Houseboat almost sinks

#3
In a houseboat that size, you could slow and maneuver the boat to prevent a wake from coming over the deck. They must of really submarined the front end into the wave, to take on that much water, was a hatch open? They were lucky the water stayed in the bow area, which kept their engines above water so they could continue to the marina.
 
#5
Other than simply keeping your distance and avoiding them when possible, what is the best way to handle a houseboat when you've got a huge tour boat wake rolling in?
 
#6
Other than simply keeping your distance and avoiding them when possible, what is the best way to handle a houseboat when you've got a huge tour boat wake rolling in?
Distance, as the wakes are very steep and close together right behind the tour boat, they spread out and are less steep the farther away you are. Slow down, a houseboat can likely take any tourboats wake at any angle if your speed is slow enough. Turn into the wake and hit the wave at an angle, 45 degrees or less, play around and see what angle your boat handles best (a houseboat will be much different than a 14' aluminum skiff.)
 
#7
I just watched the video again with sound this time, the "Titanic" music in the background is classic.

I've never see a USCG boat at Lake Powell, only NPS. Is this new? I wonder why they didn't try to rig the salvage pump. You couldn't go through the front hatch obviously, but if the hose was long enough to put the pump on the stern, there should be multiple access holes inside the houseboat to get a hose deep into the bilge. This guy had no idea how close he was to sinking...
 
#8
I just watched the video again with sound this time, the "Titanic" music in the background is classic.

I've never see a USCG boat at Lake Powell, only NPS. Is this new? I wonder why they didn't try to rig the salvage pump. You couldn't go through the front hatch obviously, but if the hose was long enough to put the pump on the stern, there should be multiple access holes inside the houseboat to get a hose deep into the bilge. This guy had no idea how close he was to sinking...
I saw that coast guard boat 2 other times over the weekend and thought the same thing, that they must be new. The titanic song is classic! I also find it interesting that in the news report he says it was a tour boat, but in the video he makes no reference to it. He just states "not sure what is going on" and that " we are just motoring back".....hmmmm
 

PowellBride

Well-Known Member
#9
Last year, we were headed up river when the tour boat passed us. Dad was driving from the top deck and my husband was downstairs getting a snack. In fairness, as we are north enders, we don't have a lot of experience with the tour boats, and from the top deck, the waves don't reeallyyy....look THAT bad. No surprise, my Dad misjudged the waves, and by the time he figured it out, it was too late to correct.

Now my husband and I are slightly more familiar with the tourboats from our week of tent camping near Rock Creek, I looked up from cleaning the top deck windows and saw the tour boat, yelled downstairs to my husband "Hold On! Tour Boat!" and started telling my dad TURN! TURN! Meanwhile, downstairs my husband looked and realized the tourboat had JUST passed us, as the first wave hit the boat, he said "I hit the ground on all fours! and just road it out." Everything from the kitchen cabinets and hall closet was smashed and tossed around the main cabin. Took forever to clean that up. Needless to say, my Dad no has a better understanding, and a healthy respect for tour boat wakes.

Powell stories......
 

birdsnest

Well-Known Member
#10
The worst is getting parallel to the waves. It can and will tear up your houseboat and potentially injure. I could see whole cabinets falling off the walls onto people. Scary business. The frigging tour boat captains don't always slow down. If they are more than 150 feet away I'm not sure if they legally have to slow down but certainly should for safety reasons.
 

Waterbaby

Moderator
Staff member
#11
Last year, we were headed up river when the tour boat passed us. Dad was driving from the top deck and my husband was downstairs getting a snack. In fairness, as we are north enders, we don't have a lot of experience with the tour boats, and from the top deck, the waves don't reeallyyy....look THAT bad. No surprise, my Dad misjudged the waves, and by the time he figured it out, it was too late to correct.

Now my husband and I are slightly more familiar with the tourboats from our week of tent camping near Rock Creek, I looked up from cleaning the top deck windows and saw the tour boat, yelled downstairs to my husband "Hold On! Tour Boat!" and started telling my dad TURN! TURN! Meanwhile, downstairs my husband looked and realized the tourboat had JUST passed us, as the first wave hit the boat, he said "I hit the ground on all fours! and just road it out." Everything from the kitchen cabinets and hall closet was smashed and tossed around the main cabin. Took forever to clean that up. Needless to say, my Dad no has a better understanding, and a healthy respect for tour boat wakes.

Powell stories......
In our boats - including our houseboat days - if we saw the tourboat coming we literally headed away from it or if in the narrows would look to dive into a protected spot until the waves settled down. We did get surprised once coming out of Iceberg and hit the wake sideways instead of 45 degree - the water washed over the front deck where I was sitting with one of our dogs in my lap. it washed all the coolers and everything else on the front deck into the lake, the front door was closed so no water made it inside, but didn't stop the door of the cupboards from flying open and emptying dishes. I literally slid in the chair with my dog to the side and had to grab hold of the chain on the side to stay in the boat. I've known people who thought it fun to ride the tour boat wakes - my experience is they are a nuisance and a danger, not fun. I really don't understand why the NPS doesn't insist they change to the catamaran style like they use here on Lake Havasu.
 

Goblin

Well-Known Member
#12
That others may live!...….. Just kiddin' o_O
  • At more than 150' distance there is NO requirement to slow down with the caveat that every boat is always responsible for any damage their wake causes regardless of speed. Unfortunately this liability is of little deterrence to many.
  • Tour boat wakes taken head-on can easily inundate the bow with water and from the rear even easier.
  • Allowing the wake to hit you on the beam can rock the boat violently side to side throwing everything about including overturning refrigerators and violently opening drawers replete with flatware or the like.

  1. The recipe for peaceful coexistence is not to rely on the tour boat to be considerate. Some will hail the tour boat on Ch. 16 to slow down. That might work and is definitely a possibility if caught off guard and in the short hairs. My worst experience with a tour boat was when it slowed way down almost to wakeless and came close aboard to allow the passengers a photo op. That was fine until time was up and he laid the hammer down to resume their excursion. A wave came over the bow and through the front door soaking the entire salon area. Other than offering a one-finger salute for their appalling situational awareness, at least make sure the front door is closed. Someone told me within the last couple of years they had a wave knock the front sliding door off the track so that in itself is not a save-all.
  2. Keep your head on a swivel and search as far as your eyes will take you. Seeing the beast at distance is the key. The problem boats are easy to spot a long way off by the white spray being kicked up. If you have guests aboard tell them to point out tour boats or any problem boats and when they do hopefully they will already be in your cross-check being the steely-eyed captain that you are. A simple thanks is appropriate regardless of your SA at that moment.
  3. Whenever possible achieve maximum separation. A 45 degree turn away will usually suffice. Don't worry about getting too much separation at Lake Powell. Considering the serpentine nature of the lake, that will probably not happen.
  4. As the wave approaches turn back into the wave to meet it at a 45 degree angle. This gives you a trade-off between burying the bow and rockin' and a rollin' side to side.
  5. Keep in mind that if you are in the narrows or anywhere that has steep rock shoreline, waves will rebound back and forth making for a multiple ride experience. This can have the advantage of closing some of the drawers that the parent wave opened moments before albeit now empty of all contents.
  6. Lastly, keep a close eye on any towed vessels whose bow can catch a wave at exactly the wrong time. A broken line or swamped vessel is possible. This is particularly hazardous with vessels that are gunwale deficient. Back when the Cut was closed and the long way around was the only game in town, their was a brisk business in raising swamped and sunken boats that were towed part of the way to their destination. Best to just drive those boats through the narrows by themselves.
Following the above technique (not procedure) most of the time your guests will be happily rubbernecking and completely cluedo. On the other hand if you don't use this technique and your rear end eats your underwear, perhaps consider giving it a try.

FWIW,
Goblin
 
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#13
I do not believe the the captain fully realized the peril he and his passengers were being exposed to, had the front slider failed allowing the water to free flow directly into the cabin that boat would have sunk in just minutes.

Having the Coast Guard on scene and them off boarding the passengers was a potential life saving action, kudos to them for performing their duty in a timely manner.

This event is a reminder that when on Powell or any body of water the captain must be well versed in the operation and capabilities of his vessel and be able to evaluate any condition encountered during the operation of his vessel and take appropriate actions.
 
#15
This event is a reminder that when on Powell or any body of water the captain must be well versed in the operation and capabilities of his vessel and be able to evaluate any condition encountered during the operation of his vessel and take appropriate actions.

Agreed, we don't need to be licensed captains with 20 years experience in the North Atlantic, but at minimum we should know the location of where the life jackets are stored. In the video when the captain states "Did you find the life jackets?" says it all. And this is from someone with multiple years experience.

I'm sure the coast guard was not happy at all, boarding those passengers without life jackets. That was a very risky maneuver, boarding them with the vessels moving. I bet after the first 2 boarding's captured on video, the uscg requested he stop the boat to remove the remainder of the passengers, prop strikes are not fun...

If the boat rolled, he and his second passenger would of had a tough time getting out of the boat, standing on the port interior wall, unable to reach the sliding glass door now above you...

I'd take a guess he had a water leak for quite some time that went unnoticed. Did you hear the freshwater pump running continuously all weekend, did a freshwater hose connection or engine cooling pipe come unhooked? When you first notice the boat listing, get someone down below to look for leaks. Grabbing some buckets to bail will buy you some time. A rag or towel stuffed in a hole in the hull is usually enough to allow the bilge pumps to keep up and do their jobs...
 

bubba

Well-Known Member
#16
There is so much wrong with this video!

The severity of the situation has clearly eluded him as displayed by complete calmness and lack of any focus on the massive dangers confronting him, especially the capsize threat if that front door popped off the track under force of the higher outdoor water level.

I would be interested in a few more details. Did he depart the beach with an already flooded bow bilge or a flooded lower galley. Did the galley take on water through an open front door while underway, allowing the second wave from the tour boat direct access to the lower galley.

Why was his primary focus returning the boat to dock instead of seeking safety with closest land point.

Luckily nobody died. If the boat is a pontoon design, that probably played a big positive role and worthy of hero claim, as the hero is certainly not the captain.

The tour boat wakes are so dangerous and massive. It is the second one that gets you, the first one just gets your bow nice and low so you punch into the second wave six feet below its crest. Why are the tour boats not restricted to operate only at speeds with a safe wake, they are a public nuisance.
 
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Docker

Well-Known Member
#17
Judging by the photo of it loaded on the trailer it appears to be a pontoon boat so he was likely only taking in water on the port side. Would also mean it's much more likely that it has a hole or two on the port side pontoon as it would be hard for a single tour boat wake to flood a pontoon. I had not noticed it was a pontoon after viewing the first couple times. It seemed to be a monohull setup, which would have made it even riskier. Still a scary thing in a pontoon.
 
#18
Judging by the photo of it loaded on the trailer it appears to be a pontoon boat so he was likely only taking in water on the port side. Would also mean it's much more likely that it has a hole or two on the port side pontoon as it would be hard for a single tour boat wake to flood a pontoon. I had not noticed it was a pontoon after viewing the first couple times. It seemed to be a monohull setup, which would have made it even riskier. Still a scary thing in a pontoon.

Notice the very beginning of the video, the deck appears to be completely above the water. It was soaking wet likely from a wave coming over, but the wave washed off and the danger was gone. This tends to support the idea there was a leak in the hull, as the hull would not continue to sink after the waves hit unless there was a leak.

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#19
I heard the radio traffic for this when it happened. They didn't have any life jackets on board, they had 27 people on board and they claimed to have hit a rock. I'm glad to see they made it to the ramp and no one got hurt. Remember when seconds matter all your passengers need to know where the life jackets are located.
 
#20
I heard the radio traffic for this when it happened. They didn't have any life jackets on board, they had 27 people on board and they claimed to have hit a rock. I'm glad to see they made it to the ramp and no one got hurt. Remember when seconds matter all your passengers need to know where the life jackets are located.
That sounds like a pretty hefty ticket to pay.
 
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