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Thread: Salvaged a Drift Boat

  1. #1

    Question Salvaged a Drift Boat

    We were floating the upper canyon on the Kenai last weekend (Sunday), and came across an 18' Klacka Craft with a Honda 9.9 completely submerged and just 2' of the bow sticking out of the water. We beached on the sand bar in front of it an managed to wiggle the boat free into the current and got it situated where we could bilge it out with a cooler. It was covered in algea so we figure it had been there a while. In fact one of the guys we were with had floated the same stretch 2 weeks prior and said they saw it then but only a couple inches of the bow was exposed. Anyway, to make a long story short, the boat was full of gear, rods, camcorder, camera, etc. Luckily we found the registration with the owners name and address. We towed it to the Skilak campground for them to come pick it up, which they did yesterday.

    Apparently, 3 young guys got the bow caught on a fallen tree and the current grabbed the stern and motor and pulled it under and that was all she wrote. They spent the nite on the sand bar and caught a ride out the next day when someone finally floated by. Needless to say, they we appreciative. Can't say I would have let so much time go by before I would have tried to retreive it though.

    Anyway, the real point of my thread is, the people at AMDS told the guy that his brand new 9.9 is completely wasted. I find that hard to believe. Anyone here salvage a small outboard before? If submerged for 3 weeks, are they toast?
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  2. #2
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Very cool story. Good for you on not only recovering the boat for them, but removing an obstruction and the litter from the river in the process.

    No way the motor is "toast". Drain everything, dry it out, refill oils and it will probably go just fine.
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    Shouldn't be anything a bit of cleaning can't fix. If it was saltwater I might be worried.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Although if it was running when it submerged, wouldnt that potentially cause rod/crank issues?

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    Despite what people say I have seen lots of motors drown and the vast majority ran like nothing ever happend once properly cleaned and relubricated. From the sound of this the guys were just drifting when they sunk the boat

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug from Anchorage View Post
    Anyway, the real point of my thread is, the people at AMDS told the guy that his brand new 9.9 is completely wasted. I find that hard to believe. Anyone here salvage a small outboard before? If submerged for 3 weeks, are they toast?
    Well done, Doug! I think the big bold letters say it all and I will leave it at that.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by spoiled one View Post
    Well done, Doug! I think the big bold letters say it all and I will leave it at that.
    I figured as much Pete. I advised him to steer clear of that advice and just replace the oil, drain the water out of the cylinder and intake, maybe spray some WD 40 into it, hook it up to a fresh can of gas, and give it a whirl. I can't imagine there's anything wrong with the spark distribution.
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    He should flush the engine with some fresh oil until it doesn't come out milky. Same with hosing everything out with WD-40 once the water is gone it will be clear.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

  9. #9

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    I wonder if the guy has already filed and collected with his insurance company.

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    Member Maast's Avatar
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    Rather than WD-40, I'd think a true penetrating oil like P Blaster or Aerocroil would work better to get into the spaces between the pistons and the cylinder walls.
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    Member fullbush's Avatar
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    Seems kind of odd to me they didn't try to salvage the boat at the time. Way to be an upstanding citizen Doug none the less. I bet the CG marine safety office has some questions themselves.

  12. #12

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    Just a little more info. I'm the Dad of one of the young men that sunk this boat. Fortunatley nobody was hurt or killled and needless to say not showing up for a scheduled fishing trip the next morning made wives, parents etc. a bit nervous. Now the facts are when this boat flipped the river was running very high and the consensous was to leave it alone until the river lowered and it could be removed safelty and without further damage. The feds, state parks and troopers were involved in this and all advised recovery after the river dropped. Thanks to a good guy like Doug and his group they were observant enough to realize it could salvaged at the appropriate time and performed a very generous act and got the boat and motor out. I know the owner was very excited and apprecitive to retreive the remaining gear, boat and motor.

    Just for information the owner had made other arrangements to retreive the boat at the appropriate time and it was being watched on a regular basis, however Doug was there at the correct time and took care of this. Doug and the gang basically gave up their day of fishing to deal with this and that was truly appreciated.

    I also was surprised AMDS said the motor was wasted. My experience, a submerged motor is dried out, change the fluids etc. and get it running again. This motor was however underwater a long time and what do I know maybe the electronics were shot and maybe there was some corrosion damage during the time it was recovered and the dewatering effort began. I guess AMDS's determination dosen't really surprise me considing I purchased a 28 ft. Kingfisher from them and got some interesting treatment on service. Basically no service.

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    IM glad your son get his boat out. I floated it the week before and the canyon was running fast and high. You son and I have a mutual friend and I was getting reports on the boat and sending them to the mutual friend also.

    Doug. Kudo's to you guys for getting it out.


    I dont see any reason the motor is wasted. A good cleaning, dry out and lube up and it should be fine. It was just fresh water. I bought my 16' clacka around the same time this gentleman did. Good boats. No matter what the boat things can happen. I know the guys had a wet cold night but to get most of the gear back is awesome. Doug you have a cold beer waiting anytime you see me on the river or around camp
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  14. #14

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    Thanks for the kudos guys and I'll share with the team I was with. In truth though, I'm in the belief that most of you would have done the same given the same situation. I have no doubt. When we saw that boat, we knew sombody was sick about it. We had a chance to help them, and that was that. This is a small town we live in and it's good to know your neighbors have your back when you need it.
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    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    kudos Doug great to hear stories like this.
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    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    Stand up job!

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    Default your job or theirs?

    Yes, stand up job, indeed.

    I was challenged with this same decision a few times lately - either use my valuable (to me) private afield time that I've saved up for me, or to help out others in need...

    While I was helping those in need, I did see others pass by on the trail like they were hoping they wouldn't get flagged down, asking if they had a pump, strap, wrench, or such...

    Good job helping others; it will come back to you many-fold.
    Last edited by Brian M; 09-17-2010 at 11:44.

  18. #18

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    Yeah good job on the recovery! One thing I wanted to mention with submerged motors is to get it running as quickly as possible after it is removed from the water. Its better leave it under water for a week then to pull it out of the water and let it sit for a day or two.

  19. #19
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I've seen a computer out of an EFI Arctic Cat that spent two months on the bottom of a lake. Amazingly, it was just fine and ran in another sled. I'm willing to bet that the motor can be easily repaired. I personally pulled a 40 horse off the bottom of the Yukon that got ripped off a transom and went in at full throttle. We recovered it and had it running in the field in under an hour. It ran for several months after that without an issue and then was sold.

    Its better leave it under water for a week then to pull it out of the water and let it sit for a day or two.
    Amen. Fill that sucker full of oil if you don't have time to work on it.
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