Introduction: Removable Drain Covers for Sailboat Cockpit Drains
If you moor your boat where there is signifcant snow and ice, you should be careful that your cockpit drains remain open, and don't ice over resulting in standing water (and a rising water level) in the cockpit.
In Alaska, some people permanently remove the covers so the drains don't ice over.
The down side is that during sailing season, there is a risk of dropping things down the drains!
Here's my solution - removeable drain covers.
Step 1: Materials and Preparation
First I removed the stainless steel covers from all four drains by drilling off the heads of the four rivets holding each one in place.
I did not want to drill out the lower portion of the rivets (in order to replace the rivets with screws), for fear of possibly allowing rain water to seep between layers of fibreglass.
Instead I decided to use pop rivets to hold the cover loosely in place over the drain hole.
Tools and Supplies:
- Pop riveter and rivets (specifically for use on thin situations - like the rivet on the right in the third photo) - which can be obtained in most hardware stores or automotive supply houses.
Step 2: Start the Rivet
On my drains, the drain hole is approximately as wide as the longest slot in the cover.
As a result, I wanted to place two rivets at the extremities of the central slot.
I put the rivet in the slot, from the underside of the cover.
Step 3: Finish the Rivet
You have to VERY GENTLY squeeze the handle on the pop riveter to make the head deform - just to the point it no longer slides around in the slot.
Remove the rivet from the riveter - it is CRUCIAL to leave the tail on the rivet, as that is the part that will hang down into the drain hole and keep the cover from sliding around.
Step 4: Repeat!
Each drain cover needs two rivets to hold it over the drain hole - and I have four drain covers...
The only trick is to squeeze the riveter just to the point of deforming the rivet heat - NOT to the point of breaking off the leg of the rivet, as you would normally do when you are using the rivet to affix two layers of metal together.
Now you can spend the winters with open drain holes, and summers with the covers in place.