Marine Surveys by Tamarack Marine Surveys, George T. Little, SAMS® AMS®,  Colchester, Vermont, USA Tamarack Marine Surveys
Colchester, Vermont, USA
Office: 802-864-4003

George T. Little, SAMS® AMS®

Principal Marine Surveyor



Examples of Damage Survey Findings
damaged engine Big damage from hydrostatic lock

Gasoline inboard engines in recreational craft are heavily loaded and not infrequently fail if operators are overly enthusiastic, design elements are problematic, or cumulative deferred maintenance takes its toll. This photo shows profound engine damage to the center cylinder wall, as well as a head gasket "blown" between adjacent cylinders. Hydrostatic lock, where coolant enters a combustion chamber,and being incompressible causes piston and/or connecting rod failure, occurred here, breaking the connecting rod, piston, and cylinder wall. The contributing factors included a possibly poorly re-torqued replacement head gasket, and the possibility that the cylinder wall casting was either defective or damaged due to inadequate winter lay-up. In this instance, failure of the water-cooled exhaust manifold and riser were eliminated as causes. Hydrostatic lock is also not uncommon in vessels where exhaust system design can either allow excessive amounts of injected exhaust cooling water to backflow into a cylinder during no-start conditions, or where following seas and even pressure wave inversions from valve timing strategies cause reverse overloading. Water enters through open exhaust valves, and in any significant quantities results in serious damage. A further variant occurs when the relation between the static waterline established internally in a dormant engine's exhaust manifold/riser and the external ambient water level changes due to vessel loading and depth of immersion.
damaged mast Mast damage

Some mast damage, in this instance a partial collapse at the spreader attachment, can be difficult to quickly spot. This substantial Gibb'Sea 47 spar had reportedly slipped in its spreader hoisting noose due to language misunderstandings between the insistent and overly-helpful transient boat owner and the reluctant marina operator persuaded to unstep it.
damaged fuel hose Nothing lasts forever

This shows heavily cracked USCG-approved Type A fuel filler hose, with an adjacent vent line. Both are adequately supported, but time has taken its toll. Failure that results in fuel accumulating in a bilge is an obvious issue, although explosive fumes may permeate in advance of outright failure. In this instance, the deteriorated hose was sighted during inspection for another issue in a damage claim.
gas explosion When the leaking gas explodes

Aftermath of a continuously-energized electric fuel pump, leaking lines, and abraded wiring causing an ignition source in a classic wood utility.
cockpit scupper Plastic cockpit scupper

This plastic scupper in a self-bailing cockpit had a molded tail piece connecting beneath the cockpit sole with a transom discharge fitting. After the plastic assembly broke from probable UV-degradation, accumulating rain water was not discharged directly overboard, and eventually overtaxed the bilge pump and battery, sinking the vessel. The vessel was a five-year old 20' Four Winns cruiser . . . exposed plastic is highly vulnerable to ultraviolet exposure.
Rotted bulkheads When bulkheads go bad

In the days of wood sailing vessels, crew used to pack salt bags under the decks to pickle the supposedly "sweet" rain water leakage that accelerated wood deterioration. In modern vessels, broad horizontal surfaces, flexing hull sides and decks, mast pumping of partners and shrouds, can still allow water to reach structural interior members.

Water entering via shroud chain plates has many potential serious consequences, ranging from crevice corrosion of stainless steel chain plates from oxygen-depleted surface moisture, to in this instance rot of the plywood main bulkhead landing the chain plate. Something had to give, and it did.
storm damage Dock damage from storm surge

The Winter of 2010-2011 brought record snows to the North country around Lake Champlain, followed by a Spring what a local newspaper termed "nearly incessant rain". The Lake quickly rose three feet above flood stage to set an all time record, then remained two+ feet above flood for over two months. The photo shows a northern New York marina, where high water and near-gale force Southerly winds wreaked major damage to their "early in" docks. Sometimes surveyors are offered these interesting yet difficult damage assignments - opportunities for rapid assimilation of new cost data and industry practices, tempered by seeing the economic impacts on fragile local businesses.
damaged Furling extrusion Furling extrusion failure

This is a roller furling assembly from a larger one-design racing class, where maximizing the luff foil extension to near deck level, within Class rules, is de rigeur, pardon the expression. Notice the two thin cracks Y'ing out from groove approximately in the middle of the photo in the broken lower section. These cracks were likely contemporary with the stress cracking that resulted in the lower section fracturing from the upper section. Note also that the black furler drum collar visible at the top of the photo had only one of the two locating bolts engaged with the lowermost full groove in the broken section. The second bolt was only tentatively captured by the bottom half groove. Accidents sometimes happen with a little inadvertent help.

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Copyright © 2011/2017 Tamarack Marine Surveys, Colchester, Vermont, grayluders@yahoo.com
Installed June 28, 2011, Last Revised August 14, 2017 - Hosted and maintained by Don Robertson