House boat in need of foam to keep it from sinking

Discussion in 'Materials' started by mydauphin, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    I have a friend, (really not me thank god), that has a house boat 40' by 20' two stories high. It is leaking water from the bottom of hull. The hull was made by making a box, with sturdy 2x8 and then planking with plywood. He then covered it with fiberglass. Unfortunately he nailed some 2x4 to the bottom for some reason every several feet. He believe this would had some kind of tracking. Anyway fast forward, the 2x4s have fallen leaving water leakage into hull.

    He can't take house out of water for a reasonable price and where the boathouse is it can not be repaired from underwater. So he is in a pickle. I suggested filling hull with that two part foam. I have done it before to barges and all kinds of work boats and though they won't stop leak, they will stop the sinking part. He is happy if it last 10 years.

    Anyone else have any ideas, comments or where to buy 100s+ gals of this stuff as cheaply as possibles.
     
  2. tom28571
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    tom28571 Senior Member

    Sounds like a terrible idea to me. Hard to do, expensive and would probably cause more trouble than it might save. Making two part foam completely waterproof is not a guarantee and water would still leak in anyway. If the bilge is deep enough to allow getting into, I'd think hard about going in there and patching each of the holes from the inside with water tolerant goo. Making access hatches or holes is cheap compared to what he is contemplating.
     
  3. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    put in a bilge pump. have some large vinyl tubes made up (or make them yourself, just takes a heat gun and heat weldable fabric) with air valve at one end, fill the hull with these tubes and inflate them. they will keep most of the water out and if one leaks you have redundancy. they will be easy to remove later when a haul out is finally done and permanent repairs can be completed. Good luck
     
  4. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    When you patch from inside water pressure pushes it out no matter what you use, epoxy etc... Normally I could dive and repair hull underwater but it is parked in a swamp with no visiblilty, a few crocs and water is only a couple feet under house boat. So repairing from outside is impossible.
     
  5. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Any possibility of pullimg a tarp over the outsides of the hull to slow down the leaks?
     
  6. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    The friend was looking at covering on outside with a hyplon type material, but that would cost $7000 and I am not sure if you could move a piece 44 x 24 feet under houseboat to then pull it tight to do the job. It would still be a temporary fix anyway. Presently he just keep bilge running...
     
  7. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    Lay some tar or similar material on sheet metal and stick it to the outside of hull. Pump out hull. Dry out inside and inject epoxy to dryed out surface. Take away his hammer.
     
  8. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    LOL, the thing is 40 feet by 20 feet, that is alot of surface and you can't get under it or lift it.
     
  9. keysdisease
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    keysdisease Senior Member

    Haul it out and fix it right.
     
  10. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    If he can get at the holes from the inside he could screw some screws in the holes and stop the leaks. Maybe put a flat washer and a rubber washer on it too.

    You could tow it out to deeper, clearer water and put the screws and washers on from the outside and pretty much have a permanent repair.
     
  11. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    MY friend who may not be after I help him with this, is unwilling or can't tow it or haul it out. I know it makes sense to get the thing out of the water and fix it. I could probably do that in two days, but the dumb boathouse is moored off of Lake Okeechobee and there are no facilities capable of lifting this turkey out of the water for several hundred miles from there. It has no power and would have to be towed everywhere and back. The water were the houseboat is surrounded with hungry crocs. The House boat is two stories all the way threw and weights over 40 tons. And you can't get to the holes because they are under the beams of the hull and you can't crawl too easily inside either.

    SO I was thinking pouring something on the inside. But regular epoxy will just get pushed away. The two-part foam grabs very quickly and even if water leaks in the darn things will float if the whole thing is full of foam.

    So ok, lets see those genius minds are work...

    Part of the problem with these Houseboats is that most cities in Florida have made them illegal. So if you know of somewhere that Boathouse friendly let me know.
     
  12. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    slid large blocks of foam under the hull using rope sling, one person on each side, tie the sling at each side to keep them in place.

    Drive piles down on each side of hull and support hull on the piles (steel pipe is best, do it at night so authorities do not know about it). Install a helix auger on the end and it can be drive down by hand with large lever bar.

    filling it with foam will still allow it to sink, foam will get saturated eventually.

    Either fix it or let it sink so he learns his lesson.
     
  13. rberrey
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    rberrey Senior Member

    Start filling drink bottles full of foam and drop them in. Mix some fine grain saw dust and hydralic cement and drop it upstream along the edge of the boat, he might get lucky in a few spots. Keep a good trash pump on hand. Add pontoons to the sides.
     
  14. tunnels

    tunnels Previous Member

    what ??

    Get a new friend because this one dosent sound to bright !!:eek:
     

  15. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    CDK retired engineer

    This sounds more like a quiz than a real case to me. If I had a leaking houseboat in a swamp area with hungry crocodiles glaring at me I would be happy when the darn thing sunk.

    But in all honesty, I do not think there is a real solution. Your friend doesn't need hypalon but can use any plastic foil to slow down the leakage. And it also doesn't need to be in one piece because that is too large to handle. There are cheap Chinese tarps 24x18 ft, 3 or 4 of them should do the trick.
    Gently move one under the boat, then pull up both sides at the same time. The water pressure will keep the plastic in place where there are leaks.
    I've seen a local fisherman here who used a garbage bag to keep his boat from sinking. In fact he kept on fishing for several weeks to earn some money for a more durable repair!
     
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