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Ask Skip: A boat that won't sink?

In response to my article "How to sink a boat in one easy step," a reader commented:

I just learned that boats really do not sink. The hull (inside) is made up of a floating material (typically a foam product), that allows it to stay afloat even full of water from your leaking plug. I just tested it a few weekends ago as we purchased a new plug that did not have a tight fit and water was leaking steadily into our boat. It was more annoying than anything to have to continually bail during our fishing trip until we had the plug replaced... but we did not sink. :)


Dear Cindy,
First, I am glad to hear you didn't sink, even if it would have proven my point.  You may have been on a Boston Whaler, or some such boat that claims to be "unsinkable."  Most boats, however, can sink and many do.  If you doubt me, ask any maritime insurer.  In addition, according to Seaworthy magazine, most boats that sink do so at the dock.  So even if you were able to keep your boat from flooding by constantly bailing it out, had you not noticed the leak and gone to lunch, you might have come back to mere dock lines.  Furthermore, even if your hull refused to go all the way under, your engine could take in enough water to ruin it.
Now to address Boston Whaler's claim that their boats are unsinkable.  I suppose by "sink" they mean that the hull is completely sumerged.  I've ridden in Whalers with water up to my ankles, and, despite wet feet, it was still a pretty good ride, so there may be something to their claim.  Their website is fairly convincing, with a photograph of one of their products making way with its bow cut off.  Yet, with enough time and determination—and help from my friend, John, whose hobby is destroying things—I think I could sink a Boston Whaler.
If anyone would like to donate a Whaler to help with this cause, please write in.  Hey, Brunswick Corp (maker of the Boston Whaler brand): Would you care to play "Stump the Sinker?"
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