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post #1 of 11 Old 09-12-2017 Thread Starter
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Boat leaks

My boat has a couple of leaks, I know this because every couple of weeks a have water in my bilge, I can't see how the water is getting, has anybody got any tips to find leaks in boats?


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post #2 of 11 Old 09-12-2017
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Re: Boat leaks

You don't mention your boat. Some common areas, other than hatches and portlights, are the shaft stuffing box, the rudder tube stuffing box, running down the inside of the mast (keel stepped mast), and the hull/deck joint.

Does water show up mostly after a heavy rain, or just sitting in the water with no rain?

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post #3 of 11 Old 09-12-2017
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Keel stepped mast? If so consider that as a source..
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post #4 of 11 Old 09-12-2017
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Re: Boat leaks

Geeze, if I came back to my boat and it didnít have water in the bilge Iíd be worried

As others have said, lots of sources. All boats are sinking, itís just a question of rate. Depending on the boat, having some water in the bilge is no big deal. Of course, it is a lot of water, then itís time to worry.

Standard source are stuffing box, mast (keel stepped), leaks in ports or deck fittings or joint. Worrisome would be thru-hulls or keel bolts. Very worrisome would be something else.
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-12-2017
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Re: Boat leaks

Get a roll of paper towels. Before you leave the boat for the week (or however long you leave it for) place or tape or whatever a paper towel at each location that you suspect might be leaking.

Next time you come back, it will be obvious whether the paper towel had gotten wet while you were away.

You may have to do this multiple times to track down the actual source of the leak, but it's the best method I know of for tracking down the mysterious ones that only leak when you're not around to see.

Leaks that only happen when you're not around are (in my experience) usually above the waterline and the result of rainwater getting in ... since most people who can choose when to sail don't visit their boats when it's rainy.
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-13-2017
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Re: Boat leaks

Guess the first question would be is it fresh or salt water ? (presuming your not in a freshwater lake),
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-13-2017
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Re: Boat leaks

+1 on the taste test for boats living in salt water. Best method ever for finding deck leaks is to use a pressurised common garden sprayer and hit all the suspect looking areas on the deck one at a time from different angles. Don't be surprised when a found leak exits the boat at a totally different location to the source.
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-13-2017
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Re: Boat leaks

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Originally Posted by ReefMagnet View Post
+1 on the taste test for boats living in salt water. Best method ever for finding deck leaks is to use a pressurised common garden sprayer and hit all the suspect looking areas on the deck one at a time from different angles. Don't be surprised when a found leak exits the boat at a totally different location to the source.
That _seems_ like it should work.

However, I have a leak around my mast somewhere (big surprise, I know) that I can't reproduce with a hose no matter how much water I spray at any angle. Yet a strong storm will bring drips or even a tiny stream every time.

Obviously, there's _some_ angle that I haven't tried. I just can't figure out what it is. The mast is coming off this winter, so I'm going to pull off the crown plate and visually inspect everything.

I know ... no boat is 100% dry, but this one is SO close! This is the only leak I have left as far as I can tell, so I'm determined to stop it!
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-13-2017
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Re: Boat leaks

Boats with keel stepped masts have water which comes into the boat via mast halyard exit holes.

First test the water to see if it's salt or fresh assuming you are in salt water.

If fresh and keel stepped... Mast is one culprit

If you have a pressurized water system.. note if the pump cycles on when the faucets are not opened up and water used. Cycling on indicates that there is a leak in the pressure water system... cracked hose, poorly clamped connection... broken seal in pump or breach in the water tank.

Check fresh water engine hoses

Check seals at ports and natches

If salt water it could be a fault in the raw water system of the engine.

Seal at deck fitting is another possibility

or a faulty seal at a thru hull or seacock

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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post #10 of 11 Old 09-13-2017
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Re: Boat leaks

Next time you leave the boat liberally sprinkle baby powder under any potential leak.

When you return look for water tracks, the leak will be obvious .
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