What does B.O.A.T. stand for? Break out another thousand! We’ve heard it said many different ways, and no matter how you word it, we know it to be true!

It is the fall of 2020, and we start the annual trip south in mid-October. But first a stop at Zimmerman Marine in Deltaville, VA for some scheduled maintenance work. Replacement of the shaft seals and rudder seals, which keep water out of the bilge, is the main job. There has been a problem with the oil pressure in the port engine that needs a qualified Yanmar mechanic to look at. We expect a 3 to 5-day stay at the boatyard for the work.

Office sign
Zimerman Marine Service

Boat in a travel lift
Adam carefully inspecting the boat

As the boat is lifted out of the water, Adam Sadeg, the yard manager at Zimmerman Deltaville, looks our girl over. The first thing he detects is that the hull is in need of fresh bottom paint. It had been a very hot summer and there are a lot of barnacles clinging to the boat! Immediately after the boat is secure on braces the workers take a power washer to it and start the general scraping.

That evening, after the work crew has left for the day, I figure I’ll help the process along so I pick up a scraper. I take the putty knife and start scraping some of the areas that are challenging to get to. Pop! Something that wasn’t a barnacle came off. I show it to Jim. Oh crap, it is the head of a bolt that is holding the swim platform on! We later learn that several of the bolts, and the struts supporting the swim platform, show signs of galvanic corrosion. According to the BoatUS website, “Metal parts underwater are subject to two basic types of corrosion: galvanic corrosion and stray current corrosion. Both types can harm your boat, propeller, and motor if not correctly monitored and avoided.”

Corrosion on the metal underside of a boat
Corrosion on the braces

A ladder to the stern of a boat in the boatyard
We use a ladder to get on and off the boat

Living on the boat while it is on the hard (which means on jack stands in the boatyard) requires that we climb up and down a ladder every time we need to get off the boat! We use the head sparingly because we won’t be able to have our tanks emptied while in the boatyard. We take many trips over to the marina bathrooms.

The work crew at Zimmerman Marine Services in Deltaville are top-notch. They are friendly, considerate, and very professional. They make this inconvenience the best experience they can.

two men putting a zinc on the stern of a boat
The work crew is great!

large motor yacht in travel lift
Ready to be splashed!

As the boat is finally on the lift and taken over to the well to be splashed, Adam notices that the zinc for the bow thruster is missing! A new one is located and installed. Will it ever end?!

Because new cutlass bearings were installed, Adam recommends that we have a shaft alignment. He explains it could be up to two days of extra labor. We hesitate, as the total cost of the repairs is still a mystery! Jim calls his brother, another avid boater, to run it by him. At this point, we’ve invested so much in all the repairs and maintenance we come to the correct conclusion that we need to proceed and do the whole job right. So, we give Adam the go-ahead. While it is a challenging job, and a somewhat tedious procedure, it takes just 8 hours to do both shafts. We felt like we finally caught a break!

man working on a boat engine
Shaft Alignment

man painting a boat
New bottom paint going on

As all the work is being done, Jim and I aren’t sure what it is all going to cost. One thing leads to another. Honestly, it was all necessary. Adam had given us an estimate for the bottom paint. He gave us a few different options on the various types of paint. The major cost in this job is in the prep, so it seems foolish not to go with the best paint.

Can of paint

The cost of the repair on the swim platform structure is the biggest unknown to us. The large support braces have to be sent out to a local machine shop. Upon arrival, Jim had a rough idea about the cost of the shaft and rudder seal repairs. At this point, we are well past that estimate!

Braces under a boat
Braces for the large swim platform

Man writing a check
Paying the bill. Ouch!

As Jim is writing out the check he states ” Barring anything unusual we should be in good shape for a while.”
Finally, 3 weeks after the boat is lifted out of the water, we pay the final bill and the following day, we continue our journey south for the winter. The 50 miles to Norfolk is a calm and beautiful ride. We are so happy to be on the move again.

We left Deltaville feeling like our beautiful Floating Home was in great shape. Yet at the end of the trip, Jim discovers about 30 gallons of water in the bilge! Discovering this much water felt like a punch to the gut.

The next few days, Jim begins to diagnose where the water could be coming in. No more water was in the bilge the next morning after Jim vacuums it out, so we knew it only came in when the boat was underway. The next two days we travel at idle speed through the Great Dismal Swamp. Again, no water! When we arrive at the Albemarle Sound, I take the boat up on plane while Jim climbs in the rear bilge with a flashlight and our go-pro camera! That is where he discovered where the water was coming in.

man vacuuming water from boat bilge
Jim cleaning water in the bilge

Boat in Travel Lift
Floating Home in the Travel Lift

It seems that when our boat was in the travel lift, the transom was under stress, enough to loosen the caulk that seals where the hull meets the upper part of the boat. In Wilmington, NC we are finally tied on a floating dock. Jim is able to remove the rub rail and re-caulk this area. Once again, our Floating Home is watertight.

All in all, everything works out fine. At the time we are crushed but now looking back we realize a boat is just a hole in the water you pour money into!

A boat is just a hole in the water

that you pour money into

2 thoughts on “B.O.A.T.”

  1. OMG….Stephanie, you have so much more knowledge about the operations and functions of boat parts! Good job on the blog….love having you as an accountability partner in blogging.

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