Over the years the term “Bentonize” has come into regular use on Boatpokers, and in all probability into the off-line language of more than a few marine surveyors.

The verb is; “To Bentonize”. Past tense; “Bentonated”. Noun; Bentonization. Tool; Bentonator.

The term refers to drilling a hole into a boat, whether you need to or not, but when undoubtedly you think that you should.

It all started with a posting made by Tom Benton about an strange event involving the decision to take a core sample from a perfectly good boat. Here are his own words from a posting where he explains exactly what happened:

“Actually, it was a Sea Ray with about a 2′ long by 1′ wide “dead” spot aft on the port side bottom when hammer-sounded. I crawled inside and found that the suspect area was under a built in (boxed in) shelf, and not accessible.

The broker, the buyer, the marina fiberglass tech were all there. Everyone agreed with me that something was wrong, but they could not tell what it was. Sea Ray was contacted, and they gave us no help what so ever. They agreed that a “coupon” was a reasonable way to find out.

I did not cut the hole, the yard technician did. He quit cutting when the pilot bit started producing metal. He said he thought he was drilling into a tank. Sea Ray was called again, and they said there was no tankage in that area. We finished the 2″ hole, only to find that a large piece of lead had been built in to the area under the boxed in shelf.

Sea Ray was called again, and then they said “Oh Yeah”, that is to offset the weight of the generator on the other side.

It would have saved us all a lot of grief if they had told us that to start with.”