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Author Topic:   170 MONTAUK Capsize
jimh posted 07-20-2015 09:43 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
A Boston Whaler 170 MONTAUK with seven people aboard capsized in the Atlantic Ocean about 300-yards off the beach near Cape Henlopen Point, Delaware on July 6, 2015. According to a report at DELAWAREONLINE.COM, a wave came "over the bow", the boat swamped, and then capsized. All the people from the MONTAUK were rescued and the boat was recovered. The occupants included three to four children, who were wearing personal floatation devices. See fortunate-boaters-rescued-capsize/29799569/

After the capsize, one on-scene observer described what sounded like an inverted hull, floating bottom up. Although Boston Whaler hulls are generally unsinkable and have a substantial reserve buoyancy even when swamped, the stability of a swamped Boston Whaler boat is much decreased compared to a hull without all that free water sloshing around. A capsize in those circumstances is certainly possible, as this event demonstrates.

frontier posted 07-20-2015 11:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for frontier  Send Email to frontier     
I remember in one of the old Boston Whaler brochures a satisfied customer was interviewed.
His only complaint was: he capsized his boat once and he wished they would put handles on the bottom.
n1ywb posted 07-20-2015 11:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for n1ywb  Send Email to n1ywb     
When I go to paint my bottom I'm seriously considering putting some safety orange on there. Some reflective material would also be a super idea for SAR.
andrey320 posted 07-20-2015 01:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for andrey320  Send Email to andrey320     
Unsinkable but not uncapsizable....
I watched my boat get flipped upside down in the surf, not fun....
msirof2001 posted 07-20-2015 02:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for msirof2001  Send Email to msirof2001     
"I remember in one of the old Boston Whaler brochures a satisfied customer was interviewed.
His only complaint was: he capsized his boat once and he wished they would put handles on the bottom." ~frontier

That got me to thinking. I remember in 1996 or 1997, they has a version of the OUTRAGE 24 and maybe the 21 called "Cross Tackle" is my memory serves me right. The dock-line cleats were retractible and were flush to the gunnel when retracted. It would probably be a huge expense and rarely used but I bet those could be installed under the hull, near the sides and kept in a retracted position. Then, in a capsize, they could be popped up and would become a handle to grab onto. And maybe something for a rescuer to latch onto (if supported) to rightsize the boat. Just a thought.

n1ywb posted 07-20-2015 02:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for n1ywb  Send Email to n1ywb     
I was thinking about swamped whalers and I realized that on a whaler a lot of the flotation is in the floor. When you put 2000lbs of water on top of that you have an inverted pendulum. Of course if all the flotation was in the gunnels you'd have a RHIB or a stabicraft, so it's a tradeoff, just like everything else in hull design.

I wonder how many people it would take to right a classic 13 or a 16/17 in the water?

Of course the answer is already here it takes about three people to right a 13'; presumably 4 or 5 to right a larger hull.

jimp posted 07-20-2015 05:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimp  Send Email to jimp     
Frontier -

Yup, I've always remembered that comment from the 1960's brochure.


wezie posted 07-20-2015 10:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for wezie    
Wonder what the total weight load was when the wave jumped aboard. No information was given as to the sizes of the seven. Given the seating in the 170, it is very conceivable five were forward and two on the console seat. That alone would make the boat bow heavy. Then there is who was sitting where. Now we are back to the loading question. Placing all crew members on the floor in inclement weather is an old recommendation, because it works.

The discussion as to whether a 170 could be righted by the crew, is dependent on wind, wave size and water temperature. I would sure try.

This does bring up the [problem] of securing batteries to the deck. Otherwise they will become unwanted ballast in the top of the inverted console. Almost everything else--ice chest, fuel and tanks, cushions--provides some floatation if it stays aboard.

The Coast Guard instructions would be targeted at all boats, not just Boston Whalers. Any boat without positive floatation, floating upside down, has a bubble trapped. Roll it over and it will burp loudly and sink. Quickly! At That moment, you do not want to be attached to it in any way.

Glad they all made it!

Nantucket Sleighride posted 07-21-2015 02:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for Nantucket Sleighride  Send Email to Nantucket Sleighride     
Boston Whalers, though unsinkable, can capsize in heavy seas. Several challenges that you could be faced with are having to climb on to an overturned hull and being spotted and rescued by other boaters.

To make it easier to climb on to the capsized boat I leave my bow and stern dock lines securely tied to their cleats. If the boat were to roll over these three lines would hang straight down. You could toss these lines over the hull and tie them off to each other giving you secure lines to grab on to when climbing on the overturned hull. Getting up out of the water reduces the risk of getting hypothermia while waiting for rescue.

To make the Guardian 18' gray hull more visible to Coast Guard Rescue helicopters, I painted it red and added the letters "SOS to the underside of the hull. PC220014_zps1e52d496.jpg.html?sort=6&o=46

I have never capsized a Boston Whaler and I with any luck the only people that will ever see the "SOS" on the underside of the hull will be divers looking up.


jimh posted 07-21-2015 08:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
One of the significant advantages of the older Boston Whaler OUTRAGE boats is the rather wide, low, and open transom. If a wave does come aboard and puts a large volume of water into the boat cockpit, that water can be very rapidly shed over the transom and back to the sea by applying power and getting the boat into a bow-high trim.
jhomeist posted 07-21-2015 09:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for jhomeist  Send Email to jhomeist     
In the early 70s my dad had 5-6 young teens from the church youth group out on Lake Erie in our Sakonnet with Bearcat 55. I was not along but my uncle was along with some other teens in his Thompson. The wind picked up and they decided to head home. Three girls were sitting on the bow dangling their feet in the water as they left the beach. Dad decided to get them wet and throttled back as a wave approached. With the extra weight on the bow, it really dropped and because he was under power the boat submarined and filled with water. He cut the throttle, move the teens around for appropriate weight distribution, throttled up to dump water over the transom, then pulled the plug to drain the rest under way. I don't know how full the hull was, but there must have been a fair amount of water to be able to dump it over the transom. He says he was suprised at how stable the boat was 'full' of water. Not a desirable situation to encounter, but it did have a good outcome.
Phil T posted 07-21-2015 11:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Phil T  Send Email to Phil T     
Something like this almost happened to me.

I was driving my 1991 Outrage 17 with one passenger. Conditions were really bad and in hindsight not safe. SCA conditions with breaking 3' waves and 20kt+ winds

The Outrage 17 I does not have the open transom, rather stern quarter seats, engine splashwell and bilge drain the exits under the waterline.

I was trying to offload my passenger at a public float at an unprotected pier. After aborting a docking attempt I stuffed the bow twice within a minute.

If not for some quick maneuvering into to the wind and added speed, we would have rolled over in seconds.

PeteB88 posted 07-22-2015 10:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Phil, How'd you get the water out ? Bilge pump?

We were out in real snotty stuff, Lake Michigan last weekend, four adults on board. I have learned to use the throttle to keep that bow up, especially if passengers are forward even for big wakes off motor yachts - big lake or inland. If we're just idling along and I see something coming I hit the throttle and "lift" the bow up to avoid taking anything over the front. And getting passengers wet. So far, works great. "Lift" is almost instant when done right.

Marko888 posted 07-23-2015 06:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marko888    
These stories remind of a Dale Earnhardt mantra...don't lift the throttle...keep the power on! Also realizing my Outrage 18 will let the water out much easier than a closed transom Whaler.
PeteB88 posted 07-24-2015 12:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
I don't think those two scuppers on either side of transom would evacuate water very fast. I wish I had that low cut transom.
I do have a high capacity bilge pump but have never taken a wave over the bow, close a couple of times, with that Outrage 17. In fact, it is amazingly dry boat compared to others I've been in over the years.
Nantucket Sleighride posted 07-25-2015 08:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Nantucket Sleighride  Send Email to Nantucket Sleighride     
To reduce the risk of the water splashing over the bow and then filling the boat I build a forward deck on center console Boston Whalers.

This photograph shows a Guardian 18' and behind it an early Montauk both with a full forward deck.
There is also a raised lip, on the trailing edge of the deck, that helps redirect the water off to either side of the boat.
This helps to keep the decks dry. P8240017_zps92f9b4bf.jpg.html?sort=6&o=49


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