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Author Topic:   Whaler Capsizes Near San Francisco
FISHNFF posted 01-27-2012 02:54 AM ET (US)   Profile for FISHNFF   Send Email to FISHNFF  
I hope all [the occupants of a Boston Whaler boat that capsized near San Francisco will] make it OK. NOAA has [the wind] at 20-knots and [the waves at] 12-feet every 14 seconds right now. [The strength of the wind and the height of the waves have] come down a bit.

WT posted 01-27-2012 12:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
I just got this information from a fellow CWer, fishnchips. scid=-1&ith=1&title=Local+News&headtitle=Local+News

Be careful out there. Swells running around 9 feet.





WT posted 01-27-2012 01:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     

In the water for 4 hours? How is that possible? scid=-1&ith=3&title=Local+News&headtitle=Local+News


egres posted 01-27-2012 02:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for egres  Send Email to egres     
Glad to read that they did survive Warren.
That is why I always carry a couple of grey wooly emergency blankets on board next to my binoculars.
There will be a lot to say about the benefits of patrol boats plying the areas on a daily basis.
diveorfish posted 01-27-2012 02:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for diveorfish  Send Email to diveorfish     

The URL below links to an article describing that area and what can happen when you are at the wrong place at the wrong time. the-san-francisco-bar/

WT posted 01-27-2012 02:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
I heard they washed ashore around Taravel Street on Ocean Beach which means they drifted over the South Bar.

"The South Bar

This bar runs from the south side of the ship channel and runs to ocean beach. On the charts there is an area marked called the “South Channel”. This area has claimed many boats and many lives due to the fact that there is no discernable channel here. Also, many boats run out to the east side of the channel then run south to avoid the traffic in the ship channel, and they end up crossing the south bar on its outside edge. This area is very dangerous since in contains “first generation breakers” that seem to pop out of no where since it the first spot the wave hits the bar. This is what happened to the former bass player from the band “Loverboy” a couple of years ago. They never did find his body or the steering wheel of his boat that he was hanging on to when the breaker hit. This is just one boat of many that has met its fate here."


WT posted 01-27-2012 02:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
I believe they washed ashore at item number 1 on the chart. Which is the South Bar. TaravelStreetatOceanBeach.gif

WT posted 01-27-2012 03:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
I thought the boat, a 17 foot Boston Whaler with an Honda outboard was a ContinuousWave member. Thank God it wasn't who I thought it was....

More info with pictures and video newscast: DTL


andygere posted 01-27-2012 04:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
There was a big west swell running yesterday, waves feathering on the outer reefs all over Santa Cruz at dusk last night. No doubt the swell was somehow a factor. Prayers for a full recovery to all involved.
Basshole posted 01-27-2012 08:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Basshole  Send Email to Basshole     
Man those guys are lucky to have survived! The fog was really thick yesterday. I am wondering why they were even out there in the first place. The conditions were not great, they were way too shallow to be pulling crab pots, and nothing else is in season. My buddy flipped his Montauk on a calm day pulling pots. I guess all that matters at this point is that they are OK.
pcrussell50 posted 01-27-2012 09:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for pcrussell50  Send Email to pcrussell50     
Brian, that's not those guys with the Montauk we saw on the ramp the day you showed me my (your former) Alert 17, is it?

The motor in the pictures of the updside down Montauk was hard to make out, but it looked a little like it could have been an ETEC, like they had.


FISHNFF posted 01-27-2012 10:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for FISHNFF  Send Email to FISHNFF     
Hey Peter.
I'm working the firestation today and was off yesterday.
Called dispatch, but the internet news had all they had too.

Why they were out, only they know.
When I heard yesterday, I was somewhat relieved. None of my friends would be out in that weather!

My friend with the Honda that day doesn't have bottom paint. BTW, that guy had to get another 90 Honda.

Nothing is worth going out in yesterday's weather.


jimh posted 01-27-2012 10:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The inverted Boston Whaler shown in the images that Warren linked appears to me to have a Honda outboard engine.
pcrussell50 posted 01-28-2012 02:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for pcrussell50  Send Email to pcrussell50     
Sounds like it would have been crazy for anybody to be out. However, since it was a Honda, (heavy four-stroke), it makes you wonder if that was a contributing factor in it's capsizing? I still can't get over Warren's point from a few months back about heavy motors on classics, and increased tendency to capsize.


FISHNFF posted 01-28-2012 03:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for FISHNFF  Send Email to FISHNFF     
I always believed my 17 rode better than most. A belief supported by everyone who rode with me.

As set up, the hull sits lower in the water. The fuel tank inside the console, along with 2 batteries and extra glass amidship balances the heavier 4-stroke. As least that's what I experienced.

I know several people who flipped their 17's. None had heavy motors, and in their cases, it would not have made a difference.

I briefly contemplated ordering the 17 Alert with a 25" transom. Now that would cause stability issues. It was on the option list, but I never saw one.


Peter posted 01-28-2012 11:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I hope everybody makes out OK from this.

The outboard on the inverted Whaler looks like a first generation Honda 75 or 90. They were about 380 lbs in operating form. The extra weight does make you wonder whether it had some contribution to the capsizing.

At the time that hull was redesigned in the mid 1970s, the heaviest 85 or 100 HP outboard weighed about 290 to 300 lbs and was of a low profile V4 design. The extra 80 to 90 lbs of weight the 4-stroke Honda puts on the transom over a V4 2-stroke of comparable HP is substantially all located in the powerhead which is mostly above the transom bracket. That extra weight is not in the form a low profile V4 but a taller in-line 4. So the center of mass (which is greater than the 2-stroke mass) is higher relative to the water line. In a boat with a relatively narrow beam, this is really not what you want to do from a stability perspective. You want weight low to the water line.

By having more weight on the transom pushing the center of mass of the boat rearward, lowering the top of the transom to the water and having the center of a greater mass of the outboard located higher up relative to the water line, the lateral stability of the Montauk must decrease. That is, the lateral tipping point of no return will be easier to reach.

pcrussell50 posted 01-28-2012 12:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for pcrussell50  Send Email to pcrussell50     

Don't think for a second I'm worried about it. I LOVE the Alert I bought from you. It's perfect for my uses. Forewarned is forearmed, and I try to be aware of things that could lead to a capsize, and limit my exposure to them. On top of that, I am very aware of my rookie status as a mariner. Anyway, I don't want to to think I have any consternation or dissatisfaction with the the boat.


Dave Sutton posted 01-28-2012 07:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dave Sutton  Send Email to Dave Sutton     
So much for the dearly held fantasy that "unsinkable" also means "unsinkable and also sitting on an even keel once flooded".

I've also rolled a 17 'Tauk, and all I can say is that in my personal experience, once flooded thay are just as happy upside down as rightside up, no matter what engine is on them.


(1): Don't put more faith in your boat than it deserves.

(2): Advertising copy is just that.... sawn in half Whalers are just an advertising stunt.

(3): "Unsinkable" means very little on the open ocean when yuu are clinging to the keel and freezing to death.

(4): Don't stake your life on a reputation that defies the realities of physics.

(5): Common sense is not all that common....

Been there, done that.




jimh posted 01-28-2012 10:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
For a corollary to Dave's comments about a Montauk flipping, see

WT posted 01-29-2012 09:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
These guys on the 17 Whaler were probably old salts. I'll bet they lost power.

In order to wash up at item 1 on the chart they would have had to go at least 4 miles out (the two purple pins) from the Golden Gate Bridge. Amateurs would not go outside the Golden Gate Bridge when it's blowing and 9-10 foot swells. GoldenGateBridge4milesout.gif

17 foot Whalers are like kites in that the bow is up and the bow catches air. Picture 3 guys on board and going up and over a 9 foot swell.

Here's a 170 Montauk coming off a 5-6 swell at the Golden gate Bridge. DSC_3288.jpg

Here's a Classic Montauk with a Honda 4 stroke on plane. DSC_6215.jpg

Here's a smirkless 17 Whaler on plane. DSC_6211.jpg

Here are a bunch of bow-up Whalers. DSC_6204.jpg

If the weight on board isn't balanced properly, there will be problems in large swells.

Stay safe.


17 bodega posted 01-30-2012 12:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
If nobody is seriously hurt by this incident - Great news! The loss of the boat is nothing more than a bummer and an expense.

I am in the camp that believes that a Montauk or a Whaler in general is a relatively easy boat to swamp - and a swamped Whaler is a capsize waiting to happen - add rough seas and it's GONNA happen! I've caught some "Tom Clark" air in my little smirkless classic 16 in nasty seas near Duxbury Reef and again near the North end of Pt. Reyes. My boat is the smirkless 16 with a 50 horse 4 stroke (250 lbs) on the transom. Basically a light fluffy cork on the water as boats go. When the seas get steep and fall below a 10 second interval, taking lots of green water over the transom becomes a real possibility. Been there done that... this is when it's time to go home unless you have no choice (like I did once about 10 miles from port).

I think an overpowered Montauk is probably a bit more dangerous, but any setup is dangerous. I knew a guy who had a smirkless 16 like mine with a HONDA 90 on the back, and I always felt like that was pushing it. Around 450 lbs back hanging on the boat. She sat kinda low. I'm more into having less weight overall on the boat. It's just better that way in my view.

Again I hope everyone is ok! If you have a Montauk sized boat... Don't become another SF Bay Area news story...or continuous wave thread! Yes... this includes ME!

Dave Sutton posted 01-30-2012 11:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dave Sutton  Send Email to Dave Sutton     
"If the weight on board isn't balanced properly, there will be problems in large swells"

To be a bit more precise:

LARGE and STEEP are two different things.

Large? No problem... a 15 foot ground swell is a gentle ride up and down...

Steep? Bad stuff. Wind driven chop in a bay, any day on the Great Lakes, swells with a period of less than 7-10 seconds... all are a bad deal. PERIOD = STEEPNESS. That's the issue when running.

With all that said, we managed to flood and then immediately capsize a 'Tauk with one freediver in the water at the portside, midships just abeam the RPS, trying to hand in a 50 pound fish had just been shot, with two other divers in the boat. One leaned over to assist the diver, one leaned over to look, the diver grabbed the gunwale with one hand so he could use the other to hoist the fish in, the gunwale went under and the boat flooded. Five seconds later it was turtle. This was in about 3 foot SHORT PERIOD chop in a bay (Fishers Sound at the west end of Fishers Island in Long Island Sound for locals). Conditions were not even notable as being "anything". You have not lived until you have looked up from the water and seen a Whaler capsizing on top of your head and spilling thousands of dollars of spearguns and other diving gear into the water... ;-)

Good news in our case is that all three were in wetsuits already, and all were obviously capable swimmers.



Whalerologist posted 01-30-2012 08:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerologist  Send Email to Whalerologist     
Total lack of seamanship if they knew going out that conditions were that bad "or were going" or "had the potential" to be bad. No excuse to take a vessel that size out into those conditions. Fact is, many Whalers that size are undersized for off-shore use. Close Inland/Bay and protected waters are fine.
logjam posted 01-30-2012 10:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for logjam  Send Email to logjam     
After recovering several turtled whalers, I came to the conclusion that they were more stable upside down than right side up when filled with water; it doesn't take much to get one to roll. I saw a 17' whaler roll when a buddy walked back to pull the plug while alone in the boat with 40 gallons of fuel and no gear in a 3' slop.

I wouldn't point the seamanship finger $h** Happens.

Generally I would agree that "size matters", and I have been in conditions where you will not remain right side up in any whaler made. I also remember a day on the Columbia River Bar in my father's 17' whaler, that I would not have traded rides with a 250 plus foot freighter on the way out when a huge swell was running against a monster tide. I dodged the surf and snuck out next to the south jetty where things were steep but not breaking and he was constrained by draft to blast through the surf, each one rolling down the length of the vessel and exploding on the pilot house...Over the years,after having made a number of voyages where Mr. Murphy was a constant companion, I have become more conservative and can usually be found hiding under my bed.

jimh posted 01-31-2012 08:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Two threads on same topic have been combined.]
wezie posted 01-31-2012 09:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for wezie  Send Email to wezie     
Whalers do have a reputation of being a good solid boat. The general patter here and in other places often echoes "hold my beer and watch this".

Noted in these posts, are some of the limits of Whalers and Small Boats in general. Whalers are good tools; however each tool has its' uses and these are determined by the capabilities of the tool and its operator.

A 17 foot whaler is a small boat.
A pre-smirk 17 with a 90 Johnson is really light at speed, just kissing the water, and scooping lots of air.

I have doubts about the heavy 4 stroke 90s on the pre 170 hulls.

Russ 13 posted 01-31-2012 10:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for Russ 13  Send Email to Russ 13     
I agree, Whaler or not, the sea conditions were too rough
for a small boat to be out in.
Any word on the status of the people onboard?
Did they all fully recover??
georgezim posted 02-12-2012 11:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for georgezim  Send Email to georgezim     
Talked to longtime friend whose boat was berthed across from the unfortunate fishermen.
The harbormaster told him that one one of the fishermen did die.
They were going out to set their crab pots when they encountered problems with load shifting or line tangling prop.
They swamped promptly and rolled over by the south bar. Sounds like no chance for calling for help. They drifted for 3 hours in 51 degree water and were spit out on the beach by the ocean.
This is the third incident of roll over with three fisherman swamping in a 17 that Ihave heard of.
martyn1075 posted 02-13-2012 12:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for martyn1075  Send Email to martyn1075     
QUOTE: "I have doubts about the heavy 4 stroke 90s on the pre 170 hulls"

I think it depends on where and how one operates their boat. Usually comes down to a judgment call and human nature sometimes makes the wrong decision. If the rope got tangled up in the prop I could see that becoming a very dangerous situation in a small open boat especially if it was weighted down as it may have been.

However I agree I don't think its necessary power on such a fairly light boat as it. 50-70 Honda is adequate (IMO) Its probably hard to know if it was a factor in this case.

Basshole posted 02-13-2012 02:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for Basshole  Send Email to Basshole     
Montauks and crab pots don't mix. Period. It's just a bad idea...too many ropes, heavy gear and the need for too many crew members to be on one side of the boat while pulling the pots. Add really rough conditions and you've got the recipe for disaster.

Like I said in an earlier post, my buddy, who is a charter captain and a commercial fisherman, and is one of the most experienced fisherman in the entire SF/Monterey Bay area, flipped his Montauk in almost flat conditions while pulling pots. He and another crew member were in the back on the boat pulling up a pot when a two foot swell washed over that super low, notched transom, and swamped his boat. It overturned sending them into the water where they clung to the hull for 3 hours before the CG found them.

The fancy pictures in the Whaler catalogs of the entire company packed into a swamped Whaler and it still floating are not realistic. That is not what happens when you leave the jaws of the harbor. It's strictly marketing. Also, it doesn't help that there was zero visibility and it's like a mine field out on the water around here during crab season. You really have to be careful even when conditions are perfect.

FISHNFF posted 02-13-2012 03:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for FISHNFF  Send Email to FISHNFF     
Hey George. I just found out that 17 was berthed behind Eddie. I remember it on a JetDock.

Load shifting is I think the biggest contributor to capsizing.

I've filled my 17 a couple of times trolling on the South Bar. 2000GPH worth of pumps and a quick turn downswell kept me upright.

A fast tide, stuck crab pot, and the line and buoy stuck in my pulley had my stern going under, but full throttle turning back up it kept everything good.


Salmon Tub posted 02-15-2012 01:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Salmon Tub  Send Email to Salmon Tub     
Gerogezim may be onto something. There is something about 3 people and Montauks that makes them tippy. I do not beleive it has to do with added weight though. I beleive it has more to do with human nature.

The only time I saw a rolled Montauk was before I owned one. I was on one that day and we were out off Stinson Beach. Same thing, three guys, two off the back, one off the front. No problem while trolling. Front guy hooks fish and stay up front to avoid tangling rear lines. As he gets the fish in close, guy #2 goes forward with the net. Fish is now on the side of boat. Guy #3 goes to the rail to "spectate" the net job and boat takes on water, and before anyone had a chance to adjust position the next wave rolled them.

Synopsis is improper balance. Weigh in the rear is supported by the relatively large sponsons which help the boat avoid excessive rocking in larger seas. Once the 2 guys went up front, there was not enough weight in the back and the boat was basically floating on it's front keel.

Moral of the story that I took away was weight in the back keeps the boat stable but the low transom makes taking water on a possible hazard. Weight in the front keeps water from breaching the transom but makes the advantages of the design of the hull less effective. So the captain/owner has to alway be conscious of who is where and what they are doing. To avoid that you need to buy a $100,000+ boat that is much bigger and comes with it's own set of drawbacks such as fuel costs and storage...

Good Luck.

Salmon Tub posted 02-15-2012 01:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Salmon Tub  Send Email to Salmon Tub     
I re-reading my post, I realized I was not too specific, the Montauk that rolled was not our but it was another one about 200 yards away, we where looking for flying nets and happened to see the whole incident.

All three were immediately assisted by the many other boats that were closer to them.

The incident did bestow a nice bit of humility and healthy fear into the guy who's boat I was on. I, on the other-hand, saw the value of that hull at that point since as boats were approaching to help these guys, all three were able to climb up at least partially on the inverted hull and stay relatively clear of the water. They were wet and cold, but they would not drown.

pcrussell50 posted 02-15-2012 02:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for pcrussell50  Send Email to pcrussell50     
FISHNFF who sold me my 17,sez:
I've filled my 17 a couple of times trolling on the South Bar. 2000GPH worth of pumps and a quick turn downswell kept me upright.

Are we talking about "my" 17 now? Do I have the same 2000GPH worth of pumps? IIRC, there are two bilge pumps on one switch, and a bait tank pump on another switch. I never looked at the combined pumping power of those two bilge pumps.


FISHNFF posted 02-16-2012 01:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for FISHNFF  Send Email to FISHNFF     
Peter. I think they are Rule 500 and 1000. Only 1500 total.

Seal Rock. Morning outgoing time.

After fishing the Grady with a group of 6 with very good results, I ran the Whaler in the afternoon.
Conditions changed. Incoming tide. Steep waves 15 knots of wind.

Stuck fish right away. Then took green water over the bow followed by one over the side.
Ran below planing speed downswell. Enough water in the boat to pour over notched transom. Pumps pumped the rest.
I went home.

Only time boat felt "unsettled" was when the water shifted.


boatdryver posted 02-16-2012 10:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for boatdryver  Send Email to boatdryver     
GPH on bilge pumps is kind of like EPA estimates on MPG on car window stickers.

For every inch the pump has to lift the water to get it over the side and every foot of discharge hose you lose performance. Luckily the freeboard on a Montauk is not much of a lift and the discharge hose can be very short. On larger boats this becomes a major factor to consider in setting up bilge pumps.

It would be interesting to run a test on a 1000 GPH 12 volt bilge pump set up with a 2 foot lift and measure the GPH. Somewhere, there is a test report on this stuff. Does anyone know if there is an industry standard for designating the capacity of these recreational bilge pumps?


andygere posted 02-16-2012 11:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
The last pump I bought came with a little chart that showed how the flow rate declined with required lift. Here's an example for the pump I have: [rl][/url] Note that the pump doesn't even meet its rated capacity at 12.0 volts, it needs 13.6 to do it.

Also note that the 1620 gallons per hour this pump will remove (at a total lift of 3.35' at 13.6 volts) is just 27 gallons per minute. Think about it, that's just a bit more than 5 big buckets of water in a minute. I've got two of these in the stern of my Outrage 22, but I don't count on them to keep the boat from swamping. As a rule, when fishing or anytime the seas might be sloppy, I keep the stern plugs out and the engine idling. Nothing will get water out of a swamped Whaler faster than judicious use of the throttle to get the bow up and the water pouring over that wide notched transom. In my mind, it's one of the safety features in these boats that seems to have been forgotten by today's boat builders.

The difficulty with a Montauk is that it's such a small, light boat that it doesn't take a lot of water aboard to dramatically reduce the stability of the hull. This is the same with any 17 foot boat. In the tragic case discussed in this thread, it's clear that the overriding problem was that the sea conditions were way too severe for any 17 foot boat, and certainly not with three persons aboard hauling and setting crab gear. The surf that day was heavy, and I wouldn't have ventured out of the harbor in my Outrage 22.

andygere posted 02-16-2012 12:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere RUL-PMP-10-Submersible-Bulletin.pdf
elaelap posted 02-16-2012 01:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for elaelap  Send Email to elaelap     
Andy's right. In a small skiff like a classic Montauk, a bilge pump won't do a lot of good in time if one punches through a wind wave and hundreds of pounds of green water is taken aboard. The best tactic is to attempt to get onto plane, thus dumping as much water overboard via the cut-away transom, pull your aft thru-hull plug, and make sure you always have a large bucket or two onboard. The sailing cliche has merit: no bilge pump works as well as a terrified sailor bailing out his/her boat with a bucket.


pcrussell50 posted 02-16-2012 02:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for pcrussell50  Send Email to pcrussell50     
Thanks Brian. I love to hear "war stories" that my old gal has gone through, even though I don't plan to replicate them myself ;)

Great discussion about bilge pumps, btw. Even though a bucket and a motivated mariner might outperform even a strong bilge pump, it's still got to help... especially in single-pilot operations, where I imagine being at the helm and trying to plane out and dump water over the rear is priority number one... at least from where I sit right now, in a nice dry seat... on land.


fluke posted 02-16-2012 03:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for fluke  Send Email to fluke     
Would enlarging the drain tube, say to 11/4" or 2" help?
Jerry Townsend posted 02-16-2012 09:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
You do not have to be on plane - but just at the highest velocity you can do. The suction is provided by the pressure difference between atmospheric (at the top) and the pressure at the drain penetration (which varies as the velocity squared). ---- Jerry/Idaho
pcrussell50 posted 02-17-2012 01:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for pcrussell50  Send Email to pcrussell50     
Jerry, I'm guessing that by the time you're no longer sloshing great gobs of water back out over the transom notch by accelerating, a hot rod bilge pump setup like FISHNFF/Brian set up on his former (now mine) 17 Alert might drain just as fast or faster than gravity feed out of the sump drain. C'est possible?


WT posted 02-17-2012 02:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
I'm stupid enough to have swamped my 170 Montauk twice. I can tell you that a fancy bilge or larger drain tubes won't help. If you are swamped the next swell will hit you in a matter of seconds. You have to hit the throttle to get the bow up and the water out.

If your outboard dies and you are swamped, chances are you are going to get wet. If you don't get on board your turtled Whaler in 50 degree water chances are your name will be in the newspapers.

I still think these guys lost power on their Montauk. Guys that go out in bad conditions usually know what they are doing.


andygere posted 02-17-2012 11:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Guys that go out in bad conditions usually know what they are doing.

I would say that the opposite is true.

WT posted 02-17-2012 12:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     

Perhaps it's the adrenaline rush we get when we attempt things that our wives and moms would not want us to do.

And maybe some are just "wired" differently. The race car drivers, sky divers, mountain climbers, the SeaDoo riders that rode from Seattle to Russia, etc..

Boating season is coming!


andygere posted 02-17-2012 02:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Warren, I see your point, but mine is more this: The experienced guys know the difference between a wet and bumpy day, and when it's time to turn around or scrub the plans and not go out. Having checked the surf long and hard on the day of this terrible accident, I'm sure even you would have not gone out.
WT posted 02-17-2012 03:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
Weather forecasts sometimes are wrong. The guys in the Montauk made a judgement call when they where right under the Gate. If it was that hairy they would have turned around. Maybe the water wasn't that bad. I would like more information.

Running around the ocean near San Francisco Bay scares me a lot more than running out of Bodega Bay, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz and Moss Landing. Just going under the Golden Gate Bridge on calm days can be scary in a 17 foot boat. So you're right, I would not have been in the water that day if the water was 9 by 12.

I've had my 170 Montauk dead in the water with a crab pot line around my prop. Swells were 7-9 feet. My buddy and I got lucky and freed the prop....

Stuff happens and living life, we all take calculated risks.

georgezim posted 02-17-2012 09:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for georgezim  Send Email to georgezim     
Just finished talking to my fishing friends that berth their boats in the same marina of the unfortunate fishermen.

The story goes that someone from the docks approached the fishermen as they were loading and embarking the 17 ft. Boston Whaler and asked if they were going fishing on that day and if they knew that the conditions were pretty bad.

The fisherman replied that this is a Whaler.

They were working their crab gear and entangled the crab pot line around the prop. All three men went to the stern of the boat to free up the line. At once it proceed to swamp. A big swell came through and they rolled over.

Boston Whalers are unsinkable but not Foolproof.

WT posted 02-18-2012 02:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
Perhaps one problem around Northern California ocean conditions is that flat water is unusual. I'm guessing but out of 365 days we might get 14 flat days?

Here's this week's forecast and it about the same most weeks.



12 TO 15 FT AT 14 SECONDS.

15 FT.

9 TO 12 FT.


10 FT.

12 FT.

WT posted 02-18-2012 02:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
So I guess my point is. If there is a marginal day, a lot of guys are going to go for it.

My partners, Matt and Tony go out in rough seas, meaning the Coast Guard station has 2 red flags flying (gale force winds).

Rough sea conditions is part of Northern California.

Another friend of mine just got back from a party boat trip out of San Francisco. He got sick at the Gate and threw up for 5 hours. He offered to refund everyone on board to go back. Everyone wanted to stay out in those conditions.

I'm due to get back out on the water....


elaelap posted 02-18-2012 11:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for elaelap  Send Email to elaelap     
Whoa, partner! I've been inadvertently caught outside in gale force winds, but I'd sure never initiate a cruise when it's blowing 30+ knots. Once or twice I've peeked out of the harbor on very breezy days and putted around the inner bay in the lee of Bodega Head, just to get the adrenalin flowing, but if two red pennants are flying from the Coast Guard station, I definitely leave my little Montauk skiff on its trailer and Strike3 (banana Revenge 21 precursor) in its slip.


WT posted 02-18-2012 12:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
No one ever wants to go out in gale force winds but it really is no big deal if you're not running very far out.

Here's a picture of Matt on Strike3 and Tony and I are on Tony's 15 (GULP). DSC_0374.jpg

Here's Tony and Matt on the 15 the same day. DSC_9779.jpg

Here is a thread where the Strike3 gang goes out in 17 foot seas for the salmon opener.

I've heard plenty of times where I passed on boating/fishing due to the bad forecasts and later told that I missed a flat calm day. So sometimes you just have to get on the water and see for yourself.

Stay safe, boating season is getting closer.


domlynch posted 02-18-2012 09:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for domlynch    
Sorry to chip in so late, I've had PC issues only just sorted out.

I'm of the views of Dave Sutton:

"(3): "Unsinkable" means very little on the open ocean when yuu are clinging to the keel and freezing to death."

and of 17 bodega:

"I am in the camp that believes that a Montauk or a Whaler in general is a relatively easy boat to swamp "

and most others.

While I love my Montauk (a hand me down) and have very limited experience in her, the low freeboard all around doesn't instill me with much confidence. I must stress here I'm referring to using her in short, breaking water i.e. nasty to very nasty conditions for small boats. I'm used to significantly higher gunwales, higher transom, (helfpul to keep people onboard in sloppy water and to resist swamping), a cabin structure (which can act as a bulwark deflecting some green water, and a significantly wider beam in this boat length. One of my first (and remaining)impresssions on the Montauk is the narrow beam of the boat. I will take her outside (in the ocean) but will be very circumspect and aware, at least in my mind, of what I feel her limitations are. I feel this is a good thing, not a negative thing. The fact that these things float when overturned and can be clambered on when upside down is a heck of a lot better than having nothing to hang on to.

I reckon they are great for fishing in calm to moderate/even moderately rough conditions but I have been in very short breaking seas where I wouldnt want to be in one (or anything else for that matter!)

Happy and safe boating to all.

FISHNFF posted 02-20-2012 09:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for FISHNFF  Send Email to FISHNFF     
I've been 63 miles from the Golden Gate chasing tuna solo in my 17. Calm seas, but fog zero visability from dock to 5 miles past the Farallones (a little more than half way) and back.

I've been 1/2 miles off Oyster point by SFO trolling for halibut in winds steady over 30 knots, gusts to 40 (according to NOAA). Steep waves, every other scooped over the bow while trolling uphill. Bilge pump constantly on.

Which was more of a risk?

I get asked all the time about how I go out solo in various conditions.
I will say my judgement about going or not changes when I have my kids on board, but I will still go out in "rough" water if the fish are biting by myself or with a very competant partner.

Fishing/boating solo, I don't have to worry about someone else slipping, falling, hanging on, not hanging on, or running over their line in the water. If I need to move or grab hold, I know there isn't anyone in my way.

Just my take.

Regarding the quote, " Guys that go out in bad conditions usually know what they are doing."
I do not agree.
A novice who buys into the "invincibility" of a Boston Whaler may get a false sense of security and go out when they shouldn't.

I've never flipped a boat, but I don't need to, just to know what it would take to do so.


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