A tale of loss and recovery – Updated

A Chris Craft utility boat went to the bottom of Lake Wentworth just south of Sister Island on Saturday, June 14, reportedly after hitting the wake of another boat. The operator, identified by news accounts as James Roome, was quickly rescued by another boater. Extra information has been added to this article.

The boat itself was retrieved three days later by a salvage barge and divers. The divers attached flotation bags to the boat and brought it to the surface. The damaged vessel was then towed by the barge to Heath Shore, where it was pushed onto a waiting boat trailer and taken away.

Conversation among the recovery personnel indicated that some significant portion of the boat’s bottom had been “crushed” by the impact. According to wooden boat enthusiasts, craft of this sort are susceptible to hull damage over time as the wood used to construct them deteriorates with exposure to water.

The issue is that the hull has two layers and if water gets between them, rot can occur that is not easy to detect, if at all. The water can go in through a hairline crack. The hole that formed occurred in an area with rot present and hitting a small wave at the wrong angle must have put enough pressure on that area to cause a crack which then expanded to a hole a number of inches in diameter. Sad to see this happen to such a nice boat.

A diver begins to shed his equipment as the recovered Chris Craft pokes just above the surface with the help of flotation bags.

A diver begins to shed his equipment as the recovered Chris Craft pokes just above the surface with the help of flotation bags.

 

The disabled boat is towed slowly by the recovery barge towards shore and a waiting trailer.

The disabled boat is towed slowly by the recovery barge towards shore and a waiting trailer.

On shore, the barge is tied to a dock and the recovered boat is separated from it.

On shore, the barge is tied to a dock and the recovered boat is separated from it.

Divers maneuver the boat onto a waiting trailer.

Divers maneuver the boat onto a waiting trailer.

Slick conditions on the ground and the weight of the water-filled boat required the use of two trucks to pull it out of the water.

Slick conditions on the ground and the weight of the water-filled boat required the use of two trucks to pull it out of the water.