One of the things that got me thinking about this online book was a thought-provoking comment in response to John’s earlier post on watertight bulkheads. This showed the statistics on sinking as a result of accidents, compiled by insurers, and seemed to me a great way to remove any instinctive bias from the equation. I took the view that whilst there are few recorded sinkings (4%) as a result of striking surface debris, the potential benefits from the installation of watertight bulkheads still has real merits, and not just tangible ones—I know I sleep better when hammering along on a wild night knowing we have one.
But turning to the single major cause identified in the insurer’s study, we find a staggeringly high percentage of losses caused by something we can all address—30% of sinkings are caused by water ingress through the topsides.
And it’s worth remembering that there will almost certainly be a corresponding spike in such accidents that don’t result in sinkings but that will still ruin your day through wrecking your electrical systems or simply soaking your bunk. Water—especially salt water—should be kept out even in small doses, especially if you have a modern, shallow-bilged yacht, where a little water will go a long, long way.