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Old 03-11-2012, 16:07   #1
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Sink Proofing

Hello everyone,

I have had an idea, maybe it's daft and maybe someone has thought of it before, but here goes.

How about having a large inflatable "sausage" (or several) that in case the boat is sinking you could inflate inside the cabin(s) and provide positive bouyancy until you can get help?

I saw something similar being used to raise a yacht that had sunk so I'm certain it would work.

If anybody ever manufactures these they will have at least one customer because I would like to buy a couple.
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Old 03-11-2012, 16:27   #2
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Re: Sink proofing

1. How long would it take to inflate sufficient buoyancy to float your boat?
2. How large and how well maintained are the pumps to do #1?
3. When you get done, you still have a sunk boat with balloons holding it up so now what?

Good anticipation, seamanship and due diligence trumps trying to save you ass every time.
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Old 03-11-2012, 16:33   #3
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Re: Sink proofing

I think most sinkings occur when no one was even on the the boat
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Old 03-11-2012, 16:39   #4
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Re: Sink proofing

Freddy,

Most offshore boat already have inflatable tubes to hand out on until help arrives. They are called life rafts.

Frankly what you are suggesting is doable, but I am not sure to what end. You would need hundreds of pounds of rubber tubes that have to be stored somewhere. Plus scuba tank sized tanks to inflate them. Assuming you want to be able to quickly deploy they they have to already be in place, which complicates either the build, where other equipment can be stowed or both. Not to mention how to you place them so as to keep them out of the way of sharp stuff that may pierce the bladders.

And I am not sure what it buys you. Very few boats sink underway. And even if you have these bladders, they would have to be positioned very carefully. Even a slight bow or stern down trim initially could result in the boat floating bow up quite quickly.
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Old 03-11-2012, 16:47   #5
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Re: Sink proofing

Actually a company about twenty years ago had such a system. I looked into it and it would have taken all my storage space in a 36 foot boat. If you're really worried fill your boat with ping pong balls.
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Old 03-11-2012, 16:51   #6
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Re: Sink proofing

I don't know if it would be worth the additional weight on board and the additional expense. Once inflated you have to ask yourself if you would have a place to be so that you are out of the water to avoid hypothermia or have shelter from from the sun. How would you make or collect water? I know the raft controversy is huge, but I think you would be better off in a raft which would provide an environment better suited to survival. Your exposure to the elements would be less.
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Old 03-11-2012, 17:25   #7
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Re: Sink proofing

I had thought that this idea might be viable to keep the boat from sinking until you could repair it. Then you pump the water out, and deflate the bladder.

I decided that making all the interior compartments as watertight as possible would have the same effect of keeping the boat floating while emergency repairs could be made.
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Old 03-11-2012, 18:15   #8
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Re: Sink proofing

Like Vasco, I remember a company marketing something like what you describe a while back. I guess it wasn't a resounding commercial success.

Sadler 34 was designed to be unsinkable. As I recall, when it was introduced at the London boat show, the builders opened the seacocks and flooded the interior to demonstrate that it would still float. The flotation was foam, however, not inflatable bags.
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Old 03-11-2012, 20:15   #9
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Re: Sink proofing

As Rick and Ziggy said, they've been on the market, and off it.

Could it be done better and in a way that would sell now? Maybe, maybe not, but it isn't news.
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Old 03-11-2012, 20:25   #10
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Re: Sink proofing

These are the ones I was thinking about.

boat salvage marine rescue underwater liftbags Subsalve

They would require scuba tanks to fill though. Too much bulk for my small boat.
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:18   #11
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Re: Sink proofing

Hey dsmastern,

Thanks so much for the link.

I ran into a tree trunk while sailing at night but fortunately made it to shallow water with both bilge pumps working non-stop, did some emergency repairs the next day and we continued the trip safe and more or less sound.

So sh_t does happen no matter how well prepared or diligent you are and I think I was lucky not to have lost my boat.

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Old 04-11-2012, 05:34   #12
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Re: Sink proofing

Could probably acheive much the same effect with a few large bin bags and a couple of cans of builders foam. probably!

But in either system would likely need a good hull and deck join........
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:55   #13
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Re: Sink proofing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
Actually a company about twenty years ago had such a system. I looked into it and it would have taken all my storage space in a 36 foot boat. If you're really worried fill your boat with ping pong balls.
The fella that held the patent on that was marine investigator with the Canadian Transportation Safety Board. There was an incident where someone was trapped below by the rapidly inflating bag .... the product was quickly withdrawn from the market.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:02   #14
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Re: Sink proofing

Guys,

have you thought of passengers/crew? I would be scared to death to trap someone underneath the airbag because it was inflated prematurely in the chaos surrounding a major leak and flooding.

Oliver
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:15   #15
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Re: Sink proofing

I don't think the idea is daft. What i seems to me is "self salvage." Salvors use lift bags along with other techniques. One could calculate how much water "emergency rig" would need to displace to keep the vessel from being awash. The same effect can be achieved by installing foam. A quick rule of thumb is a cubic foot of sea-water weighs 65lbs. So, a 10,000 lbs (dispacement) boat would need about 60 cubic feet of foam or air to keep her afloat at roughly twice the design waterline. This would be very low in the water. Alot more foam or air will be needed to keep the boat near the design waterline. At that point, start up the 3 1/2" gas powered trash pump to de-water the boat. Challenge is, what storage space do you sacrifice for all that buoyancy?

I had planned on installing foam in my boat. Ultimately, opted for storage space, and a life-raft.
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