Leak Emergency

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crannman

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
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Location
Monroe Connecticut
Had a bit of an emergency the other day going down the Housatonic River in Ct. and launched from Indian Well state park.

I have a 13’ jon boat with a 6hp outboard.

The wind picked up on the way back so I tried staying about 30’ from the side of the river but about halfway back I had just missed seeing a small red buoy and was just to the left of it as I went by and then BANG-BANG-BANG, hit some rocks! I had just spotted the rocks but it was too late!

I swung out of there quickly and felt that there was no vibration from the tiller so I knew the prop was okay but when I looked back I saw that the motor was crooked and hanging on by one screw pad and then looked down to see that I tore a hole at the seam where the transom meets the bottom of the boat! It was about a 1/2” long by about a 3/8” deep hole roughly with water gushing through!

I was with my wife and said that we have an emergency but not to abandon ship!

I put the motor in neutral and got it mounted straight again while thinking about what to do next. I said we’ll never make it back to Indian Well so let’s find a place to dock while I can figure out what to do next.

I made my way to this small cement dock with stairs going up a steep bank to the main road (Route 34, Rosevelt Drive).
We got out and then unloaded the boat, took the motor off and bailed the boat out. Then I pulled the back of the boat around and lifted it onto the cement dock to check out the hole in the bottom of the transom.

Looked in my boat bag for anything to use to patch the hole and I had a plastic BassPro bag and some Gorilla brand waterproof duck tape.

I twisted the bottom corner of the plastic bag and threaded it into the hole. I tied a knot a little larger than the home and pulled and pushed it into the hole from the outside as tight as I could get it and then cinched another knot as tight as I could against it from inside the boat then cut the rest of the bag off.

Dried the area and covered the outside and inside of the knotted plastic bag using strips of the waterproof duck tape.

I topped off the gas tank left all the gear at the dock to fetch after we got back to the dock (the gas can, trolling motor, lithium trolling motor battery, tackle bag, fishing rod, etc.).

We made it back okay to the dock at Indian Well! Some of the duck tape peeled back but luckily it held!

In my boat bag I carry an air horn, orange flag, whistle, tool kit, spark plug, fuse for the trolling motor, electrical tape, rope, first aid kit, hand operated bilge pump, plastic bucket, large sponge, 2 - 12” long pool noodles, a plastic water bottle, a couple of plastic bags and waterproof duck tape. I put my mobile phone in a tethered waterproof case.

Planning to add a tube of Marine JB Weld to my boat bag and thinking of what else to add just in case I need to patch a leak while on the water. Maybe a few wine bottle corks and find some stronger water proof duct tape or similar patching material?

Curious what other boaters carry in case of an emergency?
 

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Good job of making the best out of a bad situation...keeping a cool head is of the utmost importance!! Back in the day when I explored the back rivers and often came across treacherous waters I carried some popsickle sticks and some small sponges and rags. On a couple ocassions I used those to repair others damage, was always lucky enough not to have my own leaks. Some of that stick putty that you roll and kneed to mix then it gets hard might ve something to consider. Have used it on plastic fuel tanks for emergency repairs with sucess.
 
when you get a hole in the boat, pull the drain plug and drive as fast as you can. the boat will pump its own bilge until you slow down at the landing.
I could be wrong, but in my experience that only works if your boat is "on plane." I'm thinking his 6hp probably doesn't get that 13' tinnie on plane with 2 people in it....
 

Glad you are OK!

SAVE your boat from sinking, use a WAX RING from a toilet repair!​


There is a marine product called Stay Afloat ...

63791.jpg



But to me it looks like nothing but the wax ring stuff from replacing the 'doughnut' seal on a toilet ...

2b73fbf2-d6d9-402b-8a35-978a334f951b_300.jpg


Your choice, $26 for the "marine product" in a container ... or $4-$6 from your local hardware store!
 
Wax ring, a Nerf football and a few plastic bags will plug a leak. Take football, insert into a few plastic bags and force into the hole, patch with wax - done!


Off-topic, but here's my simple 1st aid kit ... duct tape, electrical tape, clean plastic bags and a large tampon ... secure tampon to stop/stem the bleeding, wrap with eTape, cover with plastic bag and wrap secure with dTape. Get to the hospital!
 
I could be wrong, but in my experience that only works if your boat is "on plane." I'm thinking his 6hp probably doesn't get that 13' tinnie on plane with 2 people in it....
It doesn't need to be on plane. Even at low speeds, the water behind the boat will be sliding clear of the transom. All you need is for the transom plug to be exposed.
 
It doesn't need to be on plane. Even at low speeds, the water behind the boat will be sliding clear of the transom. All you need is for the transom plug to be exposed.
Good to know, but I'll stick to only doing it when on plane. If you're sitting low in the water chances of water coming in rather than going out are much higher.
 
it works almost as soon as you are moving. in toledo bend, when they first opened in the 60's, those trees and vines were always popping plugs out. boats dont plane with 4 people and a 5 hp. its the negative pressure of the water going underneath the boat, and speeding up going up to the level surface again. like a wing. bernoulis principle.
 
Good to know, but I'll stick to only doing it when on plane. If you're sitting low in the water chances of water coming in rather than going out are much higher.
I understand your concern, but just watch on your own boat when you're out and it'll be very clear what will work and what won't.

If your boat is full of water, it's very likely you "can't" get on plane because of all the weight of that water and at that point you'll be very happy to know when water stops bubbling up around the transom and when it separates to give a smooth flow and can begin to drain.

It's only a very few mph.....far from planing. Try it - you'll see what I mean.
 

Glad you are OK!

SAVE your boat from sinking, use a WAX RING from a toilet repair!​


There is a marine product called Stay Afloat ...

63791.jpg



But to me it looks like nothing but the wax ring stuff from replacing the 'doughnut' seal on a toilet ...

2b73fbf2-d6d9-402b-8a35-978a334f951b_300.jpg


Your choice, $26 for the "marine product" in a container ... or $4-$6 from your local hardware store!
Now I have to wonder where you were when you thought of this 🤣 Anyhow……that’s some good thinking.
 
Water Weld epoxy putty stick is essential gear, and you have many other good suggestions here.

Glad you made it home safely!
 
Geez, I'm already carrying everything short of a spare motor along and now I'm thinking need even more stuff!!!
 
Wax ring, a Nerf football and a few plastic bags will plug a leak. Take football, insert into a few plastic bags and force into the hole, patch with wax - done!


Off-topic, but here's my simple 1st aid kit ... duct tape, electrical tape, clean plastic bags and a large tampon ... secure tampon to stop/stem the bleeding, wrap with eTape, cover with plastic bag and wrap secure with dTape. Get to the hospital!
We carried kotex on the school bus.
 

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