My Wahoo! Striper 16.2 has four built-in compartments: an anchor storage in the bow, a combination cooler/seat located in front on the center console, and two compartments in either corner of the stern, typically used to store the battery and fuel/water separator (also  sometimes used as a live well).

All of these compartments include a drain hole to allow any water that gets into them to drain out. But with the exception of the anchor storage,  instead of the drain hole being located in the compartment floor, it’s located on a side wall, with the lower lip of the drain hole one inch off of the compartment floor. This means that when water gets in the last inch of it has no means of escape. It sits there, eventually getting slimy and gross. In winter, if it gets cold enough where you live, it freezes, the expanding ice potentially putting pressure on the compartment seams. Not good design.

At this point drilling holes in the floors of these compartments is no solution as it would have them draining into the bilge, something I do not want. So the best option I can figure is to displace that last inch of water by putting in inserts that in effect raise the floor of the compartments. It has to be something that is durable, won’t rust, rot, or absorb water, float, or cause discoloration. Some possibilities:

  • Synthetic deck “wood”
  • Acrylic sheets (like they use for cutting boards)
  • PT
  • Solid rubber mat

Any other ideas?

Addendum 5/17/2012: Curiouser and curiouser. While (as I mentioned) the forward anchor compartment’s drain hole is in the floor, the tube that eventually sends water from that compartment onto the deck is actually situated four inches HIGHER than the drain hole.  So the last four inches of water in the anchor compartment will not drain on its own (unless the boat is underway with its nose up).  I don’t get it.

Addendum 7/6/2012: I finally came up with a solution to my standing water issues: Eva Foam. Eva foam is a pretty widely used closed cell foam that comes in a variety of thicknesses and colors. It’s used for all kinds of things from craft foam to exercise and sleeping mats to padding in shoes and other sports gear. Odds are you already own plenty of stuff containing Eva Foam. The particular foam I bought I came across in Home Depot…a four pack of 2.5 by 2.5 foot 1/3 inch interlocking sheets being sold as a kids play mat. It went for $15. Each of the four sheets was a different color but I didn’t care too much about that…they’re going to sit out of sight at the bottom of my Wahoo!’s storage compartments. Also possibly I could have found foam even cheaper somewhere else, but $15 was good enough for me.

What is good about Eva Foam is that it is almost weightless, fairly impervious to breakdown by immersion to water and mold, is durable, won’t rust or rot, is easy to cut to shape, and won’t leach color. Almost perfect for how I wanted to use it except for one thing…it floats. And how can something that floats displace water? Short answer, it can’t.  Not unless something holds it in place to prevent it from floating. Like the anchor in my anchor compartment. The battery in my battery compartment. The fuel/water separator  in my fuel/water separator compartment. By happy coincidence, I realized that three of the four storage compartments in my boat already contained a built in mechanism to hold the foam in place. That left only the cooler compartment, but I’ll think of something to toss in there to ensure the foam is held down. I guess as a last resort I could use an adhesive like 3M 4200 to glue the foam to the floor, but I”m sure there are less permanent solutions.

Note that unless you’re a wiz at measuring and cutting (which I’m not) it will be diffficult to create any false floor for your Wahoo1 compartments that completely eliminates room for standing water. Still, for the four compartments my 1987 Striper 16.2 has, I calculated that without alteration the compartments collectively allowed about two gallons of standing water to remain. And after fitting them with Eva Foam I think I’ve got that amount down to under one quart, a 90% reduction. I’ll take it for now.