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I know that this is mostly written for yachting, but Kenai posted this on Salty Dogs, and I found it really interesting.

Thought I'd share his post, over here:

How to keep your boat from sinking

Anyone else have any safety pages to read, during this slower season?

Jen
 

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while i was in the process of getting the outboard for my drifter running, it occurred to me that while most power boats these days are required to have level floatation designed into them, for some reason drifters aren't required to have it. i don't really know that drifters aren't required to have it but i surmise this to be the case since i haven't seen a single one that has it. it's something i plan to add to my boat though. i've got room under the fly deck, both seats and transom deck to put in floatation foam. this is two part stuff that you mix together and pour into a space. the reaction causes the stuff to "foam" and then set. i'll have to work out exactly how i'm going to get it into an area that is basically upside down and also work out how to keep it there, but i think it'll be time well spent. with essentially no positive floatation to them, drifters go down like rocks. not so bad in inland rivers where the bank is 10 or 20 yards away (provided you can get to it in whatever current you're in), but definitely a potential issue on bigger water.
 

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Something I have noticed over the years is that people don't pay enough attention to there bilge pumps. I have two 750gph bilge pumps on my boat. After spiking a wave on the columbia and having my boat half full of water was an eye opener for me.

There is nothing scarier than a two foot wall of water hitting you in the chest and filling your boat full of water. Now if any water get's in, I can pump it out quickly.
 

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Ampersat,

I was thinking of adding floatation to my DB but one thought I had made me stop, if it floats, that means that it is free to bounce down the river until it pulverized. If it sinks, it may hang up and be salvageable. Do you have any thoughts on this aspect of the problem?

D.

[ 05-31-2003, 09:47 AM: Message edited by: drhall99 ]
 

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Rebell,

I have two 750gph bilge pumps on my boat. Now if any water get's in, I can pump it out quickly.
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">Keep in mind, that's 24 gallons a minute. A wave over the boat (Tillamook inlet) is going to put several hundred gallons into the boat. The bilge pumps will still be pumping as the boat goes down.

Boats over 20 feet are not required by CG to have floatation. Even that only keeps it at water level so if the boat fills enough that water is coming in over the transom or other spots, time for the CG rescue squad.

If you want to be safe in the big water, get a Whaler or at least a boat that is self bailing. Fish boats like Makos, Whalers, Grady Whites can handle it OK.

What the bilge pumps are good for is 70% of sinkings which are at the dock and due to busted hoses and fittings etc. In that case, if the bilge pumps have power, they can keep the boat afloat. Even there, most small boats are not hooked up to shore power so, once the battery goes, the boat goes down.

Brion
 

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in the now classic "stupid boat tricks" post from last year (well worth your time to go hunt down, by the way), there are several tales of boats "out of control" on the river. most of them are of the "turns out my knot didn't hold" variety (although my favorite is the skipping drift boat tale). anyway, most all of them state that the drift boat did just fine navigating some treacherous piece of water all on its own and was captured by the next boat downstream to be returned to its rightful owner. it seems they don't really need us to maneuver them as much as we like to think.

however, after having posted it my mind started shuffling through the catalog and i can't remember ever hearing a story on the board about a drifter than went down in flat water (big river or bay). i'm wondering really what it would take to swamp a drifter in water like that. maybe a big wake that wasn't given proper respect?
 

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I was actually referring to semi-sunk or swamped drift boats that would only be held up by the added foam. Would they be better off fully sunk to the bottom or semi-sunk?

D.
 

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My driftboat did have foam sheets under the floorboards. I took them out. No matter what the material, they eventually soak up water. They weighed over 50 pounds. My neighbors jet-boat had the same problem. After cutting out all the water laiden foam it weighed about 400 pounds and filled up 8 big black garbage bags. As for driftboats full of water...they are not controllable with oars. Its better to have them resting on the bottom than to have them tumbling down the river and turning into a ball of metal.
 

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never forget my last trip on the lower Deshutes. not to far downstream from the big pine put in. i had no sooner backed in my jetboat when a state cop came running down to the water as i was about ready to go. three guys had sunk there drift boat not to far below a small rapid and asked if i would help pull it out of deeper water and up to the bank. well two of the guys loaded up and we went downstream a couple of miles and there was there driftboat hung up on a sunken sand bar about a third of the way out in the river. so we proceded to throw my river anchor out until it snagged there bow line.once we got the bow line i turned downstream and pulled there drifter to shore. talk about some mighty thankful guys.so i went downriver about ten miles or so fished for awhile. on my return trip upriver here is these same three guys drifting downstream way overloaded and drunk as hell, offering me a beer :laugh:
 

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The purpose of no floatation in a driftboat is so it will sink if it dumps rather than continuing to float semi submerged pinning and crushing any rowers and passengers that get between it and rocks/trees/etc. Drift boats are designed for one purpose, guys like me are the ones that use them for everything from rivers to lakes to bays.
Bill
 

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In open sleds the bench or box in the middle that supports the sides, drill 1" to 1 1/2" holes or take the top off if possible. Mix and pour in some two part flotation foam. Two years ago in an unfamiliar river My friend and I ripped a hole 18" long and 10" wide in his bow section. The same rootwad pulled the outboard hard enough to separate the transome on the right side. With water pouring in the front and the rear of the boat the foam in the middle was the only thing that stopped us from sinking even with the weight the old outboard on the back. Foam works!!!!!!
Be safe and don't forget to wear you're pfd
 
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