Crash Pumps

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Crash Pumps

    Never thought I'd need to use them, but this happened about 72 miles to the ENE from South Florida in about 937 feet of water. Click image for larger version  Name:	broken thru hull.jpg Views:	5 Size:	131.3 KB ID:	163494.

    This fitting is below the waterline on "Popeye" the 47' Rybovich in the other post from Mr. Parker. I should say "was below the waterline".

    It is an older, non-active thu hull with a cap/plug. After launching last friday from the boatyard, running across and getting checked in, we made a run north to do some deep dropping. stopped to grab some Barracudas for bait, but nothing really was showing any cause for concern. Back on plane for another hour, got to our "spot" and did one drop, two rigs, two LP electric reels. Bilge pump warning light(s) came on but then off again. Pulled up two stringers of fish and then the generator stopped. Gave the helm to one of the guys to idle back to the "spot" for another drop while I opened the engine room hatch to find 4' of water over the stringers. Then the starboard engine stopped. The starboard shaft was still spinning and it looked like the shaft seal had failed as there was water being thrown about everywhere near the shaft coupling. I stopped that shaft with a dockline, wrapped it all up with towels and set about dewatering the boat. With five permanent bilge pumps and two roving 2500 Rule pumps with alligator clips we were still losing ground. Other crew members calmly got out the ditch bag, lifejackets, two EPIRBs, and the liferaft was made sure to be ready.

    Still in the ER, I used our "last chance" solution, previous owner had fitted interior valves and "crash pumps" that allow the raw water intake to be closed and the bilge water pumped through the engine(s) by the cooling pump. (huge 3.5" line"). I opened the inside valve, closed the seacock and with a comforting "whoosh" the engine fairly quickly emptied the boat. (quick is like 15 minutes). As the water level lowered I could see all around the engine room to find the real source of the water, and outboard of the starboard engine it was very apparent we had a 3" hole through the boat with clear blue water gushing in, I jumped overboard with a coke bottle. pile of rags and stuffed it all in the hole which slowed things down while we continued dewatering the liquid below the level the crash pump valve could reach.

    Now we were 70 some miles from Florida and had one engine, not much ability to go faster than 4-5 knots and needed some further thinking to come up with a solution to have a more permanent solution. There was some starboard material in the galley storage area, I had a cordless drill, bits, self tappers, and various other bits of kit. Taking apart the foam in a lifejacket we built up layers of 1/4" foam and plastered it against the inside of the hull with a section of starboard fastened to the inside of the hull.

    After catching our breath and realizing we were going to be Ok, set about getting the starboard engine back on line.....
    Last edited by the other tom; 06-20-2022, 09:38 AM.

  • #2
    After some warm "special time" in the 130 degree engine room and floorboards, totes, spares, and other stuff that had floated all over I remembered to go through the basics" fuel, air, and 12V (they are common rail Cummins QSC 540s). Fuel good, air, not obstructed, start tracing backwards and thankfully the previous owner's repower project had placed last chance breakers very high on the forward bulkhead. Starboard was tripped. Up to the helm and it fires right up. Time to unlash to starboard shaft and verify that the shaft seal is indeed intact. (It was). With two guys observing the "patch" and one on the outside, I run up slowing increasing speed, synch works, temps fine, pressures fine, and slowly we are on plane doing 16 knots. Towards Florida.

    Verifying all is ok, I ended up coming back at 21 knots with no more water ingress.

    Autopilot engaged and not too long thereafter we are entering the inlet at Port Everglades and NOT sinking. (anymore). I later found this fitting underneath the engine's oil pan and we tied up, ordered some strong cocktails from the poolside bar and rinsed/washed the exterior and I soaked the engine room and lazarrette with fresh water. Somebody cleaned the fish we did catch and we sat for awhile and talked about the day.

    Today, Monday, I have the boat back to my house and the waterways are calm enough to start putting together a more permanent repair until I can get hauled. Click image for larger version

Name:	patch.jpg
Views:	214
Size:	58.9 KB
ID:	163498

    I had some G10 plate in the garage, a table saw, die and taps and was able to transfer fuel to the port side, empty the water tank, and all the fishing gear was already offloaded. The bottom of the hole was still slightly underwater. The outside G10 plate was drilled and tapped for 1/4-20 bolts, and the inside plate was overdrilled to fit over the bolts on the inside. After measuring thrree times, Gooped up the outside with white LifeCaulk ran inside the engine room and unscrewed our starboard temp patch while a small amount of water entered. By the time I fitted the outside patch, climbed back inside, I was able to tighten down the nuts creating an "Oreo Cookie" repair with caulking on both inside and outside. It will be safe for awhile. The hole just behind the patch is for a bilge pump discharge.

    So, what happened? The broken fitting had a reverse scoop attached that "stood proud" on the outside of the hull. For sure I would have noted any issues while in the boatyyard (I personally put that coat of bottom paint over the area that failed). Likely when they picked up the boat with the travelift one of the straps was placed over the fitting causing the failure as pressure was increased. Maybe some of the microscopic waves that we encountered contributed, but the failure did not happen until we stopped for deep dropping.


    • #3
      We gave ourselves a "C" grade for the day's performance.

      1) If a warning light goes on, keep checking immediately until you figure out why.
      2) There is a tote in my garage that contains "serious repair" items including my collection of tapered wooden plugs. Never take a chance that "it won't happen on a short trip". That tote should have been aboard.
      3) I did not do a safety briefing at the beginning of our trip. two people aboard that day stayed on the flybridge and it took them too long to find the lifejackets, EPIRBs, Ditch Bag, throw ring, etc. They also did not know all the details on the engine controls or the breakers/operations for the redudnant VHF radios and handhelds.
      4) I almost always inspect a haulout personally, but that day they picked it up it had started to rain and I wanted to check my emails.....and did not inspect where the straps were.
      5) When the S**t hits the fan organize the team, each gets a responsibility, stick to the plan until control of the situation is taken back.
      6) Each of the 6 permanent bilge pumps has a warning light that goes on at the helm. A loud High water alarm should be installed that can clearly be heard over the engines.
      7) Tell somebody that stays home where you plan to go, when you expect to be back, and a SPOT messenger or other device people can look up is probably a new piece of kit to get.

      We did have the raft, ditch bag, registered EPIRBs, (one with hydro auto release in the tower, the other handheld), More than adequate flares, etc, but we should have had more spares and repair materials than that day.


      • DaleH
        DaleH commented
        Editing a comment
        Sir ... with all due respect, maybe your 'planning & prep' rates a "C" [your own rating], but your command performance to keep her afloat and git her fixed rates an "A" from me! So far 2 people have thanked me for recommending high water bilge alarms with LOUD annunciators!

    • #4
      Wow - quite the adventure! Could have turned out far worse. Mucho respect 👍


      • #5
        You Sir, Are the Man!
        I hope to have a smidgen of knowledge that you have forgotten to keep me straight in what little I do know!
        Nice explanation!



        • #6
          Despite that shoulda list, you did a LOT of things right that most of us would not have the sense, at least under those circumstances, to plan and execute. Well done and glad to hear all, including the boat, are safe.
          Sanibel FL
          Axopar 28 Cabin, 2 x 200 Merc 3.4L V6 - SOLD


          • #7
            One thing I keep on my boat is a Nerf Football. Get a large hole and stuff that thing into it. Water flow will decrease tremendously. The coke bottle was a pretty good idea.

            You have a talk with the marina yet? They are supposed to make sure those straps don't touch anything but fiberglass and bottom paint.


            • #8
              Yacthing/Boting, hours and hours of boredom surrounded by moments of sheer terror.
              Good job Tommy, like I had any doubt.
              Engine Sales and Service
              Ph +1 954.463.1515
              Fx +1
              Toll Free: 800.622.6747

              [email protected]


              • #9
                PS: I bet they put the standoff block in there for the lower rubrail and it punched that thru hull in the bilge.
                Engine Sales and Service
                Ph +1 954.463.1515
                Fx +1
                Toll Free: 800.622.6747

                [email protected]


                • #10
                  Gotta admire any man who goes thru a harrowing experience, prevails with composure, and then his mind goes straight to an after incident analysis of how it could have been done better.

                  Glad it all worked out, that beautiful old boat sitting on the bottom would be a crying shame.

                  S Central PA


                • #11
                  If that were me I'd have continued fishing, LOL! Glad it all worked out and you're back home safe.
                  This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties either expressed, written or implied and confers no rights.
                  You assume all risk for your use. The author is not responsible for your inability to understand logic, ambiguous references, sarcasm, the imaginary friends living inside my head or William Shatner's acting ability.


                  • #12
                    WOW! Just goes to show how quickly things can take a turn for the worse! Glad you and your crew kept a level head and worked your way out of it. Thanks for sharing!
                    95 Stamas 32' CC twin 250 Mercs
                    Seaford, De


                    • #13
                      Originally posted by Parker Yacht View Post
                      PS: I bet they put the standoff block in there for the lower rubrail and it punched that thru hull in the bilge.
                      Ole, those Rybo brothers thought of all that many years ago. Each of their boats has a custom fabricated bronze "L" profile running the entire length of the chine to prevent crushing the chine joint and avoid the need for chine blocks. (On my Spencer 59' it came with fabricated carbon Chine Blocks to protect the hull when lifting). The bronze piece is about 3" x 2" and the hull routered out to accept and epoxy the "chine rail" into place. As such, its never been necessary to put blocks inside the straps when lifting. I took videos of the launch and its fairly clear where the straps are and what the problem was. Partly my bad for not inspecting closely when they lifted the boat (but they were three hours late, it was raining, and I had distractions, and a blown schedule) Then there was the "open discussions at the fuel dock" between myself and 7 pontoon "bareboat" charters sitting on the fuel pumps for 90 minutes while their guests drank at the bar.....keeping any and all away from buying expensive dinosaur stuff. Mr. Parker knows the owner(s) of this famous Fort Lauderdale establishment who received a text....


                      • Parker Yacht
                        Parker Yacht commented
                        Editing a comment
                        The "gift" shop is a joke.
                        God forgot you need a hook anymore.

                    • #14
                      Tom, you did a great job under pressure!
                      Thankfully you know your boat well, and she’s a beauty by the way.
                      You did everything right, which in turn saved the boat.

                      I’ve had a few similar situations in my younger days when delivering yachts for peeps.
                      Panic ensues even though you’ve familiarized with everything on the boat, because it’s not your boat.

                      Find the source, as you did, dewater as much as possible, slow intrusion, regroup and come up with a temporary solution.
                      I sure don’t like getting under a boat at sea, even more so when it’s rough—talk about a biatch!
                      Get bopped on the head and you have a problem, even with a safety line tied around you.

                      Again, good job!! I give you an A+ for saving the boat!

                      2021 Blackwood, twin 300 Mercs
                      Fairhope & Orange Beach, AL


                      • #15
                        So they put the sling in the wrong place?
                        Engine Sales and Service
                        Ph +1 954.463.1515
                        Fx +1
                        Toll Free: 800.622.6747

                        [email protected]