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Old 01-16-2020, 01:56 PM   #1
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Hollow Keel

I have a 1985 forty foot Bestway Labelle. Sometimes refered to as a Marine trading Labelle.

My Labell has a deep keel that is hollow. Inside the boat you cannot see into the keel for the length of the boat. However at mid length of the boat there is a round hole about 5" in diameter down into the hollow keel. In this hole is a bilge pump. On automatic this bilge pump keeps the keel empty. If I let the keel fill up from AC condensate or spills or leaks it holds at least 50 gallons of water.

My question is Does anyone else have this hollow keel? Is it meant to stay empty or full of water? Why isn't this hole just sealed up rather than keeping it pumped out? Any responses/thoughts are welcome
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Old 01-16-2020, 02:13 PM   #2
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A wet bilge is never a good idea for many reasons. Run the various drains to a closed sump box with an automatic pump. I have heard of people with hollow keel boats drying and then filling the keel with closed cell foam or even heavy ballast material.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:52 PM   #3
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My Albin 40 and a few other have hollow keels. Mine is sealed...but years ago I noticed a weep from there and ground a bad spot all the way into the keel to drain the water...yep...my guess was always about 50 gallons.


I sealed it back up. Have no idea whether water made it's way in again..my bet is yes through voids in the hull and it comes in from the shaft log area.
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:05 PM   #4
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I would fill it with an expanding foam insulation.

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Old 01-16-2020, 04:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Meisinger View Post
I would fill it with an expanding foam insulation.

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But now you'll have a cored hull and we all know what a problem those are.
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:17 PM   #6
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On my OA Mk1 the keel is hollow. The PO fitted a garboard drain and would empty it when on the hard. But of course that was at long time intervals.

During my refit, when we removed engines etc to replace leaking fuel tanks the whole ER bilge area was scrubbed clean and painted. At that time we installed a fibreglass tube down into the hollow keel, sealing around the entry point, and connecting it to a bilge pump via a t-valve. Then it was easy to open that valve to suck from the tube from time to time. I find that now there is very little water getting into the hollow keel at all.

To the PO, I suggest you consider doing as I did.
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:20 PM   #7
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I have a hollow keel, but being a planing boat, it's not all that deep and contains no ballast or anything. So when the boat was built, the top was just left open and the keel acts as a bilge sump which keeps any stray water further away from things that shouldn't get wet.
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:21 PM   #8
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Greetings,
Mr. ob. I'd just leave it the way it is. If the pump is working you should have little to no problems. IF you do fill it with something then you'll never be able to tell if there's any water in it and THAT may cause problems what with smells etc.
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:53 PM   #9
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I would not put foam into it. With foam once the water gets in there is no getting it out. Think the older Boston Whalers...
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:51 PM   #10
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I used to have BHM32 lobsterboat that had a hollow keel that was filled with seawater from two openings to the outside. There was obviously no access from the bilge, it worked fine. I wouldn't put foam in it unless you want a sodden mess one day.
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Old 01-24-2020, 08:01 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the responses. What I got out of this exchange is I am not alone. There are a lot of hollow keels. Thanks again.
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Old 01-24-2020, 08:18 AM   #12
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Does anyone pour vinegar down there at all or some other antimicrobial?
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