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Its the last day of the Silver Salmon Derby in Seward, Alaska. There are huge prizes on the line. Bucks, I mean bucks. One fish could be worth 10K, more, but is that one prized fish worth the price of admission on a coast guard raft, to the hospital or worse?

Unfortunately for a nice guy and his freezing family, Sunday, the last day of the derby in Seward, was one of those days. Please do not get me wrong, I do not post to rub salt in anyone's wounds. I post this information because I was there, and it is an excellent learning experience for all of us. Everyone ended up okay, with some pride hurt, and some minor hypothermia, a swamped boat and soaked gear and engines, but okay nonetheless.

A buddy of mine and I had been fishing Alaska for a few days up to this point, filling the freezer with fresh silvers, and we had planned a halibut trip out of Seward for the next day toward Montague Is, for big halibut, to top the trip off. Well, the ocean didn't cooperate, and we were bummed, so we changed our plans, and took a day looking for fat silvers in and around Resurrection Bay, fishing tidewater from the bank, checking out glaciers and spawing hordes of pinks (anyone want pinks?).

Here is a pic from just a few minutes before we came upon a family who sunk their boat. Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time:



That glacier in the background informs you of how cold the water at the mouth of this creek is.

We are checking out the possibility of fishing near the mouth of a creek, and we begin to watch this ~18' Alumaweld O/B continue to troll what we think is dangerously close to shore. We see some silvers jumping in the area, and he is likely trying to mooch in shallow water after these prized fish for the last day of the derby.

The guy has his transom to the surf, and now he's in maybe 7-8' of water, still fishing. We say to each other, he's about to take one over the transom! Well, he almost does, and the wave turns the boat sideways to the surf, but he corrects the boat back, with the kicker, (more on this later) the wrong way, at least twice, before the big one dumps over the spashwell (I personally think little of low spashwells).

Down they go with two dogs, his wife and teenager, none with pfds on as far as we can tell. We yell at them to put pfds on before swimming the last few yards ashore:



By this time, we've put our waders on, made sure everyone's out of the water, begin to help the guy bail out is boat, call the harbormaster and Coast Guard.

When Coast Guard gets there, another boat had sent a line to shore to tow him through the surf, and we've got the boat floating again after more than a half hour of bailing in frigid water. We had waders on, but the boat owner wouldn't stay on shore very long to keep warm, worried about the boat bouncing on the rocks (he'd bought this new-to-him boat just weeks earlier). I'm sure he had hypothermia by the time we were done. As I was bailing out a seat box, I picked up a thermometer which read somewhere in the mid 40s. Brrrrrrr.

From talking to the boat owner, we learned he'd had some main motor problems, but didn't go back to shore and kept fishing (obviously). To his credit, he had a working vhf, bucket and bilge pump, but didn't think to begin to bail the boat out, rather thinking that a 1200 gph bilge pump would pump the boat out relatively quickly before we got there to assist. He just hung on one side of the boat, hoping to keep it from capsizing before we could get it to shore, but the waves kept washing over the splashwell, filling back up any headway the bilge could make. We couldn't, for the life of us, figure out why he was trolling that close to shore, in the surf, with the splashwell facing breaking surf. All he could say is that he really didn't know how close to shore he was until water splashed over the transom.

Anyway, everything turned out okay when we got the boat floating again. We got his family and pets to Seward cold and wet, but safe and sound. Thanks to the Coast Guard, and many thanks to the aluminum boat with the New England Patriots emblem who hung around for at least an hour to give assistance. Just as they got headed to port, a big afternoon blow from the Gulf came in which would have made saving the boat impossible.
:applause::applause:



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wow, that was riveting. what a scarey thing that must have been for all
 

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Way to go Dave!

I was up there for the first 2 days of the derby and the weather looks like another world. It was sunny and warm with a high of 78 each day and almost no wind. It is hard to remember that it was Alaska...

I saw the patriot boat each day up there, I think he is a guide/charter.

Glad to see you were there to assist. Good Karma!!!
 

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Wow! There's something you don't see every day. Gee! what was the Guy thinking? Good thing you were there to help out. Nice Job! Guy's. Thanks for Sharing.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I was up there for the first 2 days of the derby and the weather looks like another world. It was sunny and warm with a high of 78 each day and almost no wind. It is hard to remember that it was Alaska...
Yeah, the ocean prediction was looking great when we were fishing the Little Su river near Wasilla for 3 days. Forecasted for low 70s through the entire trip. Then, on Saturday morning, it began to rain, and temps dropped to the 50s. The ocean outside Resurrection bay went from flat to 12 foot seas overnight, and stayed there, so we fished for silvers near the east cape of the bay. The wind was howling just around the corner.

Shoulda stayed on the river our entire trip, but whaddya do? :shrug:
 
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