Halls houseboat sink / tire barrier

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davew

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Heard a report from a owner ( second hand) that one of the tire barriers cut loose and hit at least one houseboat-- anyone have information on this? Understand it was in the last few days--
 

Scott

Member
The tires came loose during the storm and were sitting right at the back of the houseboat. 4' swells came over the back of the boat and put it down. Aramark moved the tires back and secured them the next day.
 

Grant Stevens - USBR

Well-Known Member
The tires came loose during the storm and were sitting right at the back of the houseboat. 4' swells came over the back of the boat and put it down. Aramark moved the tires back and secured them the next day.


What are your thoughts, shouldn't an unattended houseboat be able to survive waves coming over the deck? What was the root cause of the sinking?:

- Engine hatches opened, allowing large volumes of water to enter the bilge?
- undersized or non functional bilge pumps?
- Did marina staff notice the boat low in the water, do they have portable pumps available. Do they act to save the boat, or do they notify owners/management company?


It seems a lot of boats sink at the slip, any lessons to be learned here? Our houseboat has 2 large bilge pumps, one aft and one forward, I have not checked if they work. Our engine hatches are snug, but they do not have latches. It seems the hatches should be secured, and the bilge pumps sized to be able to keep up with any water leaking in.

Thoughts?
 

davew

Well-Known Member
Seeing the insurance side of things ( I am a agent that writes a number of boats ) --

Many sinking at lake powell are do to the air intake vents cut into the hull on the side of houseboats. If you take a look at the side of your hull toward the back of the boat, many have the engine space air intake cut into it. Usually this vent hole is located about 12" above the water line. Generally, you have this "hole" on both sides of the hull. --- when you beach a houseboat the back of the boat sits a little lower in the water --- this puts these vent holes even closer to the water -- large storm comes up, directly from behind, and water starts pouring in these vent holes -- the size of these vent holes far outweighs the small output of the bilge pump -- as water starts to fill the engine compartment, it gets heavier, and the vent holes get closer to the water -- next thing you know ---- boat sinks

What we are seeing is that some insurance companies are requiring these vent holes to be plugged, and new vents installed much higher above water line ( we did out boat, and put them in the steps leading up to upper deck ) this puts the vent holes on our boat about 2 1/2 feet above water line --
 

Scott

Member
In this case, and I am somewhat assuming here, water entered into closed engine hatches at a rate that exceeded the bilge pump capacity. From what I understand, this storm lasted close to 2 hours. Marina staff did work to try and save the boat, but were unsuccessful in doing so. I am fairly certain that had the tires stayed in place and provided even a marginal break from the swells, the houseboat would have made it through the storm. I don't know that larger bilge pumps would've kept up with the amount of water coming in. I was able to see a video of the storm and specifically the rise and fall of this houseboat in the slip, and I am shocked that the adjacent boats didn't go down as well.
 

capt.catfish

Well-Known Member
In Serenity's case, the bilge pumps were incorrectly wired and I doubt that they were functional during her sinking. They had also not been secured down to the hull, but appeared to be just set in place, which doesn't really work well for the float switch. The engine compartment vents are as high as they could be, mounted on the top of the aft deck; I think that the water coming over the stern and into the hatches is what sank Serenity and likely this boat.

I replaced our two bilge pumps with 3700-GPH bilge pumps, which were the largest I could find. That means each pump can put more than a 55-gallon barrel of water (about 62-gallons) over the side every minute. I also used separate float switches that can be visually inspected and checked for operation.
 

Grant Stevens - USBR

Well-Known Member
In Serenity's case, the bilge pumps were incorrectly wired and I doubt that they were functional during her sinking. They had also not been secured down to the hull, but appeared to be just set in place, which doesn't really work well for the float switch. The engine compartment vents are as high as they could be, mounted on the top of the aft deck; I think that the water coming over the stern and into the hatches is what sank Serenity and likely this boat.

I replaced our two bilge pumps with 3700-GPH bilge pumps, which were the largest I could find. That means each pump can put more than a 55-gallon barrel of water (about 62-gallons) over the side every minute. I also used separate float switches that can be visually inspected and checked for operation.


I was just looking at the same pump at West Marine, that looks like the largest 12VDC pump they have.

I may be naive, but a properly designed engine hatch with a large raised lip underneath with overboard drains, dogged down with a latch, should slow the intake of water from a submerged deck into the bilge enough where a bilge pump could keep up. At least slow it down for an hour or so until help could arrive. We're in Wahweap and our bow points towards the swell, but a couple of these added to the engine hatch wouldn't be a bad idea...

 

birdsnest

Well-Known Member
Don't forget that a monohull boat with the lake water pump left on is a timebomb if someone uses the toilet and the flush handle sticks in the flush position allowing the holding tanks to fill, then the toilet overflows, the hull fills and the boat sinks. It takes only one person to not check the flush handle and leave the boat.
 
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