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23 WALKAROUND Notched Transom Swamping
|Author||Topic: 23 WALKAROUND Notched Transom Swamping|
posted 08-09-2015 09:52 AM ET (US)
Recently I was fishing the south side of Montauk in conditions of no spectacularly big waves, but a decent swell. Wind and wave conditions were such that the boat wanted to drift stern first into the waves. Some waves were splashing over the stern into the splash well. If the splash well didn't drain before the next wave came over, the water would then spill over into the cockpit. I attribute this to the splash well drains being grossly undersized at only two 3/4-inch-drains present. Given the amount of water the splash well holds, they should be much larger, maybe 1-1/2-inch, which would quadruple the drain capacity. I also had 150-gallons of fuel and four people worth another 800-lbs in the boat.
I didn't think much of the water on the deck, as I presumed it was just running out of the scuppers. WRONG! After a while, the boat didn't feel right, its rocking motion was sluggish, and the waves seemed to come in more easily and not drain out. I looked in the cabin and the berth cushions were nearly floating! Turned on the bilge pumps and starting pumping out as well as getting underway so that the fish well drains would also help evacuate the water. Apparently the automatic pumps were not working. Found a bad ground that fixed that problem. But how did nearly 18" of water get into the bilge in the first place?
As far as I can see, it overflowed the fish wells and into the bilge. I never plug the fish wells, as they usually only have a couple inches of water in them even with a full load of fuel. If water gets into the forward bilge, the only way to get it out is through the forward sump in the cabin. There is a bulkhead between the bilge area under the seats and the cabin, with just a small 1/2" passage between the 2 areas, so once the pump evacuates the cabin, water continues to trickle into the sump through the tiny passage.
Solutions: 1) enlarge splash well drains
posted 08-09-2015 11:59 AM ET (US)
You need to keep all the plugs in the bottom, forward bulkhead and rear bulkhead of the fish lockers. That will solve the problem. Been there, done that. I believe David Hart encountered the same thing on his non-Whaler Drive 23 also.
posted 08-09-2015 05:41 PM ET (US)
I know about the 2 plugs in the fish boxes, one that drains into the rear bilge (always plugged), the other that goes out the bottom (always unplugged). When I'm running, the clamshells on the bottom of the boat create a Venturi that sucks the water out of the fish boxes. I always leave them out so that any water, rain or otherwise, drains out of the boat. Is there another drain I don't know about?
posted 08-09-2015 06:58 PM ET (US)
Yes there is another plug that is in the forward bulkhead. When you are at rest the lockers fill with water and if either the forward, or rear bulkhead plugs are not in place, water will drain into the bilge.
We NEVER leave the plugs out of the bottom of the fish locker unless the boat is on the trailer. This hull (and most post classics) is not like a Classic where you can leave plugs out while at rest in the water.
posted 08-09-2015 07:19 PM ET (US)
Where is the plug in the forward bulkhead? Do you access it under the hatch between the helm seats? I've been contorted in there quite a few times and have never noticed a plug. The only place I could see a possible plug would be an approximately 1/2" diameter passage through the bulkhead into the. Sump (and subsequently the cabin). If you were to plug this passageway, you would create a 3rd bilge area and a 3rd pump.
posted 08-09-2015 07:27 PM ET (US)
I will have to take some photos and videos when I am on the boat next Wednesday. But yes, we plug that forward 1/2" drain tube too.
In the mean time, I would not leave the plugs out in the bottom. That will solve your problem.
posted 08-09-2015 09:04 PM ET (US)
Curious, why are there so many plugs in the fish lockers and why does it drain into the bilge?
posted 08-10-2015 09:31 AM ET (US)
I just don't understand how leaving the plugs in would solve the problem. If the plugs are in and you take a large wave over the stern, it would fill up the fish boxes and then onto the deck. Enough water, it somehow overflows the fish boxes and into the (bilge behind the plugged bulkhead), where it's trapped because there is no access to the forward sump/bilge pump because it is cordoned off because of the plug. The only way this would work is if you have a third bilge pump to pump out the area behind the bulkhead that is under the helm. Water in this area wouldn't make it to the rear bilge until the level rose to nearly the deck height (about 2 feet high, which is what I experienced). This sounds like a dangerous situation to me without the third pump in this area if you isolate it.
Little blues- the fish boxes have a plug that, when removed, allows the fish boxes to drain into the rear bilge, where it can be pumped out. There was also an option for a separate pump to pump out the fish boxes directly. I just leave the thruhull plugs out and the bilge drain plugs in, as the static water level is only about 1-3" of water, depending on fuel and passenger load. This also keeps any rainwater from accumulating in the fish boxes. The thruhull drains also have clamshells in front of them which creates a Venturi effect when underway. At 20 mph, these create a powerful suction.
posted 08-10-2015 10:03 AM ET (US)
When I owned a 1990 25 whaler walkaround the fish lockers (4) all drained to the bildge. Never caused a nightmare problem but I was also wondering why there was never a thru drain to exit via the sides of the boat. Even if half submerged water would just circulate through. It would at least give an option to either plug them completely or pull them to allow water in and out during rough sea when occasionally some waves break over the stern or sides. To be honest it didn't happen all that often in the boat I owned it was just so wide and stable.
posted 08-10-2015 11:53 AM ET (US)
One option for the 23 Walkaround is a macerator pump that removes water and fish stuff from the two fish boxes. Both boxes are connected by hose to one pump and this pump discharges over board. This option eliminates the boxes from directly draining into the bilge.
My 23 does not have the macerator but the tubes that drain directly to the bilge are connected together so the water runs back and forth between the two fish boxes not into the bilge. I also have a bilge pump installed in the port fish box, this pump removes the water from both fish boxes. If I turn off the pump and pull the drain plugs, the fish boxes will fill with water at rest and drain when underway.
If the fish boxes drained directly into the bilge, I would never leave the plugs out at rest or under way.
This weekend I was surprised to find my 23 Walkaround whaler drive riding lower in the water than normal. We had a couple of good rain events since the last time I was on her. The main aft bilge pump failed. It appears that water filled the bilge and ran into the fish boxes, the fish box bilge pump removed this water from the boxes thus stopping the water from filling the bilge past this point. The water did not go anywhere that it could do damage. The forward sump was dry.
I fear if I did not have that fish box bilge pump and I had left her floating with the fish box drain plugs removed she would have taken on a lot of water. As the level of the hull lowed from the weight of the water in the bilge at some point the fish box through hulls would actually start to bring water into the hull.
I also find it ironic that I have wondered and bitched about, why Boston Whaler did not seal these fish boxes from the bilge, but now I will never doubt that design again.
I strongly recommend that all the 23 walkaround owner's stop draining the fish boxes into the bilge by connecting the two drain hoses together and add a fish box bilge pump.
posted 08-10-2015 01:49 PM ET (US)
The fish locker bilge pump is definitely one way to go about it that would not cost all that much and work without having to make any structural arrangements other then one screw into the glass. I was contemplating it because when the plugs are open water will be in that bilge and circulate with the main sump pump on all day and night. A for sure way to burn a pump out in a hurry and leave the battery(s) in rough shape possibly dead.
I would have much rather seen a drain out the side and be done with it but now its too late and that would or could be a structural nightmare as a modification.
posted 08-10-2015 03:14 PM ET (US)
I don't have a 23, but I have had a solution from one of my boats that I found helpful and added pump capacity in the bilge.
Specifically, a bilge pump inside a plastic box that held ~2-3 gallons of capacity and had appropriate screens/baffle for scales/crap. (This is akin to a shower sump pump on a boat.)
Specifically, tie the two fish boxes together with appropriate plumbing (Y connection). This should be straight gravity feed into the plastic box.
The plastic box will have two compartments (pump/waste), separated by a small baffle. The pump side would have the pump (with screen) and float switch mounted accordingly. The waste side will have nothing in it (crud eventually), and a low baffle (with a few holes) will allow heavy debris to collect and not clog the pump. (I cleaned the waste side twice per year (1/2 through summer and in fall/winterizing.)
Importantly, the pump side will have an open top. The opening allows quick access to the pump itself, and allows for overflow into bilge (should something go wrong). And equally important, should flooding occur, once the bilge water height is above the top of the box, this fish box pump adds additional pumping capacity.
posted 08-10-2015 07:11 PM ET (US)
6992whaler- I never plug the fish wells and have never had any rain water in either bilge, even after a heavy rain. The static water level in the wells is only 1-4 inches when parked at the dock, depending on how much fuel is in her. Given that the automatic pumps have never worked, every time I use the boat, first thing I always do is turn on both pumps, but they never pump for more than a few seconds, hence I never knew they weren't working automatically. I normally take it out 3 or 4 times a week, sometimes 5. I avoid going out on weekends so as not to deal with Googans or weekend warriors. Not to mention the idiots in the cruisers that run through the fishing fleet sometimes passing less than 20 feet away at 30mph. Morons!!
Re fish wells- when I'm running, I rinse them out with the raw water wash down. The water is pulled out as fast as it goes in.
posted 08-11-2015 02:24 PM ET (US)
After exchanging emails with another member here, I believe the reason I'm able to safely leave the fish box plugs out is because my boat is 3-400 pounds lighter in the transom than everyone else. My engine is around 650 pounds including oil and prop, plus I moved my batteries from the 2 side compartments near the stern to the bilge area beneath the passenger side helm seat. If you've repowered with twins, most of you have gone from about 800 pounds on the transom to close to or over 1000 pounds. When full of fuel, this would probably put the static level close to the floor or nearly overflowing the fish boxes, which would also overflow into the front bilge area.
When I'm around 1/4 tank or less, my trim tabs are partially out of the water and the fish boxes are nearly empty of any water.
posted 08-11-2015 02:32 PM ET (US)
I agree I do not need to plug my fish box drain plugs either.
If my boat was set up to drain the fish boxes into the bilge I think this would have made the situation much worse.
I want to keep that water out of the bilge, get it over the side.
posted 08-11-2015 03:50 PM ET (US)
6992whaler- I don't understand why if you leave the fish boxes unplugged how you'll end up with water in the bilge. Any rainwater that didn't find its way out the scuppers would just go into the fish wells and out through the bottom, maintaining the same static level as you started with before it rained. I think you create problems by plugging the drains, creating a need to pump the water out. I don't think there's any route the water can take to get into the bilge other than overflowing the fish boxes.
posted 08-11-2015 03:57 PM ET (US)
When I say leave the drains unplugged, I plug the hole in the rear side holes which drain into the bilge. If you left this plug out, you'd definitely flood the rear bilge and probably overflow the fish boxes into the forward bilge, definitely swamping the boat.
posted 08-11-2015 05:47 PM ET (US)
I forget about plunging the rear (direct to bilge drain holes)
Because mine don't drain into the bilge.
Yes the fish boxes will fill up even with the water line of the boat if you leave the through hull plugs out. fortunately that is normally about 3 inches lower than the top of the fish boxes.
If all works like it should any water that runs into the fish boxes from the deck will drain out, maintaining the same level as the waterline on the outside of the hull. But if something causes the hull to go lower in the water by about 3 inches the fish boxes will now over flow the top of the boxes and drain directly into the bilge.
That is the scenario I had in reverse last week, when the hull filled enough that the bilge water ran over the top of the fish boxes and filled them. Luckily I had a bilge pump in the boxes that stopped the water form advancing any further.
posted 08-11-2015 07:41 PM ET (US)
In the walk around series boats including the classic wide beam models with fish boxes the bilge is very large space that can obtain a great deal of water. I worked it out to be several hundreds of pounds of water weight in that one area.
There are thru hull drain plugs that are roughly about a few inches above water line that drain from the bilge in between the drive of the boat if its equipped with one. The problem is with all that weight in water and the engines, as well whatever weight you carry on the boat in the stern its not necessarily going to drain out in a hurry. The sump pump is your only defense.
In extreme rough seas like a following sea water can break over the stern and swamp the deck. if it gets into you fish box with an open box drain its going into the bilge, thats one thing to think about. Any deck water in my old boat would runoff to a channel separated from the gunnel walls by a few inches then directed out two separate thru hull drains located in each corner. It was designed that way for offshore use. Thats the way Whaler did them on the classic walkaorund series wide beam boats. Not sure if the Reebok models were like this.
posted 08-12-2015 02:32 AM ET (US)
Good way to prevent possible swamping scenarios becoming a dangerous situation is installing large capacity bilge pumps with float switches. On boats with closed transoms it's a good idea to mount an additional aft deck mounted pump to help get the H2O out as quickly as possible.
posted 09-03-2015 09:27 PM ET (US)
Here is a video showing the drain set up on our 23 Walkaround's fish lockers.
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