Drain Plugs aka Drowning Man's Butt Plug

Ya, I know, sounds pretty simple but, it'll probably happen to all of us at least once, and today was my day!  I guess it just boils down to being in to big a dang hurry to get out and get the fish and before you know it your boat is sinking!!  In the fall/winter I like to make sure as much water as possible is out of the hull portion of the boat, not good when it freezes and starts doing weird things to your boat, like break stuff!  This morning was no different, pulled the plug on and laid it on the frame, like I always do, and got the rest of the boat ready to launch.  I backed the boat in, tied it to the dock, went and parked the truck, came back, started up both motors to make sure they were warmed up a bit, went and untied the ropes and put the fenders up into the boat, jumped in and was backing up when, I saw this huge puddle of water on the floor area at the stern!!  My thought was that I left the wash down hose on and it was pouring into the boat, NOT!  Once I checked the hose and found it was turned off, I opened up the canvas at the stern that exposes the battery area and holy crap, the water was up over the floor and about an inch over bottom of the battery boxes, I forgot the plug on the frame!!!!

The next 20 minutes were somewhat fast and furious to say the least, my first thought was to get the boat back on shore in the event the stern did submerge, this I got done.  The next thing was to get the bilge pump on to start draining some of the water however, even though its an 1100 gph pump, which translates to 18 gallons per minutes, there was 22 gallons per minute coming in!!  I grabbed one of my hand rags that I always have on board, thank goodness, and stuffed as much as I could into the drain hole from the inside, try to do this on an inboard boys!!!!  With the bilge pumping, I actually ran, yes, this 52 year old pecker can really run when his boat is sinking, and got the truck and backed it down the ramp ASAP.  Once this was done I got back in the boat and did a little hand bailing because that pump was just now catching up and the water was still covering the rear floor area!!  Once the water was off the floor I backed the boat out and got it onto the trailer in pretty quick fashion, boat saved!!

Now, for a couple of safety tips that I myself am going to follow now, and forgetting to put the plug in has nothing to do with them!!  Number 1, bilge pump, without it I would have been hooped, to say the least.  It saved the boat and the day, even though it couldn't keep up to start with it gave me time to get other stuff done.  If your boat doesn't have one, invest in one and in fact, I'm going to upgrade mine so that it comes on automatically, if I'd had this feature I'd have know right off the bat there was trouble!  Number 2, and this may not work for all boats but what I did find out is that on my boat is that the drain plug hole is the same size inside and out.  What that means is, with a spare plug on board (and I did have one, somewhere!) and readily accessible, the problem could have been plugged off from the inside very quickly.  In my case the hand rag worked great, it cut the water flow down by half at least.  And 3rd, and something which I have just fabricated up in view of my "forgetfulness" is the patent pending Drowning Man's Butt Plug!!  Again I'm not sure how everyone else's drain plug looks or attached but mine is simply a rubber grommet that expands when the T Handle is tightened from the outside.  Sooooooooooo, what I have done now is drilled a small hole into the base washer of this assembly, and placed a piece of stainless steel cable (from the downrigger actually!) through that hole and attached it to the stem of the drain plug.  A simple loop held in place with one of those rigger wire crimps and it can't come off.  Then, the wire is run through the plug hole and into the stern and attached somewhere handy, giving me about 4-6" of slack so the plug can hang outside when NOT plugged in!!  Then, in the event my mind again fails to remember to put the damn thing back in, all I have to do is, pull the wire from the inside and plug the hole!!  Now, that doesn't tighten it nor will it pull the plug all the way into the hole so, you'd still have to get the boat out to do this but, no sinking boat!!  I also have the spare plug handy and can still plug the hole from the inside as well.  I know this all sounds pretty basic to everyone and that's what I kinda figured as well, but this will happen to you, one day, and hopefully you'll be prepared for it because, it fills up pretty fast!!!!!  So, next time I'm at the launch and some guy comes running up to me yelling "hey, can you give me a hand, my boat is sinking!!", I can quickly remind him of the DMBP (Drowning Man's Butt Plug)!!!

1/8" hole drilled into plug base and wire routed through, wrapped around stem and then routed back out and crimped.The end product, a DMBP!!Even if you "always" remember to plug it in, it'll always be right where you can find it!!