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Author Topic:   Water in my Whaler
Dauntless17 posted 11-14-2001 07:14 AM ET (US)   Profile for Dauntless17   Send Email to Dauntless17  
I own a 1995 17' Dauntless. I use it primarily on Lake Erie. It seems the opening for the engine cables near the transom is too low. I regularly gets water in it when we are out in anything bigger than 3' waves. After the water gets in there, it fills up the area under the starboard rear seat. It then proceeds through the next cable hole up to the front of the boat. Water gets in the gas tank area and in the storage areas under the front seats. ...a real bummer when all our gear gets wet.

Has anyone with a similar boat had this same problem, and more importantly, found a way to fix it? Thanks...

jimh posted 11-14-2001 07:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am not familiar with the Dauntless stern.

From your description it sounds like there is an opening in the motor well area that allows water to flow into the interior of the boat.

In most Whalers I have seen, the engine well is completely sealed and drains overboard. I think they call it a "well" because is it expected that water will enter there, but it can only drain out via drain holes in the transom to the sea.


Dauntless17 posted 11-14-2001 09:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dauntless17  Send Email to Dauntless17     
There are drains in the transom for the water to drain out of the well, but there is also a hole in the side of the well where the engine steering cables and the gas/oil lines run from the console to the engine. It is a big hole, maybe 5" diameter. It allows the water to run from the well into a storage compartment under the right rear seat. Once that compartment fills up, it continues thru the other hole in that compartment (following the cables) to the forward area underneath the decking. This is where the gas tank is located and is connected to the forward storage areas. I'm not even sure how & if it drains out.

I've thought about putting ball scuppers on the drain for the storage area under the seat. It currently has a rubber plug that is not removed until we pull the boat out of the water at the end of the day on the water.

DCPeters posted 11-14-2001 10:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for DCPeters  Send Email to DCPeters     
Isn't there normally a "boot" sealing around the wires and the hole?
Ventura16 posted 11-14-2001 11:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura16  Send Email to Ventura16     
My 2000 16-Ventura (the current version of the Dauntless 17) has a rubber boot around the cable bundle where it passes through the motorwell wall. The rubber boot is fastened tightly around all the cables and hoses with cable ties for a fairly secure seal. I'm sure a bit of water gets through occasionally, but not much. Sounds like your boot is could probably fabricate one out of a piece of rubber or plastic...or maybe order the real deal from a Whaler dealer.


Dauntless17 posted 11-15-2001 12:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dauntless17  Send Email to Dauntless17     
There is a rubber boot, but it is very loose fit around the cables. It is too short to fasten a cable tie around. I looked in the West Marine catalog. They have something similar to what you are describing on your Ventura. I will send away for one. I guess I will have to disconnect all of the cables and hoses to swap it out with the existing boot. It is encouraging to hear that it works on your boat. Thanks for the idea.

Any idea if the existing water will drain out from the gas tank compartment, how??

By the way, in `95 the Ventura was still called a Dauntless. My Dauntless is a dual console and would now be called a Ventura.

jimh posted 11-15-2001 09:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Although it will be quite a project to remove all the engine cables, you really want to install that rubber boot or bellows to seal this big hole in the motor well.

One of the trade offs of the post-classic Whaler boat interior is that while they provide interior storage spaces, lockers, seats, etc., these same spaces become sumps where water can collect.

In the classic Boston Whaler designs, there are several important differences. First, the motor well is really a well, it is water tight, and can fill and drain without admitting any water to the interior of the boat, unless the water rises above the level of the dam on the forward side of the well.

If the well is flooded to overfilling, the cockpit of the boat fills with water, but there is a cockpit sump area which collects all this water. The sump has a drain to the sea or a pump to evacuate the water.

In general, the classic Boston Whaler has the cockpit floor positioned above the waterline, and any water in the cockpit will rapidly drain into the sump. If there are lockers, they each have drains in them to empty any water that collects overboard. With the exception of the forward centerline locker located in the deepest part of the boat, all these lockers can have their drain plugs removed at all times and no water will be admitted. As the centerline forward locker is well below the waterline, you cannot leave its drain plug out, of course.

Even the cockpit sump drain plug can be left out. The sump will fill with water but will stop with the water level contained in the sump. Many people run their classic Boston Whaler boats without the drain plugs in the sump!

In comparison, the classic cockpit/motor well arrangement does not admit water to the interior unless flooded above the dam level, and collects and drains this water into a central sump without trapping it in any lockers or storage areas.

It is possible in a classic Boston Whaler boat for the water to flow forward from the sump area into the central cavity of the gasoline tank or through the control cable tude, but generally the stern-down trim that results from having a lot of water in the boat does not permit the water to flow very far forward in either of these passages.

Ventura16 posted 11-15-2001 09:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura16  Send Email to Ventura16     
I've never spent any time on classic Whalers jimh, so excuse my ignorance if I get this wrong, but that sounds very much like the situation on my 16-Ventura. The only exception is the absence of the cockpit sump area that you describe.

My motorwell is a well-defined and separate area with 2 scuppers that drain directly through the transom. Any water which comes into the motorwell (from either waves or backwash) rapidly exits via these scuppers. There is a gasketed hatch in the motorwell to provide access to the bilge area. There are also gasketed hatches under each rear quarter seat which provide access to the same bilge area. The bilge pump is located in the deepest part of the bilge just forward of the transom. This is also the location of the garboard drain plug. The starboard hatch provides access to the battery box and the engine cabling. The port hatch is basically open to the bilge and can either be used for storage or an optional livewell.

The cockpit floor is above the waterline and the cockpit drains through 2 large scuppers at the base of the rear quarter seats. These scuppers connect from the drains to the transom via large hoses which are accessible through the seat hatches. At the transom, they use the "flapper" type seal to prevent backwash.

The rear end of the gas tank and the access tube for cabling is accessible via the bilge. I guess it is possible for water to get under the tank, but since my boat has the same "bow-up" stance that you describe, any water in that area would drain immediately into the bilge.
Admittedly, the bilge area is below the waterline, but there isn't much access for water to enter.

To answer your question, Dauntless 17, I would try jacking or lifting the bow up with the drain plugs removed and leave it that way for a while. I think that any water which has gone forward would drain out over a period of an hour or two. Good Luck!


dgp posted 11-15-2001 11:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
I used to have one of those boats but it was a '97. As I understand, the '95 model had a deeper motor cutout than the '96 and '97 years and used a 20" shaft motor.
Why don't you leave the plug out of the starboard underseat storage compartment? That way any water that gets in there will drain out. Or put a small bilge pump in there.
One of our forum members, Mark Gallagher, has one so maybe he can contribute to this discussion.
Dauntless17 posted 11-15-2001 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dauntless17  Send Email to Dauntless17     
My setup sounds very similar to Ventura16's. I have a contained moterwell with open 1" drain holes thru the transom. There is hole (with boot) in the starboard side of the motorwell for the cables and hoses. There is also a square panel in the floor of the motorwell (about 12"x8"). I have never opened it. I don't have the boat here, but I don't remember there being any screws or noticable way to remove it. I assume this could be the access to the bilge area you are describing. Neither of the areas under the rear seats have any kind of access panels inside.

My bilge pump is located forward of the motorwell in a storage area under the deck. It is below the waterline, but is not connected to the gas tank/bilge compartment. As far as I know, there is not an additional bilge pump in the gas tank/bilge compartment. Also, I don't have a drain plug in the very bottom of the transom where you would traditionally expect one to be in order to drain the bilge. All of my drain plugs are near the waterline, except for the one right next to the bilge pump in the storage area under the deck. Then again, this drain does not connect to the gas tank compartment.


Dauntless17 posted 11-15-2001 07:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dauntless17  Send Email to Dauntless17     
Well, I figured it out. The original dealer who rigged the boat drilled the hole in the motor well. It was not factory. Not only did they drill it way too low, they didn't have to drill it at all. There is already a depression between the rear seat cover and the rim of the motor well for cables. It's about 8" right above the hole they drilled. Stupid! What I'll have to do is pull off all the cables, re-route them thru the depression, and cover up the old hole with some kind of nylon cover. Hopefully I can find one that doesn't look too shlocky.

No wonder noone else was having this problem... Thanks for all of your help. Sorry for the confusion.


Tom W Clark posted 11-15-2001 07:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Dauntless17, one idea for "patching" your hole would be to install a Beckson deck plate similar to the others in your boat. Beckson makes a 4" deck plate which has an outside diameter of 6.125". I don't know if you have room for that but if you do it would look like it belonged there and might conceivably come in handy some day.
jimh posted 11-15-2001 08:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Just curious: perhaps Warren (Dauntless17) could mention how long the installer dealer had been handling the Boston Whaler line of boats.
Mark Gallagher posted 11-17-2001 12:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mark Gallagher  Send Email to Mark Gallagher     
I think I can answer your questions since I have a 95 Dauntless 17 and also have several water issues. First off, the 96, 97 models had a transom configuration change. You mention a dealer cut hole for the cables. Mine has that hole with a boot. I'm not sure the dealer cut it though. I also have the opening area under the starboard rear seat but don't think your steering cables/wiring/fuel lines should go through there. I think it is a vent area. I think the steering cable would have to bend upward at too much angle to pass through that opening.

Now, to move on. I too notice water under the access plate to my fuel tank after a hard rain or if I wash the floor of the boat with a lot of water. That area under the floor also connects to the storage locker where your battery is located and the front under seat storage area.

I think water can get into that area from numerous places; deck plates, storage cover seals, and maybe up the cables from the transom but I think that's the least of your water intrusion.

Open your rear floor storage locker and go to your bilge area. Is there a white plastic plug there? Not the regular rubber drain plug but in addition to. Mine has one and I always leave it out. It drains the fuel tank area but I know it isn't 100% effective.
I also heard that some early models didn't have it.

I have tilted my boat bow upward and had water come out of that area plug and if you remove the rubber plug next to the bilge it will obviously drain out the bottom if the boat is on the trailer.

I've used rags to dry up the other areas and evn the top of the fuel tank area. I don't like water laying anywhere it shouldn't. I leave the tank access cover off on dry days to help air it out and evaporate. I always make sure it is completely dry before the winter. You don't want any water freezing and cracking/damaging anything.

I think this is a flaw in design but all boats have some quirks and I've heard a lot about water getting where it shouldn't.
Well that's my experience and tips. I think I may one year pull the entire deck cover off the fuel tank and have a good look at that area and do a little redesign on the drain action.


Dauntless17 posted 11-19-2001 11:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dauntless17  Send Email to Dauntless17     
This past weekend I rerouted all of the cables and hoses thru the cutout under the seat. It is a pretty tight bend for the steering cable though... I had to pull the engine off to re-route the steering cable. Everything works OK.

I could be wrong about this hole being cut by the dealer. If it was from the factory, I'm even more dissapinted. The hole the cables used to go thru is 3" in diameter. The smallest required cutout I could find for a Beckwith deck plate was 4.5". The 3" hole I have is finished off pretty nicly, so I did not want to cut it bigger. I could not find anything in a marine catalog that would make a good cover for the existing hole. I decided to use a white nylon cutting board (Wal-Mart $5.00) and cut it to size with a band saw. I'll screw it in using the existing hole from the boot & seal it up with 5200.

As far as the drainage for the gas tank area, I have all the same problems as Mark. I do not have a drain hole in my staroage area though. Mark, if you were able to take a picture, I'd like to see it. I think before next spring I'll be pulling the deck cover off also & make some mods.


Mark Gallagher posted 11-19-2001 08:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mark Gallagher  Send Email to Mark Gallagher     

I still don't think your steering cable and wiring and fuel lines should go through the under seat opening. I think you need the boot and use the original hole opening. You can probably order the boot from a Whaler dealer.

I am finally getting a digital camera for Christmas and will take a photo of my boot/ cable area and also the floor storage area plug that drains the fuel tank area. I'm covered for the Winter so remind me in the Spring, I'll take the photos and e-mail them to you. You can probably install that drain pretty easily and it will solve most of your water collection issues.

I'd really consider moving the steering cable back to its original location as it shouldn't have any extreme bends and will probably bind.


Dauntless17 posted 11-19-2001 09:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dauntless17  Send Email to Dauntless17     

Thanks for your concern, but I think I'm gonna give it a go. If it starts to bind, I'll have a good excuse to go hydraulic ;)

I look forward to your pictures. I'm gonna contact my local Boston Whaler dealer and see if I can get them to install a drain similar to yours on their ticket. Seems riduculous for there to not be a drain, especially if they started putting them in later in `95.


Jerry Townsend posted 11-23-2001 06:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
My boat is a '96 17 OR and configured similarily to the Dauntless - with the recessed cutout for the cables/hoses, etc. I was concerned regarding water getting into the gas tank region via the sump/bilge area (I had the open drain freeze up and the sump/bilge fill with ice/water). I called BW and learned that on my boat there is not a drain from the gas tank area. That surprises me - but then I have been surprised before. He also said that unless a lot of water got into that area, there should not be a problem. I have since thought of placing a tube to the bottom of the fuel tank area that permits me to evacuate that area of any liquids.

In view of the comments and posts made regarding water in the gas tank region, BW should consider providing some means of draining that region.

And frankly, Dauntless17, I would consider taking your boat back to that "dealer" and telling them to properly plug the hole - but then, they have pretty well defined their value as a dealer and as to their being knowledgable about BW boats. -- Jerry/Idaho

Richard Quinlivan posted 11-23-2001 08:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Richard Quinlivan  Send Email to Richard Quinlivan     
I have a 95 17 dauntless and have had all the problems referred to. I have pretty well solved them. The hole from the starboard rear storage compartment to the motor well is done at the factory. My dealer installed a boot around the hole. It was a slit boot which he sealed using the silocone seal that you use foe tubs, etc. I installed another boot where the wires and cables enter the under deck area to try to keep the water out. I also run with the plug removed from that compartment so it drains. with all that it still gets wet under the floor in the fluel tank and forward console areas. I then discovered that the later boats had a drain from the under deck area to the under floor storage area. My dealer, ith BW authorization installed such a drain on my boat. Water still gets under the floor but now it can get out. I just tip it up on the trailer when it has rained and let it all drain out. I also worry about the under fuel tank area but I don't know what I could do about that short of pulling the tank.

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