may not want to invest in an EPIRB. An EPIRB isn't going to save your boat anyway and is often an excuse to just give up, and sit around in a rubber boat, waiting for the cavalry to come and get you.

Be resourceful, be determined, don't give up the ship.
__________________
S/V Old Shoes
1973 Pearson 30 #255

Last edited by BubbleheadMd; 11-30-2010 at 06:16 AM.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #4  
Old 11-30-2010
sailingdog's Avatar
Telstar 28
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 43,291
Thanks: 0
Thanked 10 Times in 10 Posts
Rep Power: 13
sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
BTW, I wrote a slightly longer version of my previous post on my blog...
__________________
Sailingdog

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Telstar 28
New England

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)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #5  
Old 11-30-2010
JohnRPollard's Avatar
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Chesapeake
Posts: 5,680
Thanks: 0
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Rep Power: 10
JohnRPollard is a jewel in the rough JohnRPollard is a jewel in the rough JohnRPollard is a jewel in the rough
It's a good question and one that all sailors should give some thought to - even coastal sailors like the O.P. There are lots of good suggestions here, too.

However, the suggestion to ground the boat or steer the boat toward land is debatable. Unless the area where you plan to ground the boat is soft and immediately adjacent, I would not attempt either.

When a boat gets holed or otherwise springs a leak (failed hardware, etc), the VERY FIRST action to be taken by the crew is to bring the boat to a full stop. Stopping the boat dead, will reduce the hydrostatic pressure tremendously and stem the ingress of water significantly. This single action alone may buy you more time than almost all the others combined.

Under power, it's a question of cutting the engines to neutral, but letting them continue to idle. Under sail, it would usually be best to immediately heave to so no time is wasted striking sails.

If after inspection the source of water is found to be offset on the hull, another option available to sailors might be to tack the boat over and heal the boat enough to raise the hole out of the water.

So, I like the idea of having a standing procedure, like Bubblehead's checklist. But I would change #2 to "Stop the boat: Idle engines or heave to", and adjust the other items in the list accordingly.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Pacific Seacraft Crealock 31 #62

NEVER CALLS CRUISINGDAD BACK....CAN"T TAKE THE ACCENT
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #6  
Old 11-30-2010
BubbleheadMd's Avatar
Chastened
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Edgewater/Annapolis
Posts: 2,862
Thanks: 1
Thanked 56 Times in 52 Posts
Rep Power: 5
BubbleheadMd will become famous soon enough
Send a message via Yahoo to BubbleheadMd
You know John, that's a really good point. My "drive towards land" step is borne out of my power boat background and my Navy training.

Comparitively speaking, a sailboat is so slow, that the reward of getting closer to shore is offset by the increase in flooding, so heaving-to may really be better. I think individual circumstances may dictate. If you're really close to a sandy or muddy bottom, I'd go for it. Otherwise, probably not.

Heeling the boat over to get the hole out of the water or higher in the water is a great idea too. As a kid, I holed my 12' aluminum john-boat, and did exactly that to get back home.
__________________
S/V Old Shoes
1973 Pearson 30 #255
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #7  
Old 11-30-2010
JohnRPollard's Avatar
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Chesapeake
Posts: 5,680
Thanks: 0
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Rep Power: 10
JohnRPollard is a jewel in the rough JohnRPollard is a jewel in the rough JohnRPollard is a jewel in the rough
Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
... I think individual circumstances may dictate. ...
BH,

I definitely agree about the "individual circumstances". In the Chesapeake for instance -- with the soft bottom, minimal tide range, and often close proximity of shoal water -- putting your boat aground may actually be a viable strategy (sometimes).

But since we are discussing emergency procedures more generically, it's important to emphasize bringing the boat to a dead stop and slowing the ingress of water. Not everybody will have our luxury of shallow water and a soft bottom immediately nearby.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Pacific Seacraft Crealock 31 #62

NEVER CALLS CRUISINGDAD BACK....CAN"T TAKE THE ACCENT
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #8  
Old 11-30-2010
hellosailor's Avatar
Plausible Deniability
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,611
Thanks: 2
Thanked 87 Times in 85 Posts
Rep Power: 10
hellosailor has a spectacular aura about hellosailor has a spectacular aura about
I would also suggest, start the engine while you still can. Diesels are happy to run until the air intake is submerged but starter motors less likely.

Starting the engine also ensures full voltage for your radio (best range) and any pumps or lights you may need.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #9  
Old 11-30-2010
sailingdog's Avatar
Telstar 28
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 43,291
Thanks: 0
Thanked 10 Times in 10 Posts
Rep Power: 13
sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
+1

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
I would also suggest, start the engine while you still can. Diesels are happy to run until the air intake is submerged but starter motors less likely.

Starting the engine also ensures full voltage for your radio (best range) and any pumps or lights you may need.
__________________
Sailingdog

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Telstar 28
New England

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)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #10  
Old 11-30-2010
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 228
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 6
bacampbe is on a distinguished road
Assuming you can get the boat somewhere for help, then what?

I've been thinking about how to handle a sinking situation on our boat. We're on a smallish lake, so getting the boat to somewhere for help is a reasonable possibility. But our marina does not have haul out capabilities, and the one that does is not open on weekends. I imagine being out for a long weekend, and not being able to get a haul out until Tuesday morning.

It doesn't seem helpful to take the boat home just to have it sink in its slip. I guess one might be able to get a high volume pump at dock. Otherwise, grounding it seems the only option.
__________________
s/v Dancing Days
Beneteau 31
Lewisville Lake, TX
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
docking procedures KeltiC Learning to Sail 70 07-04-2010 02:56 AM
top five cleaners and procedures w1651 General Discussion (sailing related) 1 05-26-2010 07:07 PM
U.S. Customs procedures on Cape Cod? wnor Cruising & Liveaboard Forum 10 08-30-2008 03:06 PM
USCG radio procedures jrd22 General Discussion (sailing related) 88 10-11-2007 04:40 PM
Selling Procedures haist Boat Review and Purchase Forum 2 03-16-2001 06:36 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:02 AM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.