Water in bilge

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Well-known member
Feb 27, 2006
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Brooklyn, NY USA
I just wanted to show you guys how much water I sponged out of my bilge yesterday. My dealer sent me a new Tempress slam hatch so I figured I would dry all the water out and see if it still leaks. Let's hope not. If it does leak, I'm going with an aluminum Bomar. I figured it was worth a shot before spending $400. :shock:


I wish my bilge was as clean as Kevin's! My boats an '06 and its filthy in there! :lol:

I actually stopped rinsing the cabin with water. Thats where most of the dirt was coming from. I just wipe it down with a rag and Simple Green. Much better and smells great!

8" in a 5 gallon bucket ... ?? Do you have the forward bilge pump? I do ... but even though it won't pump down that low to remove all rain water, the most i've ever sponged out is maybe 2", after a HARD rain.
Yup, thats a 5 gallon bucket. It was about half full. My boat doesnt have a forward bilge. :(
I've spent some time over the last couple of seasons chasing down leaks in the aft slam and deckplates. :(

Couple of quick thoughts.....

Are you convinced that this water is coming only from the aft slam?

Can you isolate the leak? ie., if you lay a trickle sheet of water down with a hose on the deck, -aft- of the fuel tank deckplate, do you still get the water in the bilge?

Remember, there are -two- places the slam can leak. Where it attaches to the deck, and up at the O-ring/hatch seal.

By keeping this sheet of water slow (i.e. "thin") you can focus the water on the lower seal, because the water doesn't have the energy to overcome gravity and ride up the flange and into the higher O-ring seal.

If it -is- the lower seal, it could be a distorted flange due to overtightening, or improper bedding.

Maybe you've already done this analysis,, but I'd spend some time trying to find exactly where the water is coming in before I spent $400 on a new hatch.

Make sure you inspect the bedding material when you first remove the old hatch to see discolored or "dirty" voids in the seal where deck dirt might have been sliding through the seal.

Of course you should also check out Kevin's most excellent project post where he resealed all his deck openings. Megabytes Sealing Project
I had also suggested that he bed the new hatch and let it "seal" in place before torqueing up the screws. Heck, I only put 4 or so in to keep it in place and let it seal up for a day before securing. Then your sealant goop of choice also acts like a gasket.

Also try the "cardboard" trick. Put clean dry cardboard in the bilge, close/seal the hatch, and then wet the deck with a spray hose. You'll find out pretty quick where the water inlet source is. I know one guy that liberally put clean sawdust ALL OVER HIS wood boat until he "finally" found the source of the water leak ;) .
The slam hatch leaked from day one. I even tried re-bedding it, but didn't help. When I took it off, the bedding material looked clean, but the topside flange was dirty in both corners on the hinged side. I'm pretty sure it was leaking from those corners.

My batteries are right below the hatch and they're always soaked after rain or washing the deck. I installed battery boxes to keep them dry for now. I'm going to put a piece of cardboard under the new hatch and trickle water over it sometime this week.

I already replaced the 2 round 8" hatches (which also leaked) with Armstrongs. I knew they leaked because the foam surrounding my fuel tank was wet. Ever since I replaced then, the foam has been dry. I'm convinced that it has to be the slam hatch. Theres really no where else for water to get in except for the wall surrounding the slam hatch, and that gap is pretty small and its underneath the transom box.

Dale, for all I know, this hatch doesnt leak a drop. When I installed it, I followed your advice and didn't torque the screws down. I did install all of them though. I tightened each one until some goop came out (I used Kevin's tape trick to keep it neat). The next night I tightened them down as hard as I could.

Also, this hatch seems like it closes much better than the first one.

What about those rear "poop deck" hatches? Or rod holders? Do you have anything else that drains into the bilge?

I'd still try the cardboard trick, because it may not be the deck hatch. And there's no way condensation would give you 8" of water in a bucket.
DaleH":1s4zpn09 said:
What about those rear "poop deck" hatches? Or rod holders? Do you have anything else that drains into the bilge?

I'd still try the cardboard trick, because it may not be the deck hatch. And there's no way condensation would give you 8" of water in a bucket.

Dale, whats a poop deck hatch? The 8" round hatches you see in the pic? I replaced those with Armstrongs months ago. Thats an old pic I posted.

My rod holders drain directly on deck. Nothing drains into the bilge besides the cabin drain hole and anchor locker. Very little water gets into the anchor locker. It have a gutter all around the hatch. I also stopped spraying water in the cabin a while ago.
The poop deck is the transom cap ... any way those drain into the bilge?

Have you "tasted" the water to see if it is salt or fresh? Maybe you bring the boat down off of plane too fast and water comes up and over the swim platform and thru the stern OB hose rigging holes ... :?: ??
If you are slipped, have you checked how the boat sits in the water? Are the scuppers either at/under the water line, or so close that waves could push a bit of water in? If each wave pushed 1/4 tsp past a scupper and it was able to run off the scupper plate and into the bilge, over time, a lot of water could accumulate in the bilge.

If that is the case, then check to make sure there isn't a gap between the deck and the scupper that would allow water to run off the deck into the bilge (bypassing the scupper). The area in front of my scuppers are about 1/2" below the deck, with ridges, so that water is directed toward the scupper, and can't easily go over the ridge and into the bilge. However, when launching and recovering the boat onto the trailer on a steep ramp, the scuppers go so far beneath the water line (6"-12") that water can run in the scupper, over the ridges, and into the bilge. I can be on the water on a blue-bird day, and when up on plane, not have a drop in the bilge. Then after recovering to the trailer, a couple of gallons can run out the drain, when the drain-plug in the transom is removed (I store it with the plug out). All that water came from the 2-3 minutes the boat was being winched onto the trailer.
96TL, if it makes you feel better, I've pumped out an entire bucket of water.

Probably like you, my boat sits a bit bow-heavy and water accumulates in the forward (cabin) bilge area where there is no pump. My mechanic cut through and installed an access plate (he couldn't believe the thickness of the glass, by the way!) that allows me to hand-pump water out, which I do after each heavy rain. I also resealed the deck plates/hatches over the winter and the amount of water has definitely been reduced -- uually only a gallon or two after a big rain -- but like you, I'm frustrated that ANY water is still getting in. This thread has given me a lot of interesting info, though, so thanks for starting it. I probably should start by ordering new O-rings.

P.S. - I was concerned about my boat leaking, but that seems not to be the case since the water only appears after a rain. I just find it hard to believe that so much can squeeze in through the hatches. Maybe my anchor locker has a drain that leads to the bilge?? Guess I should check.
Anchor locker must have a drain, either overboard, or through a pathway under the deck back to the rear bilge.

My 2510 has both a forward bilge and an aft bilge. The anchor locker, forward bilge, and aft bilge are all tied together. If I pour a gallon of water into the anchor locker, it runs to the back and out through the drain in the bottom of the transom (when on the trailer, with the nose of the trailer above the bottom of the transom).

If you have a forward bilge compartment, recommend you install a bilge pump and route the drain out through the side of the hull, like other Parkers in the 23/25 ft. range.
Blue Goose":2x997kgb said:
Maybe my anchor locker has a drain that leads to the bilge?? Guess I should check.

I'm not sure how I missed this thread, but after reading all of the replies, Jeff suggested one area no one else had mentioned yet... the anchor locker.

It shouldn't pass as much water as you are seeing, but the hawse pipe that lets the rode into the anchor locker isn't exactly sealed.

(can you believe that I don't have a close-up photo of that pipe?) :D

Daves idea that the water might be coming back through the scuppers into the bilge sounds plausible, until you see that the construction of that area will not allow that to happen.


Looking at the rear of the bilge, near the transom, if you look closely you can see a little water in the bottom of the hull where it escapes the bilge pump. It doesn't hold much, and if I leave my deck hatch open during good weather, even this water eventually dries up and goes away.


The batteries are forward of that bilge hatch, under the deck, and on a shelf above any moisture.


Moving forward... consider that the lowest spot on our hull isn't back there at the transom. It's actually amidship, in the area where some of us have that forward bilge pump.

Depending on how much weight you carry in the v-berth - safety and survival gear, maintenance items, fishing gear, and so forth, the weight carried forward can be considerable.


The weight carried forward can lead to a slightly nose heavy attitude making water retention in the midship area worse.

This photo was taken the same day, and at the same time I took that photo of the rear bilge. Notice the amount of water that the bilge pump can't get to... It is considerably more than what you see astern.


The drain that you see at the top of the photo (under the pump wiring) goes forward to the anchor locker, allowing wash and rain water to drain rearward.

There has been speculation in the past, that the drain for the forward bilge hose (in the above photo) might be allowing "wave action" water to make its way back through the bilge drain by siphon action, and introduce raw water into the bilge.

That's why Dale asked if you tasted it... Salty = raw water.

It is true that the forward bilge drain is low on the hull.
The exit point is below the v-berth floor, which doesn't leave much room for a weather loop in the discharge hose.


I believe the perception that the forward bilge hose was contributing to water introduction and retention in the bilge is one reason the factory discontinued the practice of adding a forward bilge pump.

I'm not so inclined to blame that forward pump though...

I have replaced my forward discharge hose with a larger weather loop, replaced the plastic through-hull with a chrome over bronze part (just in case the old one was cracked), and I replaced the forward 360 gph pump with an 800 gph pump and solid state switch... just to cover the bases.

In short...

1.) The most likely place for me to be getting water, after eliminating other sources via upgrades and rebedding, is the anchor locker, although I am almost certainly still getting some water into the bilge via that rear deck hatch. The gasket on that hatch isn't waterproof... I'll replace that hatch eventually, but it is a minor concern at the moment.
2.) Due to the weight of my gear in the v-berth, and the design of the hull, water tends to collect in the midship area. Water will collect in the lowest spot... and for me, amidships is the place. As the season winds down, more and more of that gear will be removed. I can tell you that after I stripped the boat for the season last year, and ran her to Deale to be stored for the winter... all the bilge water was gone. It moved aft while underway and the rear pump eliminated it.

Is the water that does collect in the bilge manageable? Yep.
Am I worried about it? Nope.

How do I keep my bilge clean?
You guys don't really want to know, do you? :)
Intriguing thread. And more importantly I hope you get to the bottom of it Dom, and that we all learn something. This is water in your rear bilge if I understand correctly, and water that the bilge pump does not get out?

My 2005 2520SL does not have a forward bilge and pump. It does not have a full transom. It doesn not have a hawse pipe up front, but it does have a windlass.

A 2005 2520XL also has no forward bilge/pump but has the closed transom and bracket. All other things being equal I would think that my 2520SL would be more bow heavy than the 2520XL.

Dom has a 2320XL also has no forward bilge/pump, but it has a full transom and bracket. He does have the forward hawse pipe though. The proportions of his boat probably make his static trim more like my 2520SL, and less like a 2520XL.

Why am I saying this? I draw attention to the fact that my 2520SL bilge is bone dry (and also clean), and that his boat with a hypothetically similar static trim, should be as well, unless water is coming in from that pipe up front, or somehow through the closed transom. Those appear to be the variables that are different than mine anyways. Forgive me if I am missing something and just adding noise.
Good analysis Sal.

Maybe we need to pick a date and get together, line the boats up in a row, and find the cause over a cooler full of beverages.

That would be my vote. :mrgreen:

Edit... My boat gets a serious scrubdown on average... at least twice a week. Since you can see my bilge water is pretty clear, I would guess that is where I get the majority of my bilge water.

I'm not willing to let her get dirty just to test the theory though. :)
Wow. Lots of good info in this thread.

I really doubt water is getting in from the scuppers. My boat doesn't sit low and the area around the scuppers does not have any gaps at all. I don't see where it could get in from.

I looked in my anchor locker and don't see any drain pipe at all. There's a gutter around the hatch that looks like would guide rain water off onto the deck. Maybe Parker eliminated the drain pipe?

Porkchunker, that wall in the pic I posted leads into the bilge! It's under the fish box, so I don't think that much water could get in from there, maybe a few drops here and there. Maybe that's where the water has been coming from this whole time? Why would they leave that area open like that? To vent the bilge?

Dale, I didn't think about doing a taste test. I'll do it the next time I get to the boat. I hope its fresh water. :shock:

Megabyte, thanks for posting all those pics and info. 8)


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