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Thread: Downrigger overboard - likelihood of salvage?

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default Downrigger overboard - likelihood of salvage?

    Back in July my father-in-law dropped one of my downriggers overboard in the Whittier Harbor. Oops. I spent a couple of hours trying to hook it via various means to no avail, but we eventually decided to salvage the day and head out anyhow.

    I have a friend who has offered the use of his scuba gear to go retrieve it, and now that the water should be getting clear I figure it would be a pretty reasonable proposition. That said, what are my chances that it's worth salvaging after 4 months on the bottom? It's a Cannon Unitroll 10 - about $300 new. I figure it'll cost me $50 in gas round-trip, $12 for the tunnel, and half a day of my weekend time. If it would be fully functional, that's likely worth it, but if it's got plenty of metal on the inside that is likely to be corroded, well... Any words of wisdom?

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    I say go for it. Might not be too corroded with it being in the water and not exposed to air. Downriggers are made mostly out of plastic anyways, you can replace the metal parts for a fraction of the cost of a new one.
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    I'd bet there's a fair chance it's salvageable. Get it out of the salt and directly into a tub of fresh water. Don't let it air out. Soak and rinse it really well with fresh, then hose it down with good corrosion blocker.

    But if I was going to spend that much time and money traveling back to Whittier, I'd sure go fishing for more than just a downrigger in the harbor!
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    Brian you know whittier is a pretty "hot" harbor so i'd think all the metal might be eaten up by electrolysis but maybe before you dive in you might be able to see it if the colder water has cleared up enough. Its had 4 months to sink into the mud so maybe it won't be that easy to find ??? You might check to see what all new metal parts cost before going for the swim !!

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    Brian, I'll not disagree with any of the posts so far, but I'd like to pose a couple questions and thoughts. Ya, $300 is a bit of money. but how deep is the rigger and have you a gps location?Gonna have a partner diver? How old is your child or children? What's it worth per year to be around to spend time with that child? Now that I've got your attention, have you looked at crag's list. About 6 weeks ago I could have bought a pair of unitrools for $125 each near kalispell, mt. And winter is close by now, so you'll probably not be using for some time. I bet some one could look around and come up with a fair price for 1 or 2. Even me. Now I use a pair of Mag 10's also a pair of unitrolls, which I replace with outriggers for rainbows in the fall on Lake Koocanuse, montana. Repeating a Question, Is that rigger worth it if an accident were to happen? any replys can be made on this blog or via email . Just take care and be serious about what you end up doing.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default Downrigger overboard - likelihood of salvage?

    I don't know much about salvage work but I do have a feeling that you will end up being $100 into the trip and ultimately instead of saving anything you will just end up buying a new one for a combined cost of $400.

    The flips side is that it would make for a cool story to tell on the boat if you recovered it.

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    Brian how deep was the water.. Do you have experience scuba diving. Does your friend have a dry suit...when under that cold water could take your breath away in more ways then one.. If you are experienced and have a good light and someone to stand watch on your boat while you are under thay it may be worth a shot...

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    watch craiglist & pick up a used one to replace it for half the cost.....

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    If you need someone to go with ya and hold on to the rope around your waist give me a call.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I do have plenty of scuba experience, but I do not have cold water experience - and yes, I know it is a totally different game. I would be using a dry suit that fits and would only be in about 12 feet of water if I timed the tide correctly. It certainly could have sunk into the mud, though, so no - it may not be easy to find. I suppose I could start by simply putting on a mask and putting my face in the water over the side of the dock - if I don't see it, maybe I don't bother with the dive.

    Good questions to consider there, Gene. I'm not interested in risking my life over $300, but given the very shallow depth and having someone there to hold onto a rope, I don't see much risk here. I'm not exploring the depths, so it's not nearly as risky as many salvage dives would tend to be.

    Steve, I'll let you know if I could use a hand - I really appreciate the offer. I'm assuming that my friend with the gear will come along if I make a go of it, but if not, I'll let you know.

    All of that said, watching Craigslist for a used one is sounding like pretty sage advice.

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    At this point electrolosys (sp?) has probably eaten a bit of it, but it could be worth finding. I agree with other folks about the buddy system. Are you a certified diver? Cold water diving is definitely not for the untrained.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Perhaps the biggest threat to entering the water in a harbor is from AC leakage. Be very wary. Here's a primer:Attachment 64843 The risk is much higher in freshwater than in saltwater, but by no means can saltwater be presumed to be safe. Lots of variables at play.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene McCabe View Post
    And winter is close by now, so you'll probably not be using for some time.
    I'm not sure about Brian, but a LOT of people up here fish all winter long believe it or not! Plenty of winter kings to be had out there!!
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    I don't know what the water depth is but if it's reasonable and you know exactly where it went in then it should be simple. I've done tons of these recoveries here in Juneau.

    Here's what you do, take a weight on a line and drop it in exactly the place that the downrigger went in, let it freefall to the bottom. Send your diver down the line. My best is a key ring that a guy dropped off his boat in 116' of water. My weight was withing 6" of the keys. It all comes down to narrowing down the area your diver has to search.

    If it's not an electric downrigger, you'll have to replace the cable but the rest should be fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Perhaps the biggest threat to entering the water in a harbor is from AC leakage. Be very wary. Here's a primer:Attachment 64843 The risk is much higher in freshwater than in saltwater, but by no means can saltwater be presumed to be safe. Lots of variables at play.

    I was just reading about this subject not too long ago and was absolutely amazed about how many cases there are....

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    Go for it. Just remember unless you see it on one of the first trips down the water will be turbid . I'd take a little garden rake down so I would not be poking around in the mud with my hands. People been throwing crap over the side in harbors for a long time.
    Is there any way that downrigger could have not fallen straight down? (like dropping a pixie lure overboard they glide off straight vertical)

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    That Electric Shock Drowning List should cause you to pause a bit, especially since I don't know if I have seen a harbor in worse shape than Whittier. If I had dropped your downrigger, I would have bought you a new one, but that is beside the point. Also keep in mind that you are quite a distance from any real medical help in Whittier. If you do it, good luck, but if I were you I would just take it as an opportunity to get a shiny new one that should last many years without issue.
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    Default Downrigger overboard - likelihood of salvage?

    They are 20% off at b&j's right now

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Back in 1998, the first year I had Cannon's on my boat I got everything ready to go Silver fishing in Seward. I made the rookie mistake to attach the downrigger weights and let them hang. I excited the harbor just after a tour boat had come on full power. I jumped his wake and the weight and swing caused the downrigger to hit the deep. A quick check showed about 300 feet. Got a good deal at trustworthy for $249.00 Lesson learned "keep the weights inside the boat "

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    Brian for what its worth I really think you should go for it...ths way we could have a poll round here or kind of like a football pool ya know whether you find it or not...how long....all the good stuff...

    Dave

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