Summer is upon us all and it is time for outdoor fun and some rest and relaxation like fishing, hiking, camping and boating to name a few. My brother Eddie and his wife Heidi decided to buy a Boat so they could take there four children to the lake for some summer fun. When they found a boat that they liked they talked to the owner of the boat and they were told and reassured that the boat was in good shape and that it was a safe and sound boat. My brother checked the boat out good and he could not find any problems or see anything visibly wrong with the boat. So they decided to go ahead and buy the boat.
They bought the boat on may 10th and they decided to go to the lake the next day may 11th for mothers day. They decided they would go to Red Fleet Reservoir witch is located 13 miles north of vernal, Utah. They arrived and the boat was put into the water everyone had there life jackets on and it was time to go out on the water and have some fun. They had been out on the water now for about a hour and a half and they they had stopped in the middle of the lake for about ten minute when my brother put the boat into gear and started to take off again that’s when they new they had a big problem. The motor jumped forward hitting into the back of the boat, the motor had made a large hole in the boat and water was coming in fast and there was barley time to think, they were in the middle of the lake with there four children and three of the six could not swim.
My Brother new they had to get out of the boat and into the water there was no other boats in site and they had no other choice but to try to swim to shore. They had Just seconds to make a decision that could alter there lives forever. So they took what little time they did have to say a prayer and my brother, his wife and there four children jumped into the water what a horrifying situation for any parent to be in not knowing what the outcome would be and not having any choice. The children names and ages are Chaliss 13, Shawnaa 9, Ashlee 6, and Kolie 4.
There were several odds against them it was early may the water was still cold it was a chilling 42 degrees they were a quarter of a mile from shore and my sister in law and the two smallest children could not swim. For the first little while they stayed in a group and worked there way towards shore but they were very cold and it was taking them a long time with not much progress fatigue was starting to set in not to mention how cold they were.
My brother decided to swim ahead of the others and try to find some help so he and his daughter shawnaa the nine year old left the others and swam to shore when they reached the shore my brother took off running to find help but there was no one in site He returned to the shore where he had left shawnaa and the rest of the family was now close to the shore and could make it out of the water. They were very cold and shaken by what had happened my brother built a fire for them and then he left to try to find help again. This time he found a man on the road and after telling him what happened he asked if he would give his family a ride back to the marina and the man was happy to help them out.
The accident was reported and the boat was salvaged and towed to shore, there was a happy ending to what could have easily turned into a tragedy. The boat was unsafe and rather the owner that sold the boat new that it was not safe or not remains unknown he is the only one that will ever know the answer to that question. After examining the boat to see why it sank it was because of the transom.
Transoms are under a great deal of stress from a 500+ lb. motor hanging on it and on top of that exertion who knows how many thousands of pounds of thrust to move the boat through the water. All of this is big time stress on the transom. Motor mount bolts will eventually sink into a soft core and the motor will become loose on the transom In fact a rotten transom can cause the engine to thrust forward into the boat causing gapping holes and extreme damage to the boat. It is extremely important to have your boat transom checked frequently you can not tell if your transom is bad or rotten. Always take your boat to a professional and have it checked and make sure your boat is safe before putting it in the water. A lot of people do not know about the transom and they think there boats are fine because you can not physically see the transom you know the old saying out of site out of mind and then tragedy strikes and luckily for my brother and his family there little prayer they said before they jumped into the water was heard and answered.
Other Reasons Boats Sink
Striking an object – Submerged or partially submerged boards, logs, etc., are typically swept into rivers and bays after large rain storms and have been responsible for damaging and even sinking many boats.
Low Transoms – The single most critical reason boats are flooded on open water has to do with transom height. Most boats that are swamped are outboard powered, with engine cut-outs that are often only inches above the waves. Keep the boat away from the dock- Boats sink because they either get caught under the dock or bang against the dock. Bow, stern, and spring lines should be arranged to keep the boat in the center of its slip.
Drain Plugs – It’s difficult to understand how a missing drain plug could sink a boat. Wouldn’t the skipper realize that the boat was filling up with water? Typically, the water is out of sight in the bilge until hundreds of gallons have come aboard. By then, the boat might be floating well below its lines. In some cases, the source of the leak wasn’t discovered until the boat was raised.
Cooling System Leaks – A 300-hp engine pumps approximately 30 gallons of water through the cooling system every minute. Depending on which fitting lets go, you could find yourself with the water pouring into the bilge
Damaged Out drive Boots – Boats frequently sink because the rubber boots on the outdrive deteriorated.
Dockside Freshwater Hookups – Many boats sink because of problems in the boats’ dockside freshwater systems. Water may enter through a broken fitting in the boat’s hot water heater. Many sink after a hose burst (the freshwater system hadn’t been properly winterized). The first line of defense against this sort of sinking is to turn off the water at the dock whenever you’ll be away from the boat for more than a few hours.