Hello to Boating

Keith saved a boat yesterday. Well, if he didn’t save it, he saved the brand new owners a very expensive after-hours emergency haul out. See that power boat there at the next slip over (and please ignore the dog-nose smudged window), that’s the one.


We were walking back to our boat and noticed a nice rainbow-y “sheen” in the water. I will be nice and not incriminate the “sheen makers” with any more details than that. Looking around we saw the new to the marina powerboat on the next dock over, we also saw three very worried looking men peering into the depths of the boat and at the very “sheeny” water. Um, think we found the source. We also saw that the water line was no where to be seen on their boat and a bit of a list was going on. Uh-oh.

Keith headed on over to check things out. It turns out they had just, like hours ago, bought the boat and had it put in the water and now realized they were taking on water. Apparently at a bit faster rate than the bilge pump was removing water. The men were quite frantically trying reach someone at the marina for an emergency haulout but were having no luck as it was closed for the evening, nor were they having any luck on finding the source of the water intrusion. Admittedly, a very good reason for the worried looks upon their faces.

Keith listened to their story and then asked if they had ” burped the cutlass bearing seal” when launched.

“Um, No, huh…what?”

Keith told them how and wa-la!— no more water pouring in.

Poor guys, welcome to the joys of owning a boat!

6 thoughts on “Hello to Boating

  1. I had to Google that. Had never heard of this. On our previous boat we had a stuffing box packed with cotton rope. On the Amel, the set up is very different due to the Amel drive. Most people comment that our engine is in backward šŸ™‚

    On a similar note, we had a big trawler in our Marina pump out 500 gallons of diesel into the marina because of a faulty valve. Imagine the stench.


    Mark and Cindy
    s/v Cream Puff

    1. 500 gallons! Ouch for the marine life AND the wallet! ( I am assuming a fine accompanied that incident). Usually the damage from not “burping” on the dripless is overheating due to no water cooling the shaft, but in this case it also failed to seal properly without doing so.

  2. Nice work! I am amazed at the amount of boaters who have very little knowledge of their boats. We’ve had several similar instances in our marina and almost always it comes down to people not knowing about their boats.

    I could understand not knowing about burping dripless adapters if you don’t have one. But if you buy a boat with that equipment it should be something you read about.

    Also, why was there a sheen from bilge water? Sounds like another future problem.

    1. Not knocking the new owners in any way, definitely not an obvious or common problem and you certainly can’t learn everything you need to know in the first hour šŸ™‚

      They believe the fuel was left in the bilge from when they replaced the engines. Though that is usually a good time to clean and paint the bilge-who knows. Their next big problem is the water that they now have in the fuel :(. Their fun continues.

  3. I had to look that up too. I’ve never heard of “burping” a bearing.

    Good that you came by when you did. My first attempt taking my boat away from the dock, I motored around then the bilge alarm sounded. I jumped down, pulled up a panel and saw the bilge was full of water. Turned on the bilge pump and found out water was flowing from behind the engine. Turned out, the packing nuts were off the threads. The boat yard didn’t tighten them up after doing their work on the cutlass bearing. I’m thankful I was at the boat when it happened, otherwise I would have had a mess of my own to clean up.

    1. Eeeeeks! Glad you were aboard too!

      Truth be told we almost sank one of our boats within 48 hours too. The sink drain tied into something (I don’t remember the details) and when I filled and plugged the sink to do some cleaning it created a siphon. Woke up to squishy floors. We had to redo some plumbing on that boat!

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