Why Boats Sink

Chart: Sinking Claims At The Dock, 2012**Defective parts/workmanship, lightning, storm, defective design, etc.

  • Photo of punctured shift bellows

    Stern Drive Bellows

    Photo of shaft of stuffing box

    Stuffing Box

Key Ways To Prevent Sinking At The Dock

Stern Drive Bellows

  • Inspect regularly
  • Replace every 3-6 years
  • Haul out annually to clear marine growth

Cockpit and Livewell Plumbing

  • Inspect all plumbing to be sure water cannot drain into bilge
  • Replace any cracked plastic thru-hull fittings

Shaft Stuffing Box

  • Adjust so that there are no leaks when engine off; 2-3 drops per minute when engine on
  • Repack stuffing seasonally

Chart: Total Sinking Claims, 2012*Not including Hurricane Sandy

  • Photo of wreck removal from reef
    Photo of boat collision damage

What To Do If You Hit Something

If You're Taking On Water

  • Put on life jackets
  • Contact Coast Guard to notify them of the situation
  • Ask for assistance from towing company
  • If you can avoid it, do not try to start your engine
  • Haul out as soon as possible

If You're Not Taking On Water

  • If your engine has stalled, check for damage to stern drive or shaft seal before attempting to restart it
  • If any damage, call for assistance
  • If you can restart the engine, work your way slowly home
  • Check bilge periodically
  • If any sign of water intrusion, haul out as soon as possible 

Chart: Sinking Claims Underway, 2012**Defective parts/workmanship, lightning, storm, defective design, etc.


— Published: June/July 2014

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