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  1995 Outrage 21 water in bilge

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Author Topic:   1995 Outrage 21 water in bilge
Frank O posted 01-20-2013 01:05 PM ET (US)   Profile for Frank O   Send Email to Frank O  
For quite some time I've been trying to run to ground the tendency of my 1995 Outrage 21 to accumulate a lot of water in the bilge below the sternwell. The water seems to accumulate primarily (and rapidly) when the boat is underway at moderate to high speed -- not so much at harbor speed, and not at all sitting in the slip.

I've gone through some of the obvious items such as making sure that plugs are in place for the fish lockers, etc. It occurred to me that water might be getting through the sternwell hatch (i.e. the hatch directly underneath the outboard), but I've had buddies watch this area carefully while underway and they say it appears to be dry. Still, the hatch is old and slightly warped, so I'll probably replace it and reinstall the frame it latches onto with new sealant.

The rubber flaps on the boat's scuppers look tired, so I was thinking of replacing them, even through I'm not sure what pathway the water would be taking if it's getting in there. (The deck was recently reinstalled with new sealant after a fuel tank replacement.) I was also thinking of switching to the scuppers that use a ball rather than a rubber flap, but the owner of one local marine shop told me the scuppers would have to extend out several inches from the hull. Is this true? Has anyone installed these on a boat similar to mine?

I guess if all else fails, I could mount a GoPro and dive light in the bilge area to see if I can tack down the path that the water's taking.

pete r posted 01-20-2013 06:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for pete r  Send Email to pete r     
I've seen those large scupper ball valves. I was going to install on of those on an old timber boat I was restoring. I was told they worked efficienly because being a large ball, about 1" in diameter, meant there was sufficient back pressure from the water to create an effective seal.

They are not cheap, I ended up using a simple rubber lab cork with a string attached for now.

retired posted 01-20-2013 11:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for retired    
From your description, it sounds like water is being sucked into the bilge area.
Is the bilge outlet by chance under water when you are travelling fast?
By chance, is there water somewhere else in the hull, that will drain into the bilge when the front of the boat is elevated?

I installed the Flow-Max Ball Scuppers on my 98 Conquest 21' last year. It was a very simple installation. Had to take out 4 screws to remove the old rubber flap type scuppers. Put the ball scuppers in place and replaced the 4 screws. Cost per scupper was just over $10.

pete r posted 01-21-2013 04:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for pete r  Send Email to pete r     
I'll keep that in mine if I have similar problems on my 21' conquest
HawaiianWhaler posted 01-21-2013 10:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for HawaiianWhaler  Send Email to HawaiianWhaler     
Aren't scuppers connected by hoses to deck and other drains and don't fish boxes drain directly overboard? So how would any water backflowing through a scupper end up in the bilge unless a hose was leaking or a hose connection was faulty? Those possible causes are simple to check for.

But, since the scuppers are normally above the water line, especially when underway and more so at high speed, when Frank O reports the water accumulating aft, it's even more unlikely that the source of that water is backflow through the scuppers.

Given that the water only accumulates aft when the bow is lifted, it then seems likely that the water is already in the bilge and just shifts aft. Possible causes for water entering the bilge while at rest in the slip are leaky deck "pie plate" gaskets allowing rainwater into the bilge, leaky caulking at the aft bulkhead of the fish box, or a leaky drain plug.

It's unlikely the drain plug is the cause if screwed in tightly. The aft fish box bulkhead can only leak water into the bilge if the fishbox drain plug is left out so it's a simple matter to rule that out by tightly installing the plug and observing that no water enters the fishbox. So that would leave the "pie plate" gaskets as the remaining suspects.

Our Boston Whalers were not designed to ship water into their bilges. Just logically and systematically eliminate potential causes and you'll find the culprit. Good luck.

HawaiianWhaler posted 01-22-2013 07:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for HawaiianWhaler  Send Email to HawaiianWhaler     
Frank O - In revisiting this, one further thought. When underway and the water accumulates aft in your bilge, and you/your bilge pump empty it overboard, does it again accumulate after being pumped out? In the same quantity? If no further water accumulates after the original amount is pumped out, that's a pretty sure indicator IMHO that there is no underway leak but likely a "pie plate" gasket leak or the fishbox bulkhead leak, as above. Conversely, recurrent flooding would point to a more serious issue. Good luck.
Frank O posted 01-22-2013 11:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Frank O  Send Email to Frank O     
Thanks for the comments. It's pretty clear from the behavior that that the water is being taken on while the boat is in motion at moderate to high speed. Or to put it another way, it's not just a case of water that accumulates under the deck while the boat is at rest over several days being shifted to the aft bilge area when the boat is in motion.

There are a total of four scuppers, two on the transom and one on the aft end of the hull on each side. My money is still on water getting through the sternwell hatch, unless there's some pathway I haven't sussed out yet.

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