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Author Topic:   Definition of Self Bailing
hardensheetmetal posted 02-23-2006 11:06 AM ET (US)   Profile for hardensheetmetal   Send Email to hardensheetmetal  
We were having a discussion in another thread on what self bailing actually means. the original question was whether a 130 Sport was self bailing.

I know that on all of my previous thirteens and on the eleven, if water acumulated in the boat, you could pull the plug at rest, and most of the water would leave the boat. The amount of water left in the boat was likely dependant on the weight of the motor attached to the transom.

An 11 or 13 with no motor would sit so high aft that much of the water would run toward the bow of the boat slightly. When the amount of water got to be great enough that the boat was weighed down a bit, the water would reach the drain tube, and exit the boat (until the weight was again equalized again). With close to the max HP on the transom, the boat will sit slightly lower aft, allowing a small amount of water to remain in the boat.

I breifly owned a 130, but never got a chance to test how much water remained in the boat, or if it would self bail at rest.

Can anyone clarify if self bailing refers to the boat sitting at rest, or does it mean it will empty itself of water once underway and the plug is pulled (which I would believe is a standard CG regulation for all boats).


Florida15 posted 02-23-2006 11:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
To me , self-bailing means that water won't accumulate when the boat is at rest which means that the deck of the boat is higher than the waterline so that it can drain out without water coming in.
I believe that about any boat will drain when underway with the plug pulled.
Several years ago a friend of mine was fishing in one of those little 12' single skin fiberglass river boats with a 20 hp on it. He was fishing a wide river which could get rough on occasion. A pretty big wave hit him and just about filled the boat up. He said he was scared to move and started slowly bailing. He wasn't making any progress and he said his only hope was pulling the plug. The weight of the water slowed his forward progress to almost nothing. But, he pulled the plug and the water slowly drained out. And nobody in their right mind would call that little boat self-bailing.
ConnorEl posted 02-23-2006 11:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for ConnorEl  Send Email to ConnorEl     
Well, for what it is worth:

A quick look at the Boston Whaler website reveals that all the boat line EXCEPT for the Sport/Montauk lines list the cockpit as self-bailing. So, whatever is the definition, Boston Whaler does not seem to apply it to these smaller boat lines.

Fish Stick posted 02-23-2006 11:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for Fish Stick  Send Email to Fish Stick     
I am not sure what the official definition of self bailing is, but to me, the boats will drain all water from the deck, moving or not, without requiring pumps. There is no need to remove drain plugs.

I think most if not all the Outrage and Dauntless models are self bailing.

I don't consider the 130 truly self bailing because water can accumulate on the deck.

A 130 will drain itself , only if no one is aboard. Pull the center plug and it will drain until there is puddle with about 1/4" of water around the hole.

Get back on the boat without plugging the drain, and water begins rushing in.

This works fine to drain the boat after washing it in a slip, or to keep it from filling with rain while in the water.

It will not drain under way, unless you remove the transom plug. That is a pain and if you come off of plane, the boat starts filling up again.

In a swamped boat, removing the transom plug is not usually the first choice to drain the vessel. Especially if you are not moving fast enough to plane.

I keep a sponge and bucket handy for removing water.

I believe, Whalers are the only boats I have ever seen anyone suggest that removing the drain plug isn't a problem.

Other boats will float with the plug out, but Whaler owners are the only ones goofy enought to actually have a plug pulling party, and flood the deck just because they can.


TC posted 02-23-2006 11:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for TC  Send Email to TC     
Self bailing cockpit is a common thing on medium to large boats. Usually accomplished with scuppers on the transom at deck level. This doesn't help the bilge, which is what I think you guys are discussing. The thing that is unique about a whaler is that the BILGE is self bailing in many of their boats. My montauk only holds about an inch of water above the sump at rest with a 90 HP Mercury.
kingfish posted 02-23-2006 12:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
I have differentiated between self-bailing and self draining such that self-bailing is as Florida 15 describes; the deck is higher than the water line so water that ends up on the deck runs right out of scuppers or drain tubes that sit at or above the water line, while self-draining is like my Outrage 22 or Montauk where the water on the deck runs to sumps the drain tubes to which are below the water line. The sumps in the latter example normally have plugs in their drain tubes that can be removed to run the water out when planing, and/or may have sump pumps. Yet another condition may be called an off-shoot of self-bailing or self-draining: the self-bailing cockpit that ConnorEl describes. Our Parker Sport Cabin has a self-bailing cockpit; it has about a 1" or 1-1/2" curb separating the cockpit deck from the pilothouse deck, (which is considerably lower and below the water line.) Any water that ends up on the cockpit deck, that doesn't run over the curb, flows to the stern and runs out of scuppers that are above the water line. It would take some doing to run water over the curb, like taking green water over the transom.


ConnorEl posted 02-23-2006 12:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for ConnorEl  Send Email to ConnorEl     
Recurring discussion?

Etc. . . . .

Here is a definition: did=4578

Here is an interesting site: html

It seems that most people take the term “self-bailing” to mean that:

1. The sole (or floor) of the cockpit is above the waterline.
2. There are scuppers that are not “plugged” that will drain any water in the cockpit whether the boat is at rest or under way.

Royboy posted 02-23-2006 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Royboy  Send Email to Royboy     
I might as well chime in here, since it was me who got the other thread going about what the definition of Self Bailing is. It stemmed from an ad for a 2000 model 13 Sport that claimed it was "self-bailing". I own one of these and I was interested in how this was accomplished.

I have always thought that self bailing was a condition whereby no action was required of the operator to de-water the boat. It matters not whether the craft is underway or at rest, loaded or empty, max engine or a kid with a paddle making motor-boat noises.

I would agree that the 13 Sport is self-draining, as mine certainly could be described this way. I have even found that I can pull the center plug and stand in just the right spot and all the water will drain out. At rest I can even pull the transom plug, and as long as I don't go back there, not much water comes in. It should be noted, however that a sizable geyser forms directly under the pilot seat if the midships plug is left out while underway. Refreshing, yes, but a bit unconventional.

The way I fugure it, if the operator has to pull a plug, flip a switch, or reach for a bucket, "self-bailing" is not what is occuring, but rather plain old fashioned bailing. If the sump pump kicks on all by itself, as mine does, I'd call it auto de-watering.

Obvious requirements for true self-bailing would be a deck that is above the waterline at all times (or at least most times), and a drain that is always open to the outside of the hull. These openings typically employ some sort of check-valve feature, commonly known as a scupper, although this is only necessary if they are occaisonally submerged.


njwhaler posted 02-23-2006 02:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for njwhaler  Send Email to njwhaler     
To me, self bailing means you can leave your baot in the water while it is raining for 7 days in a row without worrying that it will sink.....period.
pglein posted 02-24-2006 12:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     
To me self bailing means exactly what njwhaler said. The boat, in a static condition, will drain water from any source without concern. Many boats can be left out in the rain without real concern, as they have decks and their bilges have pumps. These are not self bailing. To me, even if the hull develops a leak, a self bailing boat will float, and water will not accumulate in significant quantities in the bilge. To my knowledge, Boston Whalers are the only boats on the planet like this. A classic 13' is self bailing, only if you have no motor, or only a small motor on it. Some water accumulates amidships, but not a significant ammount. I found that with a 9.9 hp outboard, it put just the right amount of weight at the stern to prevent any water from accumulating, yet kept the floor above the waterline, and so it stayed totally dry. Of course, as soon as you step into it, it's a different story.

Pulling the plug while underway to drain water is certainly not specific to Whalers and is in no way "self bailing". Any boat that can achieve a plane (or even a semi-plane) can do this, so long as it has a plug. That is NOTHING special. I've been using that trick since I was 8 years old on plenty of small boats that weren't Whalers. Obviously, the Whaler hull is particularly adept at this, because the likelyhood that you can still run the engine and get on a plane when the boat is full of water, is much higher. But still, if the boat is still floating, and can achieve forward motion, you can drain it by pulling the plug.

I guess the test of whether or not a boat is "self bailing" is if you can pull the keel plug and no water comes in (or only a very small amount).

tucker posted 02-24-2006 05:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for tucker    
surely I am not the only one who has sat in a swamped 13'whaler and emptied it under power. you do not need to be on plane, almost any forward speed will remove the water, all you need is a differential pressure between the water that lays in the boat and the sourounding water.It doesn't take much speed. I got it drained from a total swamp by creeping forward no faster than a few miles(knots)per hour at first and then gradually faster as the weight of the water decreased. I don't know what the definition "self baling" means to anyone else but to me it means my "self" if gonna have to do the bailing one way or another.
njwhaler posted 02-24-2006 08:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for njwhaler  Send Email to njwhaler     
Self bailing is when the BOAT BAILS THE WATER without human intervention. Without placing an 80lb bag of sand in the stern. Without pulling plugs. Without any help from you...just gravity.

Please take it from a guy (ME) who saw his boat being raised out of 12 feet of water after someone stole his batteries (thus no bilge) right before a storm. "Self bailing" is something that needs to happen when you are NOT THERE and without the aid of a bilge pump. THIS IS EXACTLY THE REASON WHY I TOLD MYSLEF I WOULD NEVER BUY ANOTHER BOAT UNLESS IT WAS A WHALER.

deepwater posted 02-24-2006 09:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for deepwater  Send Email to deepwater     
self bailing is when you sit in your boat ,,,not a whaler ,, and you give your girlfriend/wife a bucket and yell gettter done,,
aubv posted 02-24-2006 09:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for aubv  Send Email to aubv     
Royboy writes "It should be noted, however that a sizable geyser forms directly under the pilot seat if the midships plug is left out while underway. Refreshing, yes, but a bit unconventional."

Having just purchased a 130 Sport, I had not noticed this listed in the description of standard features. Is this the bidet option?

Jkcam posted 02-25-2006 04:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jkcam  Send Email to Jkcam     
If you have to pull the plug to let the water out, either at rest or moving, I do not believe the boat is "self-bailing". If the plug is left in, and it continues to rain,etc. there is no bailing going on, unsinkable? yes. Self bailing? No.
Royboy posted 02-27-2006 08:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Royboy  Send Email to Royboy     
"Bidet Feature" makes it sound kinda classy! Too funny.


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