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96 Master Angler 18 - water in Bilge


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Ok folks, I have commented a few times on my boat.  As you might now, I've owned it for about 2 yrs.  Bought it from a member here, really good guy, no hard feelings.  I do love the boat, maybe more than any boat I have ever owned.  I've owned offshore boats, bay boats, etc.

Any way, since I have owned it, the bilge pump kicks on 3-5 times per day, while on the water.  Each time, it runs, maybe 3-5 seconds.  So, I would guess that's a quart or so of water each time.  So, it's not a long, but, quite frankly, bugs the crap outa me. I am trying to track down the culprit.  I have tightened the drain hole.  Got a tad bigger screws, and siliconed it all up.  It's snug.  I also saw, in my live well area, in the floor of the live well, small cracks.  So, seeing as my live well always has water in it...which I can't seem to stop (plug the drain?) water could seem through the cracks and into the bilge..so I siliconed the cracks really well.  I have looked and looked, can't really see where its coming from.

Help me think out side the box, or tell me your thoughts/suggestions and if you had this and what the remedy was.
















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Its a mystery of of the ages....Chased same problem few years back and not really sure what remedied it. The cockpit drains, if they have not been re fitted can weep water into the bilge. Also when you launch it usually floods the rear splash well and if your hatch in it is not gasketed some seeps in there as well. All three of my wells are plumbed but I keep the drains plugged to keep them dry unless keeping fish in the release well. Sounds like yours is doing it continuously and since our 96's dont have a sea chest  it could be your live well intakes need a tighten up as water pushing against the values in the stopped off position could force some out if the hose and hose clamps are OEM. One other culprit could be the center release well drain. Its plastic and it and the sealant can degrade and shrink a bit.

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I was finding water in my bilge periodically, but inconsistently and it was driving me nuts.   I eleininated every possibility I could think of (it was this journey that originally led me to the stringer issue).   It kept happening even after the restoration.  

One day, it dawned on me what it was.    My bilge outflow was being forced underwater when my buddy and I were fishing from the back of the boat together.    I still need to put a check valve in or re route the plumbing, but that was it.   

Could be your issue too.

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I'll bet you that's what's going on - easy to check - put a hose on the outflow (usually on the starboard side) and see what happens.   If your hose is routed properly, it should go "up" inside the hull from the through hull before going to the bilge pump to minimize that, but knowing the structure of the stern, I bet it is a straight or even downhill shot from that through-hull to your bilge pump.   Get that through-hull under water and you can imagine what happens.

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Same issue here.  Very inconsistent volumes.  

My latest theory is also backflow from the bilge drain.  The last time I was launching I noticed that the thru hull was completely submerged because of the angle of the ramp.  I definitely seem to get more water when I have people fishing from the stern and there are waves/chop.  

If I can remember to do it - I'm temped to put a cork in it just to do a test run - carefully of course.  I'll report back when I do.

When I bought the boat I did a bunch of reading here and re-sealed the deck drains, trim tab actuators, top lip of the livewell where it joins the deck, and basically every screw that was near or below the water line.  I also replaced the gasket on my stern access port and even put a camera in the bilge and ran the livewell looking for leaks in hoses and through hulls with no significant improvement.  Curiously, my 16 Hewes had the exact same issue. 

Please let us know if you figure it out!




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  • 2 months later...

Thanks again for the follow up thoughts.  I have been busy this summer, and have not been fishing/using the boat as much as I had hoped...but, I am itching to get back on the water..I am going to inspect the area where the live well meets the deck for sure and maybe silicone that off...Also, on my MA, on my rear port locker, I use that as a "fish box" and have been doing some researching to insulate that area...hopefully can piddle on the boat some this weekend.

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