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ABA Boat Maintenance & Repair Questions and Responses

The information contained herein is the opinion of ABA member and marine mechanic Tim Harrington of Madison Marine Service, Harwich, Massachusetts. Tim is responding to a question solely based on the information an ABA member provided. Neither ABA, nor Tim Harrington, nor Madison Marine Service assume any responsibility or liability for events that occur due to actions you or others on your behalf take based on the information given in Tim's response.  You are proceeding at your own risk.

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Q. My question is a tad bit perplexing. My 1981, 31' Tiara 310 sport boat seems to kick up a spray that ends up in the cockpit of the boat and pretty quickly wets down the boat. I can see the water travels through the anti-ventilation plates of the out drives and seems normal. Note that the bottom has no obstructions; the tabs and speedo seem to be omitting water normally. No matter what I do with the trim, (drives and tabs) the problem seems to be the same. The only way I can run the boat without wetting down the back seats and my back at the helm is to remove all canvas windows and open the center window to alleviate the station wagon effect. Do you have any ideas?

A. I have researched if there are any design problems that have come to light or if other owners have had a similar experience to yours. I have an idea of what may be happening from your description. I checked with a company that has experience in sales and service and that has a great history and reputation. I asked them the same question that you had asked me, and their reply confirmed my suspicions.

Depending on the structure and canvas, this is a phenomenon that is created by forward motion and air circulation that is created by being underway. The boat will create its own mist and displace water as she moves, the faster your forward speed, the more water that will be lifted and become airborne. You have already figured this out, and you have appropriately named this the "station wagon effect". If your aft panels or your aft canvas can be removed or placed up and your forward panels opened, this may be the only way to keep the air flow going in a rearward motion to help minimize the saturation you're experiencing in the cockpit area and helm. I would be willing to bet that when the canvas is off, your problem is minimized. Splash rails may help if you do not have any. That will also help displace water lower towards the water surface.

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