Thursday, July 8, 2010

Coast Guard, This Is Double Jack

There's a first time for everything, they say. Hopefully, there's a last time, too.

We were cruising yesterday with two other boats from Blake Island to Gig Harbor only a few miles away but only 15 minutes into the trip, one of the boats stopped and was spewing smoke. We were in the middle, and the smoking boat was in the rear. Behind us was Hubby's brother and wife in the boat they purchased all of three weeks ago, used. This was their first trip into salt water.

I have to say that everything went pretty much according to Hoyle from that point forward. The first concern was whether or not there was a fire and since they didn't want to raise the engine hatch, we had to assume there was one. Their halon fire suppression hadn't automatically detonated (which was probably a clue that there wasn't a fire) but we told them to detonate it manually under the category better safe than very, very sorry. Next, life preservers were donned by all.

We decided there was no fire and tied up alongside, and made the radio call to the Coast Guard. Our lead boat, which was out of sight at that point, heard the radio call and waited. Coast Guard determined there was no immediate danger to life or property and so advised us to tow the distressed vessel back to where we started. Our lead boat turned around and headed back.

The rest of our friends (another four boats) were still at the docks and helped us in, saving dock space for us at this State park. Hubby did an excellent job getting us back and getting the disabled boat to the dock and then docking our own. Everyone was safe and sound, and relieved.

One of our group members is a boat mechanic, so it happens, and another works for a boat dealership so we had access to labor and parts. The State park is connected to Seattle via ferry and we were able to arrange to have the parts delivered to the ferry terminus for today's crossing. The problem was we couldn't get all the parts so we decided to make another plan.

What happened was a hose from a hydraulic pump failed and when it did, hydraulic fluid shot all over the hot engine which caused all the smoke. There was no fire but it was scary nonetheless. The pump, the hose, a melted dipstick, a washer for the stern drive ram - all need to be replaced.

Tomorrow, we'll tow them to the nearest boat launch ramp - about 4 miles from here - where someone with a trailer will meet us to pull the other boat out of the water for repairs. We'll continue on back to the Lake where we'll float for another couple days before heading back to the dock.

All is well. The trip has been good in spite of yesterday's drama. Bro & Sis-in-Law are so grateful for all the help that they will join the club as a result. The weather is great and the scenery is beautiful. I have lots of pictures of boats, the City, and Mt. Rainier. All to follow.


-p said...

Nothing like smoke on a boat (or in an airplane, for that matter...) to get your attention!

Lynn C Dot said...

The boat gets really smalll....really fast.....