Quick action by salvage crews last Wednesday, June 2, prevented a Homer fishing boat from flooding and sinking when it ran aground on the wood grid in the Homer Harbor. The 40-foot F/V Redoubt heeled over after the boat got stuck on the edge of the grid as the tide went out.
Homer Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins said the captain tried to take a short cut through the narrow passage between the southeast side of the harbor and the floats. With many fishing boats moored up in rafts as many as seven thick, the owner wanted to get close to Ramp 1 where he wouldn’t have to raft up as much as he could load groceries, Hawkins said.
“The tide was too low. It was a falling tide. He got hung up on the last beam,” Hawkins said.
If steered right, on certain tides boats can intentionally ground on grids in the harbor for repair work and maintenance on hulls. In this case, the Redoubt got stuck on the last beam and off the grid.
Fortune Marine Seas, a contractor that hauls out boats using inflatable roller bags, worked with crews from C&C Diving and Salvage to place several inflatable roller bags under the Redoubt. Divers put the bags under the boat, got them strapped in with lines, and then the bags were inflated to push the boat out of the water as the tide came back in later on Wednesday afternoon.
“With the tide flooding, without those bags it would have filled the boat,” Hawkins said. “”He (the boat owner) was so fortunate in that everybody and everything was in place to make it work so they could save his boat.”
The boat owner got the fuel tanks closed off and they weren’t full enough to spill out of the vents. U.S. Coast Guard officials monitored the incident, and oil booms were placed around the Redoubt in the event of any spill. Hawkins said no oil spilled.
Except for some fiberglass damage to the keel, the boat otherwise had no damage, Hawkins said. The tide did not flood the engine room and it had no mechanical damage. Homer Boat Yard workers hauled the Redoubt after it got upright and afloat, and the owner and crews worked through the night to repair the keel before heading out Monday to False Pass and Sand Point for the Area M salmon fishery opening.