Wow, here we are with the second weekend of rain, this has made me think about how easy it can be for rain to sink your boat. Sink-proofing your boat against rain can be a bit more difficult if conditions are extreme.
If your boat is out in the rain even for a day you will need to make sure that your bilge pump is work and that your battery is fully charged. Rain can also enter a hull through leaks in covers, rod holders mounted in the transom and open or unsealed window fittings. If you are fitting out a covered hull to be moored, use those rod holders with protective rubber covers. A good bilge pump will only protect a moored boat while it has a power source. Battery charge must be maintained at all times. One battery is not enough if the boat is moored.
A bilge pump with a float switch only offers protection if it is connected to an inexhaustible power supply and if the pump-out rate is greater than the rate the hull could fill. Open hulls are at much greater risk. Storm covers that drain water off the hull back into the water are essential items in areas of high rainfall. In heavy protracted rain, a hull can rapidly sit very low in the water. On fixed moorings such as jetties, this can make the up and down movement with the tide problematic, and if a hull full of water rolls and sits on the bottom at low tide it may get stuck under the mooring beams as the tide rises. If there is enough rain to sink the hull, so the transom height at which the engine sits is covered, the boat will sink in minutes as the engine will pull it under and the water will flood in very rapidly.
Preventative maintenance: Always check the bilge, make sure the float switch has an alarm or indicator when it is working, check your batteries and make sure you have plenty of them and a recharging system in place. Make sure the float switch is clean and not obstructed by debris. In times of heavy rain either remove your boat from the water or make sure you have storm covers so the hull doesn’t fill up. Heavy rain can rapidly add several thousand litres to your vessel, which may weigh several thousand kilos! This is a common reason that moored boats sink.
Keeping a boat on a mooring/anchor requires vigilance. Storms and heavy rain mean everything needs to be checked over and over, and investing in a decent cover can save a boat from disaster in heavy rain. Plan your mooring very carefully and don’t learn from expensive mistakes!