I would love to hear the story behind this one.
I would love to hear the story behind this one.
We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed
BELIEVE THESE ARE RELATED INVOLVING AT LEAST ONE OF OUR BOARD MEMBERS. GLAD THEY MADE IT OUT OK.
MAYBE HE/THEY WILL SHARE STORY TO HELP OTHERS TO AVOID THE SAME MISHAP.
RETIRED U.S.A.F. CAPT.; LIFETIME MEMBER NRA; LIFETIME MEMBER ALASKA BOWHUNTER ASSOC.
MASTER BOWHUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR; MEMBER UNITED BLOOD TRACKERS; POPE & YOUNG MEASURER
I am the one who flipped my boat on 20 mile Sunday after noon. I meant to post a report on the forum, but I have been busy all week either recovering or organizing the rest of the details. The following is an abbreviated account of what happened. I believe there are some good lessons to be learned here and it is why I am posting this. The only consolation prize to being a dumb-butt is that you may help other from suffering a similar fate if you fess up to your mistakes.
First of all, don't go up either fork of 20 mile river very far. Chime in on this one guys, but I have heard a BUNCH of stories about people getting stuck up there. The troopers had SEVERAL stories to tell me about other like minded folks. You run out of water in a hurry. If it looks skinny, it IS skinny water, and will get worse.
We were bear hunting and thought we might look up river a bit. I have a 17' Alaskan, so getting up river was not too bad. We were running out of deep water to stop and turn around in, so I kept going up river. I was a couple of miles further up river than I wanted to be. I forced myself to just stop, before I could not even go UP river more. It took a while to turn the boat around, but we did, and were under full power going down stream when it all went to Hades. I was going through maybe 8 inches of water and had to decide between a very shallow right turn or a deeper left turn. I split second went left and then looked to my next turn which was 90 degrees to the right again in about 20 yards. The boat was going WAY too fast and we slammed into the opposite bank side ways. The snow and alders pushed us back into the water and the low side submerged, capsizing the boat and us underneath it.
As the boat was bouncing along upside down, I pushed myself out the side, but my buddy was pinned against the windshield by the current. I was reaching inside the boat and trying to move the boat for a while desperately trying to get him free. I was able reach in through the partially opened windshield and pull him out feet first. No exaggeration, he was going to die, and I was close to a goner too. No body was injured except for a few bumps and scrapes.
So, now what? We thought the best rescue would be to drive the boat back out. We managed to flip over with some rope and a huge tug of war match. The motor was water locked or worse, so no engine. We decided not to try floating it out to avoid another rollover. We saw how hard it was to maneuver the boat before we flipped it and thought better of it. So we anchored it and tried to walk out. It was about 1-2 miles to where another boat was, and where there was no snow along the river. We did not make it 20 feet from the boat. It was impossible to walk through the rotten snow, and the river under cut the 2-3 feet of snow. We were SOAKED, cold and very tired. It was nice and warm at the time, but it was going to be in the 20's that night. Not fun on foot and soaked. It was then that we decided to hit the SPOT beacon. 2 hours later the troopers arrived and flew us to Girdwood.
I spent $3K the next day to have the boat air lifted out. It is in my drive way with a goodly dent in the side. We fixed the slight bending of the windshield. The hull is intact and not warped or bent. I have not gone through the motor yet, and can not afford to take it to the mechanic. I will be in by drift boat this summer it looks like.
1) Don't go up 20 mile past the last fishing hole.
2) If you are digging yourself into a hole, get rid of the shovel.
3) Accidents usually occur because of bad decisions. Those bad decisions usually occurred several decisions before the accident.
4) See lesson #1
Man what an adventure thankfully you guys made it through with a story and lessons learned. Thanks for the write up. The motor may not be too bad if you get after it right away get the water out of the carb and the cylinders, beg someone to come help you or it will get to be a huge problem compared to a pain that it likely is right now. Again glad you are ok.
Yeah I am glad you guys are ok as well. I have the same boat and it's biggest demise in skinny water is the slow outboard steering. Sounds like that is a big part of what bit you. After getting mine hopelessly beached last year I am planning on packing alpaca rafts along in the future. At least if we are up stream we will be able to float our way out to safety without having to trip a beacon. Again glad you guys made it out and good luck getting the boat back into operation. It is also good to hear a positive report on the SPOT as well.
I am sure I will have a story like that soon.I am new to boating.I am glad you guys made it out.I am getting a spot beacon
Looks like he was looking after you that day and I'm glad to hear that you and your partner are ok. Thanks for taking the time to share an embarassing moment with the rest of us. I'm sure that it will help save a life in one way or another. Interesting to hear a survival story of a member using the spot. For all of it's flaws it's cheap insurance. Speaking of that, Did you purchase the rescue insurance that they offer?
LuJon - I think that you have the right idea about the alpaca rafts. I think that others need to follow your lead on that one. Remember the Boy Scouts
Last edited by tboehm; 05-09-2009 at 06:53. Reason: spelling
you are both OK! Just want to throw in my .02 on Rescue Beacons. I bought a ACR MicroFix at the Outdoor Show in April of 07. In July of 07 a buddy of mine was moving to Germany (Military) and he wanted to go out for a black bear "one last time" before he and his family left. It was very hot that day, I didn't want to go cause I knew we weren't going to see anything but we went anyway. We were quite a ways in off of Peterville Rd. We were way up on the mountain and my 4 wheeler had a malfunction and rolled backwards as if it were in neutral, this happened twice in a blink of an eye. I ended up going off the back end on a pretty steep grade and the bike ended up following me. I put my arms and legs up instinctively and it folded my legs over and came straight down on me. I broke my back (L1 and L2). Unfortunately my Beacon was lashed to my pack frame which was lashed to the 4 wheeler. My buddy retreieved it and we activated it. I have been hunting and fishing all my life and I assure I was one of the guys who said "it will never happen to me" cause I know what I'm doing and am very safe. Well, I can't stress enough that everyone should have some sort of Rescue Beacon. As Daved can attest, it all happens very quickly, one second your in the boat the next second your life is in peril. When this happens, you're not thinking how much one of these beacons cost. The NFL players who died last month would have lived had they a had a Beacon. Justs my .02 like I said, but I can't say enough about what a great peace of mind having one is. In fact, I plan on buying another one, while you are on the water, it is very conceiveable that you can get separated. When the 4 wheeler continued down the mountain, my beacon impacted a rock. It still worked, but had it been disabled I don't know what we would have done. Like I said, I have the ACR MicroFix, you can see them at www.acrelectronics.com. I bought mine on ebay and saved close to $75. Everyone who plays in the Paradise called Alaska should seriously consider getting one. Another life saved! Again, glad you guys are OK and lived to tell the story to others. Didn't mean to hijack the thread, just think this is a very important topic. Thanks.
Thanks for sharing your experience.... think I'm going to have to take a look at a Spot. Good to know you are safe and the boat is home too...
I am glad to hear you all escaped from the accident. I to should purchase one of those beacons. Well at least one. Sounds like something like that is really priceless when you find yourself in a nightmare. Glad to hear from you Daved and lots of Kudos to you for telling the real story and giving all of us a reminder of what can happen to anyone.
Thanks for the lessons and heads up. That sounds like it could easily happen to anyone. It is amazing how things can turn south fast, I am thankful the both of you survived.
What motor do you have on the back of your boat? It may not need as much work as you think.
Another thing that sould be mentioned is insurance. I hope Daved had it on his boat. I have a friend that has that same boat, and insurance is about $700 a year. I'm sure there was more than that in damage, especially if the motor is toast...
Thanks for the replys.
I have a few things to add.
Don't go too far up 20 mile river. Oh yea, I said that.
Make sure what you really NEED is on you, not in the boat. Matches, Knife, Phone, Beacon, Food.
Make sure your survival gear is lashed to the boat. This lesson is well learned in rafting. "Rigged to flip".
When you get in trouble, don't just do something, sit there. Take time to think it all the way through. The biggest mistake we almost made was hiking out soaking wet.
I have a Suzuki 4 stroke 115 Outboard. People have told me to drain it out SOON. I just heard this advice in the last couple of days, so the motor has been sitting for about a week.
We saw one blackie way up on the hill and one set of black bear tracks along the river a few days old. We saw 2 sets of Brown tracks along the river. We also saw a bunch of recent wolf tracks along the river.
glad your okay. I am one of those "won't happen to me guys" too so your advice is well taken. Just curious though, how much is the trooper bill going to be?
To add to you list... anyone out there who has troubles on the Twentymile call me. We've never charged for a rescue and never will. We've towed dozens of boats down off there and while I'm not second guessing the condition of yours when you committed to flying it out, in many cases we can help and get it done a bit more economically.
I know cell phone use is spotty on the river, but they work pretty much all over the lower river. If any of you are planning to boat there feel free to store these numbers:
250-1235 (my cell)
868-7669 (our office)
240-1238 (our lead captain)
Out of curiosity, are the troopers sending you a bill for the rescue?
"People who drink light 'beer' don't like the taste of beer; they
just like to pee a lot." --Capitol Brewery
Some of us had to learn things the hard way, but I'm convinced it doesnt have to be that way. Jetboating in Alaska isnt' really all that different from flying. We've all heard whats said about "old pilots and bold pilots" right?
If you progress your training and experiences sensibly you can get comfortable and proficient in one or two areas, get with someone more experienced and under very controlled circumstances progress to increasingly challenging, or other "new" areas and then practice up on them.
Virtually all of my mishaps over the years have been while pushing the envelope (mostly "exploring")
I think it's important to recognise that "pushing the envelope" may be such a simple thing as launching the boat at a new spot, or as challenging as running big whitewater, but none the less, most boatsman, regardless of skill evolution levels, will be able to recognize when you are in that "zone" as Daved pointed out. Prudent ones will take heed of stories like his (and mine) and turn around before passing the first 1, or 2, or at least 3 places where you know you will be challenged on the return.
Contrary to certain popular opinions "Beyond your limits" is not the only place to encounter satisfying, rewarding, and fun boating experiences! (by "rewarding" I mean better fishing or hunting as well as sunshine and clear water!)
Daved, I'm sure glad everyone is ok, sure bummed for your damages, sure thankfull you will most likely be able to repair for minimal expenses, and very gratefull you posted so others can learn from your experience.
By the way, did you (or would you mind) notifying the Coast Guard of the incident so they can add it to their statistics to better determine what areas to allocate funding to for things like searches and rescues etc? Often the Troopers dont communicate that data to them and it'd be a shame to have them loose focus on the needs of riverboaters because the reports about our problems dont reach them. Last year I spent all afternoon and evening searching up there for a boater who had actually notified the Troopers dispatch that he was ok and back to safety but they never had passed the word on to anyone else, not even their own on scene Troopers who were helping us search! (I guess thats part of why I have to get finger printed and background checked by the DOT and Coast Guard and TSA and TWIC all seperately right?... I know, I know, thats a different topic best left for another time and another thread!)
David I had to respond to this. Super glad you guys made it out of there O.K.
That being said, if you find yourself in a place like that,( 90 degree turn ) don't under estimate the power of water. Once it traps you in a coner you're up a creek without a paddle. I've had this happen to me and have even watched a F&G boat get sunk the same way.
From now on when I'm in these kind of spots, I pull over and let the boat down by hand around the corner. It dos'nt take that long, and then your on your way again. When you have a big load in the boat, this is some of the best advice I can give you. Its one thing to skip over the rocks empty, a whole nother story when loaded down.
Again you are correct going up river is a whole lot differant than coming down.
Be safe all.