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Old 06-05-2013, 05:30 AM   #1
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Tapered wooden plugs, what, where, how?

I have read in a few posts about having tapered wooden plugs on board or even secured to each hull fitting. How many on TF actually have these in place? Did you buy them? Did you make them, and if so what kind of wood? Is there a standard for sizes? There are none on my boat so just want to learn more about them, equip the boat properly and hope I never need to use one. Cheers!
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:04 AM   #2
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Most boat stores sell a package with various sizes. In theory, you can plug a through-hull that won't close. They're a soft wood that expands a little when wet, so you should get a good seal. They work great in training, on a shoreside mock-up. Never had to use one in the real world. I suspect it won't be that simple.

Your damage control kit should contain some material to wrap split hoses. Rubber inner-tube material works. Lots of small stuff (string) to wrap it tight. Some of the miracle epoxies that harden under water. Rescue tape. Lots of hose clamps. Gorilla tape.
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:15 AM   #3
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I keep a couple handy which cover the size of my smallest thru-hull to the biggest.
Any marine supply place will carry them, although overpriced for a bit of tapered wood.

A screw-in leg off your old arm chair would probably work just as well. Or just whittle down a scrap of pine to a taper of the right diameter.

The one sold at my local marine shop appear to be a hardwood (oak?) but I would think a softwood wood be better in case they need to be cut down to size.

Attaching one to every thru-hull seems like a bit of overkill. Just keep them where you can find them in a hurry, just in case a loose battery shears of your seacock in a rough sea or some other worse case scenario.
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:30 AM   #4
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When running a tour boat, our USCG would bring the damage control simulator up for us to try out. Of course its never easy to stop a leak. I'm sure its harder on your boat than in the simulator. One interesting item the USCG recommended for your damage control kit: A Nerf footbal. It can be squeezed into many sized holes or pipes. I would also recommend some (pre drilled) scraps of plywoood and some wood screws. A trawler could use their sail (or any canvas covers) as a collision blanket as well for a breach if there was time to rig it. Water comes in fast.
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:41 AM   #5
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I've got my plugs in! I'm still rebuilding after a fire and as I get a system up and running I pop the plug out and carry on. These plugs didn't save the boat from sinking but were more a precautionary measure after the water was pumped out. They were hammered in from the outside by a diver. They do not come out easy.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:12 AM   #6
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During a recent survey, the surveyor showed me a tapered plug made of a soft rubber material, I.e., like a Nerf football. He recommended in that it would conform to any size hole. I believe made by Forespar.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:27 AM   #7
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I have the plugs. However itís best to keep the though hulls closed and remove the through hulls that are not needed. Every time we pull I ha eth through hulls checked and the hull surveyed.

So now I need to steal/borrow one of my grandchildren Nerf balls!
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:24 AM   #8
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I use the handle of something wrapped with a towel or what ever.

From wooden spoons to screw drivers or even a toilet bowl brush.

Just an option worth mentioning when that plug is outa reach.
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Old 06-05-2013, 12:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sea hag View Post
During a recent survey, the surveyor showed me a tapered plug made of a soft rubber material, I.e., like a Nerf football. He recommended in that it would conform to any size hole. I believe made by Forespar.
TruPlug - Emergency Marine Leak Mitigation
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:02 PM   #10
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We have wooden plugs I made. Got some appropriately sizes soft-wood dowels and tapered them. I have three different size thru-hulls so each has a number on the thru-hull, 1, 2 or 3, and each plug has a number on its end. #1 size thru-hull, grab a #1 plug. They are kept hanging in the ER in a handy place. I have also collected about 4 different size nerf balls from the discount basket in the grocery store. I have about 8-10 that cost a total of maybe $20.

I have practiced with one plug/ball by shoving a ball in and plugging after that. It worked just fine. After about an hour or so, the plug was quite hard to remove, needed a big pair of adjustable pliers to twist it to break it free. It seemed possible that you could damage your thru-hull if you are not careful removing it.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:22 PM   #11
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We bought two of those. Tropical Blend came with a large collection of sizes of wooden plugs, we wanted to eliminate the wooden ones to save space.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:37 PM   #12
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I have a tapered plug tied with break-able twine to every seacock. And I have a heavy rubber mallet hanging in the engine room to knock them in just in case.....
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:42 PM   #13
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I have a tapered plug tied with break-able twine to every seacock. And I have a heavy rubber mallet hanging in the engine room to knock them in just in case.....
The previous owner of my boat had done the same, a pretty good idea. You wind up buying a few more plugs, one for each fitting while you will probably only need one in an emergency. With the right one tethered to each fitting you won't need to be tracking down the correct size if crunch time comes around.
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:47 PM   #14
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Wooden shingles are handy to have aboard as well. If you can still buy them at Home Cheapo/Lowes great. They can be split and stacked etc to fit many shapes of damage. These have kept many a barge afloat! Underwater epoxy sticks or "red hand" (hydraulic putty).... rumor has it that people actually use wooden shingles on Houses!!!
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:53 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by captrigney View Post
One interesting item the USCG recommended for your damage control kit: A Nerf football. It can be squeezed into many sized holes or pipes.
Thank you for that!! I had never thought of using them that way...but it makes a lot of sense!! Gonna have to raid "We b Toys and Stuff" and get some!!
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:59 PM   #16
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There's one tied at every through hull, plus extras. courtesy of PO.
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Old 06-05-2013, 05:13 PM   #17
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The Tru-Plugs are the way to go. We have a few onboard and know they will conform to any of the thru-hulls if needed. We'll actually buy a few more so there is a Tru-Plug within reach of all the thru-hulls.
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:55 PM   #18
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Just remember...you don't have to stop the flow...just reduce it beyond the capability of dewatering your vessel.

That's why changing your rudder/shaft packing in the water is no big deal
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:13 PM   #19
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We also keep several wood wedges in the engine room. It's reported that, after hitting an underwater obstruction, can crack the hull in such a way as to form long, thin fractures. One can then slow water intrusion by hammering wedges in the cracks.
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:42 PM   #20
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I have a couple of sets . I was going to tie the proper size to each thru-hull this past weekend and worked on something else.
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