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Old 28-04-2015, 12:56   #1
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How difficult is it to clean up a partially sunk sailboat

Boat partially sank at brackish mooring, stern down. Engine, alternator and generator have been replaced, but interior teak is molding.
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Old 28-04-2015, 13:13   #2
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Re: How difficult is it to clean up a partially sunk sailboat

That's really a tough question to answer. It really depends on how "complex" the boat Is. Figure that anything that went under water will need to be addressed.

Cleaning up the woodwork should be relatively straightforward, wash ,flush , and rinse with appropriate cleaner ( pine sol is good for lots). them make sure to get thoroughly dried, think dehumidifier. then refinish as appropriate.

One of the biggest challenges may be chasing problems in the electrical wiring caused by corrosion. The best preventative would be to replace all submerged wiring but maybe a thorough inspection , cleaning , and treatment with a corrosion inhibitor will do , maybe.
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Old 28-04-2015, 13:20   #3
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Re: How difficult is it to clean up a partially sunk sailboat

Tough one, but inspect under the floors for mold etc. Use an awl to see if things are rotten also. Are the bulkheads/ aft berth/other vertical panels etc saturated with water on the bottom portion? Very hard to dry out if the water is in the plywood inside the fiberglass tabbing to the hull.
If you buy it get a big Ozone generator and leave it on with everything opened up for a long time. Sure Dehumidifier too, lots of ventilation.
If you can drill a small hole on the bulkhead tabbings close to the hull interior surface... see if water drips/runs out...
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Old 28-04-2015, 13:34   #4
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Re: How difficult is it to clean up a partially sunk sailboat

The problem is salt. Salt is hygroscopic. It will suck moisture out of the air keeping surfaces damp, prime mold growing conditions. A thorough wash down with fresh water, many times over several days will hopefully dilute the salt to the point that it's no longer a problem. There's a product called Salt Away that may help in washing the salt off. Haven't tried it only seen it in most marine stores and passing praise from a few boat owners. Once you've got the salt out of/off of everything you may have solved the problem. The issue is getting rid of the salt as it's lurking everywhere and may raise it's ugly head even after repeated wash downs.
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Old 28-04-2015, 15:06   #5
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Re: How difficult is it to clean up a partially sunk sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmadry View Post
Boat partially sank at brackish mooring, stern down. Engine, alternator and generator have been replaced, but interior teak is molding.
It would have been easiest to clean the boat up after the engine, etc. was removed and before replacement.

I would say all the wiring and any soft goods such as cushions are toast and should be replaced. That leaves you with just fiberglass and wood to try to clean up.
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Old 29-04-2015, 09:56   #6
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Re: How difficult is it to clean up a partially sunk sailboat

I have some recent experience with this very problem. My 47 foot cutter flooded to the top of the settee bases, submerging the batteries, a big part of the electrical system including the alternator, starter and pumps.

Submerging a live electrical system in salt water destroys it. On rewiring the boat, I found water in most of the submerged cables. Of course, all of the submerged motors had to be replaced.

In terms of the cabinetry and partially submerged machinery, the yard treated every thing with salt rid (or something like that) and flushed everything with fresh water. Of course, there were areas that they could not get to with the salt rid, but overall the interior cabinetry came out pretty well.

A lot will depend on how long the cabinetry was submerged. The flooding on my boat happened at the yard and was quickly discovered, so damage was minimal.

You have to get ALL of the water out of the boat. The yard left some water standing in the bilge (water that the bilge pumps couldn't reach), so the heaters and dehumidifier that they put in the boat to dry it out weren't doing much good until I vacuumed all of the water out with a wet dry vac. It still took weeks to dry.

The other thing you will have to pay attention to is the refrigerator cabinet. If it was partly or completely submerged, the insulation will be saturated and you will have to remove and replace it.

Bottom line, if the boat isn't insured or you aren't getting it for free, you probably need to walk away, especially if the engine needs to be replaced. Mine was only partly submerged and other than the starter, wiring harness and alternator, not damaged.

Another thing to consider is corrosion to any submerged metal such as tanks and Seacocks, which if bonded may have been subjected to high electrical currents. Mine were and all of the Seacocks and thruhulls had to be replaced. The jury's still out on the tanks.

Fortunately, my loss was covered by insurance because its cost about $40k (and counting) so far.

Best of luck.
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