Article - How to sink your boat


Recently I did some hog line fishing on the Columbia River near the mouth of the Kalama. The fishing was decent, with several boats in the two lines getting fish. The current was strong - we needed 20-22 ounces of lead to keep the wobblers near the bottom.  I was alone in my boat but had talked off and on through the day with the boat anchored closest to me. Suddenly a couple of guys in the boat stood up and began yelling excitedly.

It wasn’t about a fish, a 14-15’ boat just upstream from us had just capsized while trying to pull their anchor!

Three boats from our line quickly reeled in and were on their way to the rescue. Two fellows were in the water; luckily for each they were wearing CO-2 inflated PFDs. One fellow was adrift; the other clung desperately to the anchor line near the big orange float. The boat appeared stationary at first, but was in fact dragging the anchor and moving downstream. The sunken boat’s two occupants were soon rescued, but it was then I perceived a new problem, the capsized boat with a little air trapped in the bow was headed right for my boat’s anchor line!

I could see a major entanglement looming fast. Unfortunately, there was no longer enough room to run upstream and pull my anchor in the conventional fashion, it was either cast off and hope for the best or just drag it up by hand. I guess I still had a little bit of adrenalin left in me, because that’s just what I did. Once safely out of the way, I started my motor and maneuvered away. The boat passed right through my previous location a couple of minutes later. I had a look at the boat as it passed by. It was obvious to me that this little boat had secured their anchor line to a rope cleat near the stern when pulling their anchor.

It is a very dangerous practice. It anything provides extra resistance, like a snag, the balance point is all wrong. The transom gets pulled down in an instant and you’re sunk. Always leave the rope fixed in the bow system while pulling your anchor, and always wear your PFD while doing any anchoring or pulling.

Simple as that.
Be careful and stay alive.