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Old 05-04-2013, 14:14   #1
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Emergency underwater hull repair!!!

I have been looking around and haven't been able to locate and emergency repair kits for minor/moderate hull fractures due to collision with a deadhead/submerged obstructions. I know, I know.... I'm going to get all sorts of threads about better charts, and minding my GPS, not traveling that close to potential obstacles, and the list goes on... All that aside, and I still ACCIDENTALLY hit something and am taking on "manageable" water. Obviously if the hull has been compromised, there is no saving the vessel, and it is going down; an immediate plan to abandon ship would be in order... But let's just say that you could make it safe for crew (standing by in a life-raft), assess the situation, and with a mask and snorkel, found a moderate (repairable?) crack in the hull/keel area ... Are there any putties or compounds that can be applied (from) and cure underwater? Just to limp into the next port with a haul out and a proper fix...

Thanks in advance for any recommendations, warnings, funny idioms, accounts of success, tales of defeat, and everything else in between!!
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Old 05-04-2013, 14:18   #2
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Re: Emergency underwater hull repair!!!

Splash Zone, an underwater epoxy, comes to mind. I've used it to cure minor leaks in glass hulls successfully, but these were small cracks, not areas of delaminated or crushed layup.

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Old 05-04-2013, 14:28   #3
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Re: Emergency underwater hull repair!!!

with impact damage on wood or fiberglass where you have a plank stove in or punture and delamination on a glass boat the best and quickist solution might be to use quick drying cement applied from both inside and out side,available in 5,10,25 kilo bags,goes off in about 15 minutes.
i used it when salvaging a ferro cement boat,then sailed it 4000 miles!
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Old 05-04-2013, 14:28   #4
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Re: Emergency underwater hull repair!!!

Everything's unique and maybe there's another way, but let's say I had a 4' gash going down the side of the hull and water was pouring in. Restricting this to just a damage control prospective (no talk of EPIRBS, life rafts, maydays, etc) and pretending that the boat isn't already sunk:

1) Slow the water down dramatically. Grab some cushions and jam them against or into the gash from the interior. Pillows, clothes, anything that you can force in and that will restrict water flow. If you go at it from the outside, try to get a sail wrapped around the hull, a blanket, a sun awning, anything.

2) Dewater. This is when you hope you have a massive manual bilge pump like an Edson stand up rig that can move 1 gallon per stroke.

3) Breathe, and think.

4) My suspicion after that would be to cannibalize cushions and any flat wood or plastic on the boat and either nail it to the exterior or the interior of the gashes, depending on what's going on.

Personally I'd avoid doing anything in the water because it's too easy to drop tools and it's just asking for a compounding problem. After you've got the boat floating and you're on top of the water ingress then you can make a plan that has you going over the side safely, but not in the heat of the moment.

I had a few "emergency" two part putty sticks, they all dried up and were useless after sitting in my dc locker for a while. Anyone who's done formal damage control training should know that the secrets are to use anything and everything at your disposal. Having some prefabricated stuff is nice, but you really will have no idea what it will be, so you need a quick mind.
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Old 05-04-2013, 14:45   #5
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I thought Capt'n Pauley (Paul Esterle) had in interesting way to manage this type of situation.

http://www.thevirtualboatyard.com/20...boat.html#more

Quick summary is a houseboat sprung a leak after the owner hit a weak spot left in the hull. Full story in the above link and additional suggestions.

"I grabbed some supplies from our boat and went to help. I laid out a two-foot length of waxed paper on the dock and cut a length of 10-inch wide fiberglass tape to go on top. A tube of 3M5200 sealant was spread on the fiberglass tape and spread out with a plastic squeegee.

I had the owner put a couple of plastic bags on his hands. He then jumped in the water by the stern of his boat. I handed him the tape/sealant patch and had him duck under the stern and place the patch over the hole. The water pressure sucked the patch up against the hull and immediately sealed the leak. The patch held fine until the boat was pulled later that day. A patch kit like this takes up very little room and can be stored almost anywhere aboard."

I like this idea but have no idea how well it would do in bad conditions.
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Old 05-04-2013, 14:49   #6
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Re: Emergency underwater hull repair!!!

I have used 5200 and pieces of plywood to stop leaks on other boats over the years! You can apply from the outside, with a bolt thru the middle with a strongback on the inside of the hull ya tighten the bolt and stop or at least slow the flow to a controllable amount ! This will only work if ya can work over the side of the boat! if its to rough to do that then the pillow stuffing might be your only option! I carry 4 or 5 pieces of 3/8 plywood cut in serveral sizes, like 12x12 in and so on and 3 or 4 tubes of 5200. Never used them on my boats but have helped others get to a harbor over the years ! Just sayin it will work and theres always the room to store if you really want to LOL
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Old 05-04-2013, 14:51   #7
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Re: Emergency underwater hull repair!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailcruiser View Post
I thought Capt'n Pauley (Paul Esterle) had in interesting way to manage this type of situation.
I think he also suggested a collision mat works using a sail lined with sheep's dung LOL.

PS I have seen footage of commercial collision mats in action and they are suprisingly affective.
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Old 05-04-2013, 14:55   #8
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Re: Emergency underwater hull repair!!!

my father invented a system 20 years ago that can stop a leak from a hole gap between 10cm diameter to 40 cm diameter in about 2 seconds, whatever the shape of it, or material of the hull. Very efficient, very simple. But no company interested in building it, a bit too expensive.
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Old 05-04-2013, 15:02   #9
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Re: Emergency underwater hull repair!!!

A few useful ideas for plugging a leak from the outside without having to go overboard (posted in 2008):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sea Maid View Post
I teach marine fire fighting and how to stop vessels from sinking to Navy, Coast Guard, Washington State Ferries and the fishing fleet.

You can make these yourself to use aboard your vessel, to whatever size you want and have them ready for an emergency.

First is the folding plate patch. Take a piece of plywood or metal and cut a 3",4" or 12" circle, the size is up to you. Now drill a 1/4" or 1/2" hole in the center. Now cut the piece in half, now put the two pieces back together with piano hinge. You now have a circle that folds in half. Where you drilled the hole is where you place a piece of line to length of your choose, tie a knot and put it thru the hole. The folding plate patch is designed to fold up as you put it thru a hole, once thru it will open, you pull on the line to bring the patch up to the exterior or the hole. Most folding plate patches have sheet rubber glued to them to make a better seal. This may slow things down enough for your blige pump to keep up or slow it enough to make some sort or epoxie repair. You do not have to go over the side of your vessel to apply something like this. This will slow the water down considerably. You can ever put rags or small pieces of clothing around the edges to slow things down ever more.

Another way to stop a leak with out having to go over the side. Fist have something that will fit thru the hole and it must float. Attach a line to this floating item you are putting thru the hole from the inside of your vessel. Have someone outside reach over and grab the floating object or use boat hook. Pull the floating line up to the vessel. Now the things you can attatch to the line to pull back under the boat from the piece of line that is still inside your boat are endless. You can punch a hole thru a pillow with a knife, grap a cubbie hole lid, that may or may not have hole in the center all ready. Now put your line thru the pillow and then the wood lid, tie a big knot. Now some one inside pulls the line, which pulls the pillow with wood backing plate up to the hole in your vessel. Pull tight, use a tounniquet, what ever it takes to slow this water down.. Now someone should be doing whatever it takes to stop water from coming in while things are being put together. Use a wood plug, pillow, whatever it takes to slow it down.

Sometimes a wood plug will not work from the inside. Again float a line out the hole to topsides for some someone to grab. Have eyebolts in all your wood plugs. Attatch line to eyebolt and pull the plug up to the hole, or a bucket or can. Something to give you time to get off or allow you time to get rid of the water you have, with very little coming in now, you can re-group and figure out what to do. Of cours a Mayday should have went out a long time ago. If your repair will work you can call it off and just check in as needed.

Another option is a Box Patch or a Bucket with T,J,L and folding tee bolts. These are wood, steel, or welded sheet metal boxes made to the size you want and they do not have to all be square. We use mostly wood with 3" to 6" sides. So the box can be as deep or shallow as you want and as small or as big as you want. The T,J,L bolts are made from all thread. Thats a steel bar completely threaded. Cut off one or two foot lengths of all thread. On one of them heat it up and bend a J shape, you now have a piece of all thread that looks like the letter J. To make the T and L hooks just cut small pieces and weld them to the end of the all thread to make the letters T and L. Once you have made your hooks it is time to drill a hole in the center of the box patch, pass the all thread thru the hole in the box/bucket. Now put a piece of rubber over the all thread and a washer, now thread your wing nut one. Box patch is now complete. Now put the box patch with T,J,L bolt over the bole or crack in your hull. (Type of damage determines the type of bolt in the box patch) Put the T,J,or L bolt thru the hole, spin it around to it will lock onto the outside of the hole, Tighted down on the wing not to bring the box patch up tight to the hull. This will stop almost all the water, You can use an ax to make the box patch shaped like your hull or you can put wood wedges around the edges to stop more water. Rubber can be put on the box patch endges as you are makeing it. You can use them inside the vessel without ever having to go outside. If it will not work inside it make work outside for you. You will not spend a much time under water putting one of these on.

They truely do work and may give you the time you need to get back to shore or the time you need to get more off the vessel before having to leave it.

My wife and I live aboard our Ericson 39B here in Bremerton, WA. Any questions or if you want to visit my school. It looks like a ship inside our burn building and the engine room is what we flood out. E-mail me at mtinder@olympic.edu , have a great day.
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Old 05-04-2013, 15:13   #10
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Re: Emergency underwater hull repair!!!

Plywood and Duck tape will stop pretty large leaks.
Can just use Duck tape for smaller leaks.
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Old 05-04-2013, 16:15   #11
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Re: Emergency underwater hull repair!!!

There's a part 2 as well, and fires, explosions, capsize, dismasting.
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Old 05-04-2013, 16:21   #12
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Re: Emergency underwater hull repair!!!

You can get an epoxy stick of JB weld that works under water..
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Old 05-04-2013, 16:32   #13
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Re: Emergency underwater hull repair!!!

I think a jamming a pillow in and using a telescoping boat hook to shore it against the far side of the compartment, guess it depends on the hole.

Maybe one of those cheap mini umbrellas would work if stuck through the hole and opened....
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Old 05-04-2013, 17:22   #14
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Re: Emergency underwater hull repair!!!

What about using one of those rubber bath mats with all the suction cups on them (outside of cause). They would reduce the flow stick to a smooth surface and can be easily stored on the floor of the shower.
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Old 05-04-2013, 17:24   #15
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Re: Emergency underwater hull repair!!!

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Originally Posted by Hoohaa View Post
What about using one of those rubber bath mats with all the suction cups on them (outside of cause). They would reduce the flow stick to a smooth surface and can be easily stored on the floor of the shower.
good idea ,but do the suction cups keep the mat from laying flat?
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