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Old 07-22-2018, 09:28 AM
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Just wanted to comment in light of this weeks Duck Boat tragedy in nearby Branson, mo.

I used to fish for walleye with my father in N. Minn and Canada. Mostly we would rent a very small (14 ft) aluminum boat, with a tiny (5-7.5 hp) motor. This combination is inexpensive, easy to launch and control, and very effective for most slow speed fishing techniques (walleye respond best to slow).

What this combination does not do, is run fast enough to get you off the water when violent thunderstorms hit. We were a couple of farmers, and very good at reading the sky to anticipate changes in the weather. But the combination of a small, slow boat, and fishing on very large lakes, resulted in getting caught out during several severe storms. Fortunately no lightning storms.

When I bought my current fishing boat, I was reminded of the terrible, helpless feeling when you have the little boat running flat out, but you are still miles out on the lake when the storm catches you. These little 14 ft rental boats are pretty sea worthy for their size, but they are not very fast, and not deep enough to handle high winds and big waves.

So I bought a bigger boat. A much bigger boat. I intentionally chose a norther style Deep Vee fishing boat built by Crestliner (one of the better manufacturers), and I chose one with a much bigger main motor. There is only one reason to put a 90 hp motor on a 16 ft aluminum boat, Speed. You can't fish at those speeds, and I'm not going to enter fishing tournaments, and zip around the lake chasing bass. No, I bought this purely to get me off the lake as fast as possible, when one of these violent storms spring out of no where.

I feel for the survivors in Branson, because I've been in their shoes several times. I would offer a couple pieces of advise.

First, the time to grab the life jacket, is when you first start the motor. If the boat is moving, the jacket should be on.

Second, as much as I enjoyed riding duck boats, the last one was built for the US Military in 1945. These things are over 70 yrs old. Perhaps it time for a new Duck.
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Old 07-22-2018, 10:28 AM
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They need to take their responsibility of peoples lives seriously as a company and shut things down during bad weather.
Back when I boated it didn't take long for me to get a marine radio with weather band.
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Old 07-22-2018, 10:39 AM
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The weather can change quickly, especially in that area.

Not sure why it would sink. I used to sail in weather like that. Maybe they lost a thruhull fitting or a bilge pump crapped out.

The "survivor" I saw interviewed this morning looks like she has been non-stop sitting in a chair and eating for the last 50 years. if the rest of the victims were like her, I can see how they would easily succumb. She said the captain showed them where the life jackets were. Then proceeded to build her case for the lawsuit, because it's always someone else's fault.
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Old 07-22-2018, 10:47 AM
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The storm that sunk the duck boat passed over my house a few minutes after the sinking and it was intense. While they should have kept a eye on the weather it is very difficult to expect how strong it can become. Ships are routinely lost in storms, even trains are blown off tracks. A nearby duck boat was able to get back to shore safely as were other boats.

So it could have been poor ship handling, a lousy boat design, freak of nature, or even a mechanical failure caused by being tossed about in the waves. Having been out in boats myself many many times I could give accounts of near catastrophes. Events cannot always be predicted and avoided.
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Old 07-22-2018, 10:50 AM
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I'm willing to bet it was a mix of rough water and the cover catching wind to flip it.
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Old 07-22-2018, 10:52 AM
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When the boat is bounced around hard, all sorts of things can fail, especially on an older boat if not well maintained.
Rudder or steering gear can break, sediment can stir up and plug the fuel line, battery or other connections can lose contact, thruhulls can fail, or the people might congregate on 1 side and flip the boat. Or the skipper might have not been a good heavy weather helmsman.
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Old 07-22-2018, 11:04 AM
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I watched several videos of this.

Another duck boat was sailing right along side it, and remained high in the water. The boat that sank, began sliding further into the water, till it covered the bow and the side windows. So my guess is, either the bilge pump failed, or one boat caught a wave wrong.

I have also heard the side windows are not water tight. Just open frames holding up the roof, with plastic sheeting rolled down to protect the passengers from rain.

Ps, I need to test my bilge pump.
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Old 07-22-2018, 11:10 AM
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if a thruhull hose came off, the bilge pump would get overwhelmed.
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Old 07-23-2018, 09:41 AM
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I just found a news report that a mechanic had inspected and documented the physical condition of all the Duck boats, to support a potential sale of the company. His report and supporting photos, have already been turned over to the investigators.
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/07/22...ctor-says.html

After completing the inspections, the mechanic refused to take his own family on a Duck Boat.
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Old 07-24-2018, 02:53 PM
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We were heading down to boat on the Lake of the Ozarks at the time and got caught in the storms by Sedalia. We could barely see out of the car windows driving 40 on the highway but didn't want to get rear ended going slower so one of us watched the lines on the right side of the road to help navigate. The storm that came through the lake area on it's way to Branson, dumped an inch of water in the boat that was parked under a boat dock shelter. The boat paperwork was in a storage container with a small hole to open it and it got wet too. Some friends took video of the storm starting and it was impressive. Then the windows of the place were pelted and you couldn't see out anymore. I wouldn't have wanted to be on the lake at the time and we had a 25 ft boat with a 350 engine. That was a little small for the boat waves on the busy days.

There were several additional things with the Duck Boat incident. The windows were covered so that would slow down people getting out, the entrance/exit in the back was a staircase that was raised blocking that exit, and some people weren't wearing life jackets even after the storm started up. I bet the difference in survival was someone in the family made everyone put on a lifejacket at the first sign of trouble and then started figuring out how to unhook the heavy flexible plastic window before the boat sunk. Because you won't be figuring out how to get the windows open if the boats going down. The lakes are not clear so you can't see much underwater and life jackets fight you in and can trap you at the top in an enclosed space.

We had life jackets for everyone available and in reach, the kids wore there's all the time when we were on the water, and I wore one anytime I entered the lake even though I can swim. Because 2 to 3 feet down and a person would disappear from sight and the lake is up to 130 ft deep with steep drop offs.
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