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moiuk

Water leak in main cabin where does the water go ?

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Strange things bother me, and this thought probably has an obvious answer but I would like to know what that is...

 

Should I ever get a major water leak in the main cabin, where would all the water go ? And how would I clear it up ?

 

I am assuming that there is space under the floor down to the same height as where the bilge is under the engine (about a foot ?)  And so I would assume the water would collect in this space.  If this is true, how do I get access to this space to be able to check it and clear any water there ?  

 

I am assuming that the bilge space does not extend all the way along the boat...

 

Anybody help me sleep better by explaining what I have missed here .

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A foot would be unusual but obviously depends on your boat. More usual 3-4in, perhaps a tad more. It doesn't go anywhere as it will tend to flow towards the stern and stop at the engine room bulkhead. You need access to the sub-floor to mop it up - unless your boat has a cabin bilge pump, which most narrowboats don't have as standard. Access would be via an access hatch in the floor, which you might need to cut yourself.

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Yes it should collect below the flooring and, if you are lucky, make it's way to the back of the boat. My first narrow boat had various floor panels that I could lift and see the bilge area under the floor an excellent and neccessary design feature for any boat. This one that I have now didn't have any panels that I could lift. Quite obviously the builders/designers of my present boat had a brain fart. I had to cut panels out, as I knew I had a leak in one of the radiators and that water would be under the floor. My friends boat had such a big leak that the water was nearly up to the underneath of the flooring wood and she had no liftable panels in her floor either.

 

ps   Don't assume that the water will flow towards the back of the boat. It should but the water under my flooring didn't.

Edited by pete.i

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So I wasnt going mad, that's a relief.

 

I can't see any way to access the sub floor on my boat. Laminate flooring has been layed and there is no way through it to see if a hatch is there.

 

Part of the reason for asking is because when i got the boat there was over a foot of water in ther stern gland bilge from a leaky gland and this had flowed over into the bilge under the engine.  I have pumped this all out now but was  concerned that the bilge under the engine would extend under neath the main cabin.  Given how long it took to pump out I don't think it does, and therefore probably left with a separate bilge under the main cabin to which I have no access to for checking or clearing in case of a leak..

 

 

Edited by moiuk

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2 minutes ago, moiuk said:

So I wasnt going mad, that's a relief.

 

I can't see any way to access the sub floor on my boat. Laminate flooring has been layed and there is no way through it to see if a hatch is there.

 

 

 

 

It does pay to have a really close look becausr sometimes they are not the easiest to see. . On all the boats I have been involved with the access panel has only been at the most a foot square and has nearly always been as near to the engine bulkhead as possible. (usually at the foot of any steps). On a couple of boats it has been hidden under carpet tiles which nee to be lifted to find it. If you have got laminate flooring, and your sure there isn't an obvious one, is there a nearby wardrobe or rear toilet which may have a small access panel? If not it would be a good plan to cut your own in a suitable place.

I have found a sponge is useful to mop up any small accumulation of water - say from a leaky radiator  - and for more substantial leaks a wet and dry vacuum cleaner is good.

 

Howard

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Buy yourself a wet vac for peanuts from somewhere like wickes. I have one on board at all times and it has many uses.

  • Greenie 1

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Had a better look  and yes there does seem to be some form of hatch under the step to the engine room.  Really difficult to get access to so will save that for another day and report back.

 

Thanks.

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if you don't have a hatch then make one ASAP.   I used a 6" hole cutter and fitted a screwed inspection cover (e.g. Force 4 chandlery - £6).

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I have a hatch under my rear steps. In addition I have a series of 4-6inch covered holes under various storage spaces along the full length of the cabin. Came in very usefull when my water tank decided it was bored with its tenants and evicted them, with the aid of a complicit broken water pump joint, into the nether regions of my cabin bilge. 

 

 

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I've recently taken 200 l of water out of the cabin bilge after the filter on the domestic water pump inlet decided to undo itself. Had to lift a section of laminate (laid crossways so easy), use a hole-saw to access the corner of the bilge that is lowest in the water and pump out with a drill-pump. Last bit of water came out soaked into disposal nappies. There was an inspection holethat I'd cut already  in the centre rear but it was hard to get to (being under the bed) and only a slight list to the boat pushed it to one side.

 

A boat should have throughways at the corners of each of the transverse members supporting the floor to permit water to drain to the back.

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A few years ago due to a techinical error (actually it was due to a co*k up on my part) I wound up with 250 litres + of best South Oxford inside my boat. Most alarming was the list and the fact that all the water collected on one side. Fortunatly it was the side where the the access to the bilge/ engine bulkhead and the shower sump / gulper 220 and I managed to pump the water out by canabalising the shower gulper. It took well over an hour and was frightening . I now carry a spare gulper and 6 m of 25 mm? pipe. Hopefully neither will ever see use. For the last 20? Litres the wet and dry was indispensible.

 

Frank

Also have more access holes on both sides

Edited by Slim

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Update..

 

Got access to the hatch by removing the steps up to the engine room.  Surprisingly easy as it turned out, and it was dry (hurrah)..

 

At least I know now and can sleep at night knowing what to do if I get a water leak.

 

Smart idea getting a spare whale gulper, or pump attachment for my drill.  Will probably do that..

 

Thanks all.

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1 minute ago, moiuk said:

Update..

 

Got access to the hatch by removing the steps up to the engine room.  Surprisingly easy as it turned out, and it was dry (hurrah)..

 

At least I know now and can sleep at night knowing what to do if I get a water leak.

 

Smart idea getting a spare whale gulper, or pump attachment for my drill.  Will probably do that..

 

Thanks all.

If you are worried put a water alarm down there, I have one in the tray my water pump sits in

Capture.JPG

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On a slightly similar theme - if you wanted to inspect the inside condition of your boat how do you do this ? If you only have an inspection hatch at the rear near the engine room, how would you ensure the inside of the bottom of the boat is OK ? It sounds like a lot of the time you only have one hatch and that is to the rear.

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4 minutes ago, NewCanalBoy said:

On a slightly similar theme - if you wanted to inspect the inside condition of your boat how do you do this ? If you only have an inspection hatch at the rear near the engine room, how would you ensure the inside of the bottom of the boat is OK ? It sounds like a lot of the time you only have one hatch and that is to the rear.

I work on the principle that I will either be dead or to old to go boating long before the base rusts through from the inside and I have much more interesting things in my life to worry about...  So I never look in.

  • Greenie 2

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Phew, this weekend I took ownership of a really tidy little 26' springer with BSC and hull survey. Upon moving in I lifted storage covers and saw below the fresh water pump a 6" deep puddle under the floor, running length of boat.

Worrying but worked out that it was years of leaking hatch above the water tank up front. I had to destroy ply panelling below the seating to get access and cut out rotten wood.

There really are some bodgers out there, they must have seen this mess before.

Was puzzled how the water kept coming back white sucking out all morning but as you say, it was probably running forward as we were moving around, and filling the tank again.

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On 05/06/2019 at 15:01, moiuk said:

Part of the reason for asking is because when i got the boat there was over a foot of water in ther stern gland bilge from a leaky gland and this had flowed over into the bilge under the engine.  I have pumped this all out now but was  concerned that the bilge under the engine would extend under neath the main cabin.  Given how long it took to pump out I don't think it does, and therefore probably left with a separate bilge under the main cabin to which I have no access to for checking or clearing in case of a leak..

 

 

 

I know you've now found that your cabin bilges are dry, but prior to that couldn''t you see if there was a bulkhead between the engine and cabin bilges?

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On 10/06/2019 at 19:57, Tom766 said:

Phew, this weekend I took ownership of a really tidy little 26' springer with BSC and hull survey. Upon moving in I lifted storage covers and saw below the fresh water pump a 6" deep puddle under the floor, running length of boat.

Worrying but worked out that it was years of leaking hatch above the water tank up front. I had to destroy ply panelling below the seating to get access and cut out rotten wood.

There really are some bodgers out there, they must have seen this mess before.

Was puzzled how the water kept coming back white sucking out all morning but as you say, it was probably running forward as we were moving around, and filling the tank again.

Are you not slightly aggrieved that the surveyor didn't lift some storage covers and find a load of water sitting there ? I think I would be !!

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I s'pose if the surveyor was asked to d a hull survey (as stated by OP) and did ultrasonic testing to establish the steel thickness, and a visual check of the exterior of the hull,  then he will have discharged his responsibilities.

It's much like a house survey - don't expect the building society's surveyor doing a pre-mortgage valuation survey to begin to take things apart to establish if there are any hidden issues.

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10 hours ago, NewCanalBoy said:

Are you not slightly aggrieved that the surveyor didn't lift some storage covers and find a load of water sitting there ? I think I would be !!

Not wishing to sound critical, but you don't need a surveyor to lift some covers and check for water.....................

Also as said already why would a surveyor even enter the boat if they are just doing an external check and ultrasonic thickness measurement?

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I would have thought that if you are having a hull survey somebody would look at the inside too, especially if it only meant lifting some storage space ? Clearly I'm wrong.

 

And yes I agree you shouldn't need a surveyor to check something like that when you can do it yourself.

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Oh, the survey was probably done a couple of years before the water ingress...

 

On the subject of surveyors, especially house ones.  In my experience they arent worth a W.....K.  Had one in after my house sold last year, because he couldnt work the heating controller he condemned my heating in his report stating it didnt workand suggested major work, moron.    Ahhh that's better 🙂

 

  • Happy 1

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