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1990 Mako 221 has developed a propensity to sink

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  • 1990 Mako 221 has developed a propensity to sink

    I have a 1990 221 I bought and did up nicely with new electronics and repowered with a Honda BF200 in 2019. This summer the boat has developed a tendency to sink. I have almost gone to the bottom twice this week. The first time fishing offshore, the water got over the transom and into the rigging tunnel and by the time I got back to shore the swim platform was 2" under and water was pouring in. I had the boat quick hauled and half the ocean drained out. Today, in the tropical storm we almost had a revisit. The harbormaster called me in time and I pulled the boat but the water was in the cockpit and past the center console. The bilge pump is not working and the boat is at the yard now having that issue fixed. When the boat is bone dry, the scuppers are still half under water.

    My questions:

    If I get the bilge pump fixed will that solve my issue or is the scuppers have below the water line an indicator of a more serious issue?
    Is the Honda 200 four stroke too heavy for the boat?

    I have had that engine on the boat since 2019 and this is the first year it has started this bad habit of trying to sink.

    I have a lot of cash in this boat and am sick of people telling me it's a piece of shit.

    1990 Mako 211 200 Evinrude[br]1976 O\'Day Mariner[br]USCG Licensed 50 ton Master with Near Coastal Route. Homeport, Chatham, Mass.

  • #2
    Sorry to hear about your experiences but it seems as though you may have more going on. The scuppers being halfway underwater is fairly common for these boats considering the amount of extra weight they carry now as opposed to when they were new. Between the water being held by the foam and the newer heavier engines, it easily puts the boat two to four inches down.

    Now, the scupper outlets being halfway underwater isn't desirable but it won't cause the boat to sink. With the slope built into the deck, the water level is still below the deck (and the inlet side of the scuppers) and with working scupper valves, even getting the deck below the water level will keep the deck dry. You should be able to fish from the cockpit with minimum two full grown American adults and not get your feet wet. I speak from experience as this is how my boat is. The key is to have working scupper valves as when my port valve was sticking, my deck would get wet. Once fixed, that is no longer the case.

    Also, whatever water gets onto the deck through the scuppers should just go right back out the scuppers. It shouldn't get into the bilge. It can make its way into the livewell but the livewell also has a static water line outlet so the water should drain back through there when the boat levels out. On my boat, I have the livewell empty and any water that gets into it drains to the bilge where I have two 2000gph pumps waiting to go to work.

    Get your pump fixed and add another pump. Hopefully that's all you'll need. I'm not the type to tell people what to do but that was the best advice given to me when I came onto this board. Honestly, no boat should ever be without two bilge pumps especially considering they cost less than the typical day out on the water.
    95 232 w/225 Opti Hollywood, FL


    • #3
      You may have a couple of these things going on or a combination of them that are brought on by the scuppers being under water.

      1. There is a leak at the thru hull fitting before the shutoff valve (if you even have them)
      2. the deck scupper balls have junk keeping them from sealing so they start to let water in and then since your rear deck is at/below water line it siphons more water
      3. the rear deck pie plates (or hatch if you retrofitted) to access the bilge aren't sealed and that water gets into bilge filling it up (and with a busted bilge pump.....).
      4. The rear in deck livewell, this isn't sealed to the underside of the deck. So if this fills because the valve leaks or was left open, it adds more weight to a heavy stern. And then it overflows into the bilge, which then fills and gets heavier.... and so forth.

      Couple of things you can do that aren't too radical.

      1. inspect and check for any leaking back there, possibly replace the check balls in the deck scupper. They get hard and shrink when they get old....
      2. If your batteries are in the stern, move them to the CC, huge improvement for me that's for sure.
      3. buy 2 bags of play sand, place them on the bow, see how much that offsets/raises the stern at rest. If it works well then you can put them in the anchor locker or buy bags of lead shot (way more compact) and put in the bow locker.

      Longer term you'll need to consider adding flotation tubs at the transom, flotation offset bracket/platform. Your foam shouldn't be waterlogged by early 80s they were closed cell, but you may have some trapped water (not in the foam but by the foam).

      Let us know how you make out. Its a great boat just need to figure out what went sideways, your bilge pump has likely been masking this since 2019 btw.


      • #4
        Isn't it possible that there is a crack in between the floor drain and the scupper? That would allow the water that is coming into the scupper to go directly to the bilge. To me this would be the first thing to look for. Easy thing to check, with the boat on a trailer or a cradle just run a hose in the cockpit and see if it drains into the bilge.


        • #5
          The first guess I would take a stab at is the livewell overflow draining back in and then into bilge. Do yourself a favor and get an auto bilge pump, and 2 2000s. We need some picks of set up. Honda is one of the more heavier in the outboard class, but shouldn’t be that big of a difference. Also might could get some bags of sand and put in your front most forward compartment to help lift the stern at rest
          Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him had better take a closer look at the American Indian. -Henry Ford[br]1988 Mako 261 \"Stroken\" Project Thread:[br]1992 Mako221B project thread:[br]1992 Mako 261B \"Reel Impressive\" project thread:[br]


          • #6
            My comments on THT, you are responsible for the vast majority of these issues, stay at the dock until you take care of the obvious shortcomings.
            David, New Kent, Va

            Project Thread: