How To Prevent Your Boat From Sinking

Bungs Can Keep Your Sinking Boat Afloat

How To Prevent Your Boat From Sinking

Bungs can be purchased at marine retailers or made in a home workshop. Only use softwood, like pine or cedar, for bungs.

A 3/4-inch hole 2-1/2 feet below the waterline admits water at a rate of 24 gallons-per-minute. That's 1,440 gallons-per-hour. A 2000 GPH bilge pump would be hard-pressed to keep up with that flow, unless its wiring had no voltage drop, the discharge hose was smooth-bore and the hose run had no sags or bends. Stopping the flow is better than relying on the pump to handle it.

So, what can you do if a through-hull fitting fails or a hose bursts below the water line aboard your boat?

A reliable way to stop such a leak is to plug it with a tapered piece of softwood known as a bung. Press the bung into the failed fixture or hose, the wood swells, and a watertight seal is achieved.

We created this short video to show how effective a bung can be at preventing your boat from sinking.

Tips For Using Bungs
•Keep a tapered, appropriately-sized softwood bung tied to every through-hull fitting below the waterline.

•Hardwood should not be used as it can split a cast or plastic fitting and may not swell to a tight seal.

•Push the bung in place, don’t hammer it lest you cause more damage.

Takeaway: If you run aground, make sure you have not created a hole or leak before pushing off or getting towed back into deep water.