Letters – by Our Readers


Dear Ty,

I just read the May issue and enjoyed all that Bill, Pat and Mark had to write about. In Pat’s piece, Lessons Learned however, I could not help but notice the large obstruction photo on page 50. During the weeks of prep and printing of the published material, I am sure this object has now moved down river quite a few miles. Mainly, I just wanted to let you know how much as boaters we appreciate the monthly coverings of Delta happenings and informative pieces such as those that Pat shares with us. Keep up the good work.

Al Ramsey

Hey Al,

Thank you very much for the kind words, and of course for your loyal readership of our publication. The writers are a big piece yes, but those behind the scenes always have my gratitude.

The obstruction that you mentioned… yes, quite the hazard to those of us that enjoy the Delta waters. It really does not matter what time of year you traverse the many miles in the Delta, you should always have a keep a keen eye for such obstructions.

That log had been mentioned prior and by more than a few Delta boaters in the area. But as coincidence would have it, I am sure to believe it is the very same hazard that close friends of mine hit in the middle of the San Joaquin River. They were running at slower than normal speed due to the wind over current waves that were present at the time. Any of us that know the SJR, know that the area from Navigation Marker “47” to upriver Navigation Marker “59” can be treacherous during conditions involving higher winds coming from the west.

The wind waves that day with their close spacing and height of the chop provided perfect cover to any hazard that would have normally been extremely easy to spot. So, in the middle of the channel around Marker “52,” my friends in their 24-foot Hallett came in direct contact with the object, looking terribly similar to the photo you made reference to on page 50 of our May issue. It was said after contact, that it appeared to them to be an adrift utility pole. Regardless of the object, the damage was done already, in the fact that the impact tore off the outdrive and serious water was now rushing in through the transom. In the midst of mad bailing, calls were made to the Sheriff Marine Patrol, as well as TowBoatU.S. with both showing up within minutes of each other. Tow lines were secured to the sheriff’s boat initially, and TowBoatU.S. was asked to render pumps in assisting the non-stop bailing process. I was told the boat owner’s side of the story in that, although they are TowBoatU.S. members, the use of pumps is not covered under the tow policy and would be a minimum of $25 per foot of the boat being used upon, plus the applicable hourly towing rates. I have referred to local TowBoatU.S. aficionado and expert, Phil Delano in further explaining. In layman’s terms, he stated that once the situation at hand of a regular towing becomes elevated to the category of a “Salvage,” or better yet vessel saving type operation, the normal tow membership no longer applies. Because of the risks involved in vessel saving, costs are quickly estimated for all services rendered to save vs. assist. At times, these may be out of pocket costs at the time to then be turned into the vessel owner’s insurance company. The insurance company would then, under normal circumstances, reimburse the out-of-pocket money, as well as damage repairs less the insured’s deductible. In facing the situation at hand of a sunken or lost boat you own, any deductible in my opinion would be well worth the alternative vs. losing your beloved watercraft. The boat was eventually towed to safety and saved, where it is currently having repair work done. It should be completed well in time to enjoy the fast-approaching summer boating agenda of this year.

There are plenty of lessons here of which I hope to coax Lessons Learned front man, Pat Carson into covering in detail in an upcoming issue. In the meantime, keep a sharp eye out for any debris in the water, but more so during the spring and early summer run offs. There are plenty of social Delta boating groups to help spread the word when it comes to large objects seen in your travels. Bay & Delta Yachtsman and the California Delta Chambers Facebook pages are just a few choices. www.facebook.com/BDY1965 & www.facebook.com/ California-Delta-Chambers-and-Visitors-Bureau-166428917257

Stay informed by viewing them often, but also feel free to give a detailed report of where you witnessed the hazard and provide photos if possible. Someone down river will be more than happy to have the heads up. Lastly, make sure to keep up on your boat’s insurance coverages. Knowing completely what is or what is not covered will not only save your wallet but give you piece of mind should you find yourself faced with the above tow vs salvage situation. Thank you again for reading Al, and I look forward to our paths crossing on the water one day soon, I hope.


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