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Buying a boat that leaks "a little"

Old 08-25-2016, 09:16 PM
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Default Buying a boat that leaks "a little"

I'm looking at buying a 2000 Smoker craft 162 Pro Mag. It is a riveted boat and when I asked the seller if it leaked he said "some water comes out when you pull the plug". He also said it was on the water for three straight days and the bilge pump never came on "so it must not leak very much". Is it common for a riveted boat to leak some or is this a scam?
Old 08-25-2016, 09:17 PM
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Yes, it is common for a 16 year old riveted boat to have some kind of leak.
Old 08-25-2016, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by fishman719 View Post
I'm looking at buying a 2000 Smoker craft 162 Pro Mag. It is a riveted boat and when I asked the seller if it leaked he said "some water comes out when you pull the plug". He also said it was on the water for three straight days and the bilge pump never came on "so it must not leak very much". Is it common for a riveted boat to leak some or is this a scam?
Sounds like the owner is trying to answer truthfully. Sometimes boats can leak a little.

If you are serious about the boat, and have the money in hand, have him demonstrate that the boat is OK.
Old 08-25-2016, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by fishman719 View Post
I'm looking at buying a 2000 Smoker craft 162 Pro Mag. It is a riveted boat and when I asked the seller if it leaked he said "some water comes out when you pull the plug". He also said it was on the water for three straight days and the bilge pump never came on "so it must not leak very much". Is it common for a riveted boat to leak some or is this a scam?
Its common, I'd be more surprised if he said the boat didn't leak a little.
Old 08-26-2016, 01:30 AM
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Water coming out of the bilge is not necessarily a concern. The question is how how much water gets in there and how does the water get in to the bilge in the first place?
Old 08-26-2016, 02:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Breadwinnr View Post
Its common, I'd be more surprised if he said the boat didn't leak a little.
My riveted boat leaks like a SIEVE. But she still gets me to and from my duck spots. I wouldn't dump it on someone, tho. If he answered truthfully - which it sounds like he has - ask him to give you a demo.

We found a bunch of my leaky spots, by drying my boat completely. Putting it on a trailer. And then adding water until we found leaks. I've tried marine silicone, roofing tar, that seal spray on TV, Rustoleum truck bed liner... None of it holds up. The sticks and gravel tear it up every time. I've just learned to live with it.
Old 08-26-2016, 06:17 AM
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A Pro Mag has a full deck and a livewell so there is plumbing under the deck for the livewell plus a livewell pump pick up that is below waterline. Any of that could be leaking, or a few leaky rivets, or the livewell aereator sprays a little water on the cover that leaks into the bilge. I would not worry about it if you like the boat and there is not a lot of water in it at the end of your sea test.
Old 08-26-2016, 06:49 AM
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Default Aluminum hull leaks

Judging from the product literature (http://www.smokercraft.com/sites/smo...ng-Catalog.pdf) the bottom is "seamless" which eliminates a lot of the leaks in an aluminum hull and it has foam flotation "in every cavity" so even if it leaks it won't sink. You can put water into the "dry" hull (or in the water) to check for significant leaks at rivet lines that might indicate a structural failure but the hull is pretty thick (0.10") so hull damage that serious would most likely be obvious (dent, bending, twisting, etc.).

I owned an 1969 Mirrocraft 18' aluminum center console that had two bottom hull panels riveted to a keel that leaked like a sieve (400 gph bilge pump ran 20 seconds out of every 4 minutes at rest). However, the plywood deck sat on solid PU flotation foam so even when you pulled the transom plug only about an inch of water came to the front of the motor well then stopped (kind of like a big surfboard with sides) and when you moved forward it drained out in less than 30 seconds because the PU foam occupied all the space where water would normally collect. A fishing friend once asked if there was always that much water in the transom area and I replied no there's usually a lot more. I sold the boat 3 years ago and the new owner told me last month that it still runs fine.
Old 08-26-2016, 09:37 AM
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Ok, thanks guys. He's taking me on the water to test it so maybe I'll put a 5 gallon bucket underneath when he pulls the plug. So I'm guessing "a little water" that's acceptable means about a gallon?
Old 08-26-2016, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by fishman719 View Post
Ok, thanks guys. He's taking me on the water to test it so maybe I'll put a 5 gallon bucket underneath when he pulls the plug. So I'm guessing "a little water" that's acceptable means about a gallon?
Depends on how long you're on the water. "some water comes out when you pull the plug" could be the the result of a leaking live well or fitting, wet ride, etc. If the hull is truly "tight" I would expect less than a gallon of water (1/5 of a 5 gallon bucket) for a 2-3 hour ride.
Old 08-26-2016, 10:25 AM
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Buying a boat that leaks "a little"...means buying a project you must fix. Could be simple. Perhaps not.
Old 08-26-2016, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by LeakinLena View Post
...a gallon of water (1/5 of a 5 gallon bucket).
Thanks for clearing that up!
Old 08-26-2016, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by disD1 View Post
Buying a boat that leaks "a little"...means buying a project you must fix. Could be simple. Perhaps not.
I've never met a boat that didn't spit anything when you pull the drain plug. They all leak a little. Some just leak a lot haha
Old 08-26-2016, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by 86hydrasports View Post
We found a bunch of my leaky spots, by drying my boat completely. Putting it on a trailer. And then adding water until we found leaks. I've tried marine silicone, roofing tar, that seal spray on TV, Rustoleum truck bed liner... None of it holds up. The sticks and gravel tear it up every time. I've just learned to live with it.


3M makes a product that comes in a stick form that you heat up with a torch to liquefy it and apply to leaky rivets. It is actually the same thing they use to coat pipes. It's tough as nails and is holding up well on my duck boat.


Find the leaks by filling with water as you mentioned. Pound the rivets flat if you can get at both sides to buck them, then apply the 3M sealant. You'll have a dry boat. My 50 year old duck boat leaked like a sieve, now it barely leaks at all.
Old 08-26-2016, 11:03 AM
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i sold a boat that leaked a little ,the fella that bought it rang me up and informed me the boat leaked about 10 - 15 liters of water after about 8 hours sitting in the water.
i told him to bring the boat over and i would fix it for him >>> i went and bought him a $40 1100 GPH bilge pump kit and fitted it to fix the leak ,problem solved the Aussie way
Old 08-26-2016, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Vitamin_Sea View Post
3M makes a product that comes in a stick form that you heat up with a torch to liquefy it and apply to leaky rivets.
I've been googling feverishly. Any chance you can give me a name or a product line?? I'm completely lost. I'm about to buy 1,000 gallons of epoxy they use to cover new water lines. I'm assuming that's for the city's water infrastructure. I'll ask Palm Beach County if they'll go halfsies. haha
Old 08-26-2016, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by 86hydrasports View Post
I've been googling feverishly. Any chance you can give me a name or a product line?? I'm completely lost. I'm about to buy 1,000 gallons of epoxy they use to cover new water lines. I'm assuming that's for the city's water infrastructure. I'll ask Palm Beach County if they'll go halfsies. haha


It's called "Scotchkote 226P". Cabelas used to sell it, but I don't think they carry it anymore. The only place I was able to find it in anything but a bulk quantity was a guy on eBay who sells a half dozen sticks for around 20 bucks. The stuff works. Bonds good and tough as nails. It's a little bit of a pain to work with and you will end up with a gooey mess if you're not careful. It's like hot glue on steroids.
Old 08-26-2016, 04:17 PM
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Years ago my uncle purchased a riveted Jon boat that had lots of leaks to the point it was almost unusable. His plan was to replace the rivets that had issues however once he got started he realized it was going to be a big job and was hard to justify the labor required to make a $100 boat leak free.
I jokingly said that he should just bedline the inside and he ran with it.
He removed the front deck and bench seats then used a product to seal gutters on any rivets that were in bad shape. After that he had the complete inside sprayed with tan Line X. The front decks and bench seats were then reinstalled.
This was well over 15 years ago and he swears he has less than a pint of water drain out after a morning hunt.
Old 08-28-2016, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Vitamin_Sea View Post
It's called "Scotchkote 226P". Cabelas used to sell it, but I don't think they carry it anymore. The only place I was able to find it in anything but a bulk quantity was a guy on eBay who sells a half dozen sticks for around 20 bucks. The stuff works. Bonds good and tough as nails. It's a little bit of a pain to work with and you will end up with a gooey mess if you're not careful. It's like hot glue on steroids.
Thanks! I'm gonna find this stuff asap!

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