Tips on How to Stay Afloat in Your Boat

Author:
Updated:
Original:

A.

Watertight compartments can create enough buoyancy to keep a holed boat afloat.

B.

Divers’ lifting bags, or inflation units specially made by RIB re-tubing companies, can hold up small boats.

C. A boat is safer with through-hulls situated in watertight lockers.

D. Through-bulkhead spigots enable better pipe runs.

E. Small boats need some buoyancy high up in the hull to keep them stable while you bale them out.

F. Blocks of buoyant foam pushed into the top of the mast can prevent a capsized boat from turning over completely.

G. Polystyrene foam blocks are easily shaped and great for adding buoyancy to a boat. Some people cover them in plastic film to contain polystyrene crumbs.

H. Plastic bottles and wine-box bladders can be a cheap way to create buoyancy.

I. Even a small dinghy needs quite a bit of buoyancy when swamped. The online U.S. Coast Guard Safety Standards for Backyard Boat Builders describes what is needed.

J. Two-part polyurethane foam can be poured into voids to create flotation chambers. However, read the instructions carefully to avoid hurting yourself or the boat, and be aware that some foams can degrade after many years and will then need to be removed.

K. For that reason an open-topped compartment—lined with a release agent—that can be later sealed with a lid is a good option.

L. Buoyancy bags need to be strapped in securely as they can exert quite a force on the surrounding structure. Remember, one cubic foot of air creates 60lb of buoyancy.

M. Some people store a few of the “big boat’s” fenders inside the tender to act as buoyancy.

N. Several types of inflatable sponson tubes have been added to hard tenders. The fold-up fabric Nautiraid tender also has inlatable top panels that increase buoyancy and stiffness

Dick Everitt has sailed thousands of miles in various parts of the world. He has been an illustrator, journalist and engineer for more than 40 years. Illustrations by Dickeveritt.com

July 2015

Related

m123728_13_01_171012_PMA_02901_9999

Alicante Announced as an Ocean Race Europe Stop

The Ocean Race Europe, a new event in offshore sailing, will include Alicante as one of four stopover cities. This European offshoot of the former Volvo Ocean Race will include the biggest change to the racing rules under the new title—fully crewed IMOCA 60s will join the ...read more

01-LEAD-doublehanded2

Preparing for a Doublehanded Race

A few months ago we took a look at the development and attraction of doublehanded racing (Two to Tango, June/July 2020). Hopefully, that served to whet your appetite. If so, the question becomes: “How do I get started? The good news, as we explained in Part 1, is that if you are ...read more

01-LEAD-Day-three---dolphins.-300-dpi

A Key Approach to Passagemaking

How you approach offshore sailing is key to the success of each passage. In addition, some of the most valuable, even crucial attitudes and skills may not be either learned or valued in everyday life on shore and may even fly in the face of talents that are greatly admired and ...read more

OceanVoyagesInstitute-2048

Point of SAIL: Mary Crowley of the Ocean Voyages Institute

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with Mary Crowley, founder and executive director of the Ocean Voyages Institute, a not-for-profit based in California that has been both educating sailors and working to preserve the health of the world’s ocean ...read more

01-Ocean-Voyages-Institute_PHOTO-READY_1_pg

Tracking and Catching Plastic Waste

Plastic waste—in the form of everything from plastic soda bottles to abandoned fishing nets—constitutes a major threat to the health of the world’s oceans. Giving the immense size of an ocean, though, actually finding all the plastic floating around out there in a time-efficient ...read more

Dreramcatcher -Cate Brown

Marblehead to Halifax Canceled; Alternative Races Planned

The Marblehead to Halifax race that was scheduled for this summer has been canceled due to continuing Covid concerns. Organizers at the Boston Yacht Club and Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron who co-sponsor the event have made the decision because of uncertainty about when the ...read more

SailGP-Team

SailGP Announces Roster and Coach Additions

Athletes Daniela Moroz, CJ Perez and Paul Campbell-James have been added to The United States’ SailGP lineup. Also joining the team will be head coach Philippe Presti. Moroz is a four-time Formula Kite World Champion and two-time U.S. Sailing Rolex Yachtswoman-of-the-Year. ...read more

NEW-westcoastmultihullsmob

Chartering the West Coast

Although two-thirds of the U.S. boating population lives along the Eastern Seaboard, there are many hardy and enthusiastic cruising sailors on the “left coast” as well. Better still, if you’re looking to charter on the Pacific side, there’s plenty of great sailing and many clubs ...read more