Saturday mid morning got nasty at Fourchon. With big thunder heads and much electricity all around, the calls began chirping on the vhf about boats taking on water, etc. Hope everyone made it back to port ok. About that time, I was unhooking from the ST200 block and powered up the 300's on my big Cat when it began a hard list to starboard at plane. I immediately knew something wasn't right. Long story short, a through hull fitting that drains the live well popped out with water pouring into starboard hull. Thank God I maintain my systems and had dual (back up) 1500 gph pumps.
Speaking of possible disasters, we saw a 19ft Fishmaster with a single clip on Mercury Verado at ST64 with the weather iffy and closing in all around. It had three children on board and three adults with, what appeared to be, dive tanks and equipment. Really??! Tanks banging around on a 19ft. bay boat on the ride out to ST64. What the heck are you guys thinking??? 21 miles from the safety of Port in a 19ft. bay boat (no free board) with a single engine and a full crew....and kids aboard no less! Last I heard on VHF, they were having issues and a work boat was keeping an eye on them until they made it back to port. I guess Common Sense isn't so common anymore.
To others, familarize yourself with your rigs and always contemplate the unexpected. Spend a few bucks to keep all safety equipment, pumps, vhf, etc. in good working order and do a systems check before you leave port and while on water from time to time. Stay calm and always run through scenarios in your mind. The military calls it 'situational awareness', or SA. I keep the cheap, wood style, plugging dows on board. One worked perfectly in this case. I just hammered it in, finished pumping out the 200 gallons of water in hull, and made it back to port with no issues. Know what to start looking for in case of emergencies. In this case, I should have noticed my high water alarm and auto float switch on bilge wasn't working. I figured that much water in the sponson so quickly could only mean a penetration was compromised. I keep a mask, snorkel and fins on board as we also dive. Even with the best equipment and preparation, things can, and do, still happen. It's begin able to cope with the situation by being prepared that can make the difference between disaster and a distraction. On that final note........I haven't posted my make of hull so as to not start a massive debate; however, it should be criminal to build a $200K rig and be allowed to install a $3.00 1' plastic nut with no double hose clamp on the back side of the fitting. I had to remove a panel to notice it after I realized that the through hull was gone! It was a defect in install, pure and simple. It was not struck by anything. Boat is only 2 years old with little wear and tear. The fitting was not sheared off and the back end and nut was sitting on the bottom of the sponson. Prayers Said! Good luck out there and be safe... Oh yea, by the way: We managed a few fish. We boxed 19 Mangroves, 2 nice Reef Donkeys (28 and 45 lbs), 2 Scamps, 12 Trigger Fish, 4 huge white trout and 2 Cobia.