But the fact that there’s lots more debris on the way got me wondering what I would do if I were in a boat whose hull was pierced by something good and solid.
The depressing fact is that most bilge pumps cannot cope with the inflow of water from a reasonably sized hole in the hull. If it happens to you, your priority should be to try to stem the flow somehow, either by stuffing cushions or something similar in the hole from inside, or by covering the hole with a collision mat, or a sail, from the outside. That should slow down the flow enough to enable your pumps to cope while you make more permanent repairs.
But unless conditions are ideal, a surprisingly small hole will sink you in short order.
For the record, here’s the formula for rate of flooding from an underwater hole:
Incoming gallons per minute = D x square root of H x 20
(D = the diameter of the hole in inches and H = height in feet to which the water must rise to reach outside water level — in other words, the depth of the hole below water level.)
Note that a mere 2-inch-diameter hole 3 feet below the waterline will let in 69 gallons a minute, or more than 4,000 gallons an hour. A high-capacity power pump is rated at 3,000 gallons per hour. The pump is simply not going to win.
Today’s ThoughtIn smooth water God help me; in rough water I will help myself.
— George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum
Tailpiece“How was the concert?”
“Terrible. I had to change my seat four times.”
“Some man bother you?”
“Yeah — finally.”
(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)