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Thread: Wet Stringers

  1. Wet Stringers

    I just recieved devastating news from a marine survey report that my 1989 Sea Ray 300 Sedan Bridge has a significant amount of stringer delamination and the mositure is off the charts using a Skipper moisture reader. My boat yard has confirmed same. I do not know what to do since the stringer replacement will cost approx. 1/2 the value of the boat. Apparently the condition is worse on the inner aft stringers. If I move forward with the replacement I feel as though I will be opening Pandora's box. There is no visual evidence of this problem with the exceptation of a hairline crack on the back end of one of the stringers...the surveyor claims that the stringers were notched to accept the motor mounts and they were not glassed over however they are well above the bilge water. I'm really looking for advise, please help. Charles in Baltimore.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    New Port Richey, Florida
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    1988 300 DA
    Engine(s)
    tw 350's w/ Alphas
    Posts
    3,280

    Re: Wet Stringers

    It may be time to say goodbye. Is the boat original, or has it been repowered/refurbed? If you've got original, 20 year old gassers it certainly wouldn't make sense to drop $15-$20 grand to pull the tired old motors and put them back in.

    It wouldn't make financial sense, but if you REALLY like the boat- and plan on keeping it another 5-10 years- it would pay to do a refurb at the same time. New engines, fuel tanks, etc. which if it doesn't need them now- it will very soon.

    Who gave you the figure on the stringer job?
    Could very well be in the ballpark if the damage is extensive, but I'd get a second estimate from a reliable yard experienced with these types of repairs.
    1988 300 DA
    Former boats:
    1985 390 EC, 3208TA CATs
    1972 281 Chris-Craft, 6.0 Crusader
    1987 22' Chris-Craft Seahawk

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Delaware
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    1989 300 DA
    Engine(s)
    Twin 5.7 Merc Alpha I
    Posts
    1,599

    Re: Wet Stringers

    I don't see anywhere that an actual dollar figure is quoted, only a percentage of the boats' remaining value. Perhaps that would be 15-20K, I haven't looked it up.
    Sounds like you have to decide if you want to fix the boat, sell her as is for next to nothing, assuming you can find a buyer right now, or have the boat scraped. If you can do some of the work yoursel, like pulling/replacing the engines, then you may be able to lower cost somewhat. If you have to have a yard do everything then I think you will never get your money out of the boat.

  4. Re: Wet Stringers

    Thanks for the feedback. The value of the boat is 35 to 40K, the yard is telling me around 15K to replace the stringers and, as usual, they will only do it by the hour. The sad news is that the port engine was replaced in 2007 (long block) and a top end rebuild on the starboard motor. To round off the misery I had the risers and manifolds replaced as well. Not sure how this was not picked up when they pulled the motor. I am not feeling that I want to sink anymore money into her. Will give e-bay a shot, hopefully I can find a fiberglass technician or mechanic that will take it off my hands. I am crying over this one...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    St. Albans, VT
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    310 Sundancer 2000
    Engine(s)
    350 Mercruiser w/V-Drives
    Posts
    672

    Re: Wet Stringers

    Sorry man, this truly sucks. It's this type of stuff that is making me bite the bullet and get a newish boat that is in good shape so I just have to deal with the ridiculous amount of regular maintenance.
    -Kurt

    Dancing Queen - 2000 310 Sundancer. 350 MPI, V-Drives
    1984 Boston Whaler Montauk
    Former boats: 1987 270 Sundancer, 1984 225 SRV
    Lake Champlain, VT

  6. #6

    Re: Wet Stringers

    What can a person do to prevent this type of damage? This is the second post that I have read regarding stringer damage. Hopefully, the newer boats are built in such a way that this is no longer a real concern?

    I agree that it sucks that your investment is now on the negative side. I guess you have to weigh the options, if you need to spend 15K to fix it, will that 15K buy you many more years of boating? Or, will the 15K, service as a nice downpayment on a newer boat? Especially considering you repowered the port side last year.

    Sorry. I hope you are able to get a decent amount for her, and find a suitable replacement.
    2007 Sundeck 260 "RumbleFish"
    496MAG B3 Corsa
    Premium Polk Audio System
    ITS / Towerspeakers & Docking Lights

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    NJ Shore
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    SeaRay SunSport
    Engine(s)
    5.7LX
    Posts
    4,216

    Re: Wet Stringers

    Dang.

    The mechanics who worked on your motors probaby didn't pick up the wet stringers because they weren't looking for it. As you said. . .there was no visible damage - -> and I don't think moisture meters are standard equipment for motor techs.

    The only way you could have caught this was to have the surveyor look at the boat BEFORE you had the engines pulled.

    Doesn't sound like a whole lot of luck out there this weekend, between the woes here and pakmules woes.

    And hey. . . pakmule. . . .your problems don't sound like regular maintenance to me!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    S.W. Ohio
    Boat
    Silverton
    Details
    330 Sport Bridge
    Engine(s)
    5.7 MPI 350 Merc Bluewaters
    Posts
    5,073

    Re: Wet Stringers

    Can you just run the thing as is ? Is it unsafe ? ....Maybe get a few more years of enjoyment out of it ?
    Silverton 330 Sport Bridge, Kohler 7.3KW gennie, 8'6" Zodiac 3.5merc
    Previous:
    1992 Sea Ray 290DA
    1990 Sea Ray 220DA
    1989 Sea Ray 200 Bow Rider
    http://thecanvasmedic.com/#



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Michigan
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    1998 Sea Ray 370 DA 310 Mercury Hypalon w 9.9 Merc
    Engine(s)
    454 Mercruiser 7.4 MPI's
    Posts
    158

    Re: Wet Stringers

    I am hoping that I will avoid the same issue. Bought the boat last year and in the survey the boat checked out perfectly...not wet at all and according to the surveyor he has not seen levels like that in a boat of my vintage. Good news, I guess.

    He suggested that in the off season I have the boat barrier coated and painted to avoid any of those issues in the future, which I had done (looks incredible, by the way!!).

    I guess my question is, will this no longer be an issue for me to worry about, or is this just giving me a false sense of security? I know that Sea Ray boats manufactured in the '80's and early 90's had issues with moisture, but I feel that the advice I was given is sound.

    Any input or advice? Anything to worry about as long as the bilge stays dry?

    Thanks in advance for your input!
    Hav'n Fun Yet?
    1998 370DA
    Michigan

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    New Port Richey, Florida
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    1988 300 DA
    Engine(s)
    tw 350's w/ Alphas
    Posts
    3,280

    Re: Wet Stringers

    Quote Originally Posted by HavnFunYet? View Post
    Anything to worry about as long as the bilge stays dry?
    You hit the nail on the head- if the bilge is dry, there's no way rot can start in the stringers.
    Rot requires that the wood be wet enough- nearly saturated- for it to begin. Limber holes that aren't sealed- or improperly sealed- have been discussed here many times before. Apparently, some models used PVC inserts that were just siliconed in place. The problem is not that the wood got wet- it's that a failure in that silicone seal not just let water in, it trapped it. The wood didn't just get wet, it STAYED wet- and over a long period the wood can absorb enough moisture, reaches the saturation level where rot can begin- and so it goes. I've checked the limber holes in my 390- none of them are glassed, and the wood surrounding the hole in all of them is dry and solid as a rock. Does it get wet on the surface occasionally, like when I'm hosing out the bilge, sure. But it doesn't stay wet, my bilge is bone dry.

    If you can find one, surveyors use a phenolic hammer for sounding. Any hammer with a hard, plastic head will work. Hit the stringer (or hull) sharply- you'll hear a solid "thunk". Go over a rotted area and it's more like a dull "thud".

    In the OP's case, there HAD to be a source of moisture for the stringers to get wet at the motor mounts (if that's indeed where it started). Just notching stringers and not glassing them doesn't cause rot. Like I said, it has to get wet, and stay wet. Perhaps a leaky hatch scupper or lifting bolt.

    If you've got a self-bailing boat, with scuppered hatches, and dripless seals (if an inboard), there's no reason to have water in the bilge- period.
    1988 300 DA
    Former boats:
    1985 390 EC, 3208TA CATs
    1972 281 Chris-Craft, 6.0 Crusader
    1987 22' Chris-Craft Seahawk

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