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How to Keep Your Boat From Flooding

A leak in a boat's hull isn't the hilarious and chaotic affair it is in comedies. In fact, a calm response is necessary to prevent catastrophe. Here's what you need to know if your boat springs a leak and how to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Learn How to Plug Leaks

Stop as soon as you realize you've sprung a leak and locate the source. If you can dry the hole sufficiently, duct tape can serve as an emergency repair. Depending on the material your boat is made from, you might prefer fiberglass tape. Canvas, manila rope, and rags may also work to plug the leak. Silicone putty is useful because you can hand mold it into any hole, even if the source of the leak is wet.

You can purchase wooden or silicone plugs that come in sets of various sizes. The plugs are tapered at one end, allowing you to insert them and tap them into place. The materials mentioned above may still be necessary if the plugs can't fit the hole, however.

Use Pumps

Submersible pumps are even more useful if you have a smaller boat. There are electric and manual bilge pumps, the latter requiring you to pump a lever to keep your boat from taking on too much water. The pump will work better if you can first plug the leak.

It's best if your boat is equipped with both types of pumps. Furthermore, you can also keep a hand bailer on board to assist the other pumps or if they fail. You may use any container to remove water from your boat, but pumps do this more efficiently. A bilge pump works better with smaller boats. A gas-powered dewatering pump is better for large boats.

Preparation Is Key

The advice above relies on you having the proper materials before anything goes wrong. You cannot fashion any sort of plug if you did not prepare before your boat left shore in the first place. Before heading out, check that your pumps are in good working order while it's still on the trailer. This is a good time to check the hull for any leaks. Otherwise, you might end up watching your boat sink. Finally, you must know how to use these tools. Boater safety classes can teach you how to use pumps.

Owning a boat can provide hours of fun, but it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared for any bad situations. Preparedness ensures that a small leak doesn't become a big problem. This will help you to make sure that you can have the best time while also being safe when taking your boat out on the water.

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