sunk drift boat on Grande Ronde River March 4, 2011

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Shapp, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

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    Could someone who is not banned from ifish cross post this info. I normally would't ask, but for such a situation, it seams appropriate to diseminate the correct information.

    http://www.ifish.net/board/showthread.php?t=351470&highlight=grande ronde

    I Observed a sunk drift boat (blue fiberglass) just below Sheep Creek rapid this weekend (march 5), I guess the guys sunk it the day before (March 4) we were there. To those that may have seen us go by on the wallowa (we were in the blue aluminum koffler not the blue fiberglass boat which sunk). We recovered a bunch of their stuff, phone number on a bag, left a message, no call back yet, including an operational Ruger M77 Mark II .223.

    The guy who sunk his boat called me back last night. They are not from the area and this was their first time on the river. They launched from Palmer Junction on the Grande Ronde not from minam

    Quite a long story, short version: they think the plug came out and they started taking on water in Sheep Creek rapid, sluggish manouvering then broadside and flipped on a boulder, I think the anchor also let loose, niether had life jackets and both guys nearly drowned, one had a battle with entrapment with the anchor rope, one made it to the left side of the bank and the other guy on the opposite side. They hiked out to palmer junction.

    The guy was pretty humble about his mistakes when I spoke at length with him. They learned a very significant lesson without having to pay the ultimate price.

    Lessons they should have learned from this experience (and lessons for everyone to keep in mind):

    1. Always wear a PFD
    2. Have your boat and all gear in proper working order (i.e. plug etc).
    3. Know how to high side and practice to the extent that the move is automatic when required
    4. Have a very sharp river knife on your person to cut the anchor rope in the event of it getting snagged and or you gettig entraped
    5. Tie an overhand not in your anchor rope befor significant rapids so the knot can’t go through the pulley keeping your anchor from dislodging in the rapid in the first place
    6. Winter trips leave even less margin for error when temps are cold and hypothermia/freezing to death increase 100 fold.
    7. Go with another boat if it is your first time on a multiday trip to the middle of no where and you aren’t an expert rower/survival expert.
     
  2. themaninthemoon

    themaninthemoon Just waiting on warmer weather, .......

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    Ain't like I Haven't said so before. Preparation, Safety 1st, most, & last.
    Glad to hear the happy ending was only a free life lesson, & not costing one, or more lives to learn.
    The cost of the craft is a loss, unless it is possible to be salvaged, but it, & it's contents also pollutes the river too.
     
  3. Dustin Bise

    Dustin Bise Active Member

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    Glad eveeryone is ok. Ive said it before, but I feel many fisherman dont treat whitewater with the respect it deserves. helmets are pretty much unheard of, life jackets are scarce.

    Go hang out with some white water kaykers or guys doing whitewate cats. i bet u 95 percent of them are always wearing a helment and a lifejacket.

    I know, helemts cramp ur cool images, but you can at least wear them when u shoot a major rapid.
     
  4. constructeur

    constructeur Active Member

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    Living is pretty cool though!
     
  5. LD

    LD Active Member

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    I have been to to never tie a not in an anchor rope, much better to loose an anchor than get caught and have to try and cut it.
     
  6. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

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    ropes sort of have a mind of their own, chances are if you flip and the anchor comes loose, which it will, the rope inside the boat will get caugt on something anyway or form a knot and get jammed with a bunch of line out, making things worse. What I am talking about is tying an over hand not right up by your nearest pully, so if the rope comes out of the cleat the, anchor can only drop about 2 to 3 inches. I know of more than one time when an anchor rope has come out of a cleat when going through a rapids, and the anchor went out about 15 feet, the rope inside gets wrapped around a leg other object, or forms a knot some place on its own, the anchor snags in the rapid and you are in the water. This isn't hypothetical, it happens. To each his own I guess.
     
  7. Loren Jensen

    Loren Jensen Active Member

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    you can't have fun if you're dead. safety 1st
     
  8. Brian Miller

    Brian Miller Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout

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    Glad to hear the subjects are OK. I discussed this incident with the Certified Swiftwater Rescue Technician Instructor I took a class from. He says :ray1: no knots ever, in the anchor rope. He also feels that Highside practice should be done in a course presented by a SRT certified organization so that it is done with the oversight of EXTREMELY qualified individuals, with said tools and skills. He adds that "...It is nearly a crime to sell boats to people not knowing if they can even spell "row" much less do it."

    Be safe out there
     
  9. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

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    I guess "experts" can disagree, I have switwater rescue training and 15+ years experience running solid Class IV+ around the NW. Anyway, what "experts" can agree on is that wearing a life jacket will prevent most drownings on the river, barring the freak occurance with entrapment and heart attack, etc.
    be safe out there!
    SYOTR.
     
  10. themaninthemoon

    themaninthemoon Just waiting on warmer weather, .......

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    All it took was one trip on the Kankakee, by myself, just after iceout, on a day that was 75 degrees, to teach me, a novice, about where to sit in a canoe, & how to paddle & steer around obstacles, etc., in a canoe that I wound up enjoying for a # of years afterwards, but from then on when I came out on the water, I always wear my PFD when under way. The Kankakee, it is one of the laziest rivers I know, but add some rain storms even up to three & 1/2 weeks before, or as you are also out on the water. & this river, for some odd reason, this river can grow quite quickly into a very cantankerous SWIFT whitewater style of stream anyone has ever seen. I've camped on the water's edge & was doing some bank fishing several years ago & literally watched the river increase by two full feet in about an hour & 1/2. That! is a lot of water, & the river has a normal flow rate of approximately 4 mph, which is great for tubing rafting at a very leisurely pace. But let Old Mother Nature drop a couple of inches of rain anywhere near the Kankakee River Valley & it can/will double the flow rate in an hour's time. It is also known to be the fastest flowing body of water for it's size, east of the Mississippi.
    So again, SAFETY! 1ST, most, & last! It is that simple.
    Why?
    Because Ol' Murphy's law, is just around the corner, waiting on you to show up.
     
  11. Wayne Kohan

    Wayne Kohan fish-ician

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    Wow, never thought I would see anything about Kankakee on a Washington flyfishing site. Grew up there, or at least near there. Fished mostly for carp, occasionally bass. Never flyfished back then. Can't say I spent time on the river as we did not have a boat. Did remember doing a canoe trip when I was young, as my parents tipped their canoe over, but I think it was a different river in the area. I remember the Kankakee as a water-skiers river as it was quite wide.

    I do remember fishing with my dad on Rock Creek, which dumped into the Kankakee River near a state park. It was down a canyon, and we would crawl down there, and then dad would turn over rocks to find crawdads, which we would use for bait to catch the bass. Great memories of growing up fishing. We did float the intertubes down Rock Creek in high school.

    wayne
     
  12. Grant Richie

    Grant Richie Member

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  13. Grant Richie

    Grant Richie Member

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