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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Boat capsizes off Northern California; 4 dead, 1 saved - CNN.com

Some time back a person asked for advice on having a fathometer for transiting coastal waters he was not familiar with. Some replies said" you don't need one", some said "You do".

Details in the article are a bit sketchy, however I fished out of Bodega Bay for over 25 years. Overall, it is an excellent well protected entrance. However, the approach that many take can be hazardous. Just to the south of Bodega head is a fairly long shoal with a small island on it. It sounds like they may have been way too close to the shoal, as bodies were recovered 45 yards off of it, & were rolled.

Lots of possibilities, engine dies, line in the prop, or maybe, not watching the fathometer, assuming they had one.

Chart 18643

About 25 years ago, the party boat Mary Jane was knocked down in the same area with 9 lives lost. A safer approach is to enter from the south around the "south " buoy, when big seas are running.

So, If they had & were watching their fathometer, & the boat was operating properly, the fathometer may have saved 4 lives?

Paul T
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Lots of possibilities.it gets shallow there rather quickly.maybe they weren't paying close attention? The thread I mentioned asked whether a Fathometer was necessary for unfamalire costal waters. This post was just a reference to that. Bottom line is that they don't cost much and could possibly save your life.

I don't know if this boat had one, or if it was being watched?

Paul T
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Made a mistake. Earlier I said "go around the south buoy" Should have said "when coming in, keep the south buoy within about 50 yards of your starboard side" It starts to shallow just south of the buoy. I have seen it break there when big seas are running.

Paul T
 

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Made a mistake. Earlier I said "go around the south buoy" Should have said "when coming in, keep the south buoy within about 50 yards of your starboard side" It starts to shallow just south of the buoy. I have seen it break there when big seas are running.

Paul T
Paul, when coming in to Bodega channel from the south, is it best to go just east of a line between Tomales R2 and Bodega Harbor Approach Buoy where the depth seems 60 ft or greater? Looks like that would avoid the 30 ft shallow area. Or, if it's breaking that hard, maybe best to go elsewhere til it calms down?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Paul, when coming in to Bodega channel from the south, is it best to go just east of a line between Tomales R2 and Bodega Harbor Approach Buoy where the depth seems 60 ft or greater? Looks like that would avoid the 30 ft shallow area. Or, if it's breaking that hard, maybe best to go elsewhere til it calms down?
We didn't fish too much down towards Tomales, mostly north. Most of the time we used the "short cut between Bodega Head & Bodega (Guano) Rock.
We watched the weather pretty carefully but once in a while a big sea would come up rather quickly.

Absolutely agree with you on the depth, we always tried to keep at least approximately 60 feet under us when possible. I should have been more specific, we used to drive up to the top of Bodega Head to check out the sea conditions when we thought it may be too rough to go out. That is when I saw the south reef, about 30 feet at its highest spot, IIRC, break, not from being close to it.

Paul T
 

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We didn't fish too much down towards Tomales, mostly north. Most of the time we used the "short cut between Bodega Head & Bodega (Guano) Rock.
We watched the weather pretty carefully but once in a while a big sea would come up rather quickly.

Absolutely agree with you on the depth, we always tried to keep at least approximately 60 feet under us when possible. I should have been more specific, we used to drive up to the top of Bodega Head to check out the sea conditions when we thought it may be too rough to go out. That is when I saw the south reef, about 30 feet at its highest spot, IIRC, break, not from being close to it.

Paul T
Thanks, Paul. There are a lot of reefs like this up on the north coast. I almost got upended in my inflatable once..A wave started breakkng behind me...i saw my passengers' eyes get as big as saucers, looked back and managed to gun it and get out of the way. Sounds like these people weren't quite so lucky. So sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks, Paul. There are a lot of reefs like this up on the north coast. I almost got upended in my inflatable once..A wave started breakkng behind me...i saw my passengers' eyes get as big as saucers, looked back and managed to gun it and get out of the way. Sounds like these people weren't quite so lucky. So sorry.
Oh no, Mr. Bill, pucker time. :D My thought in starting this thread was in response to the person that asked whether he needed a fathometer in unfamiliar costal waters, back east, I think. The replies that basically said "you don't need one" kind of caught my eye. We fished the boat below out of San Francisco. Because we were cheap we didn't have a fathometer or radar. That mistake almost cost us our lives.

Fathometers are not expensive. Not sure if the boat in the article had one, or if they did, it was being watched? As mentioned, lots of possibilities, yes, very sad outcome.

Paul T
 

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...My thought in starting this thread was in response to the person that asked whether he needed a fathometer in unfamiliar costal waters, back east, I think. The replies that basically said "you don't need one" kind of caught my eye. We fished the boat below out of San Francisco. Because we were cheap we didn't have a fathometer or radar. That mistake almost cost us our lives.

Fathometers are not expensive...

Paul T
I agree totally. A fathometer with a hand compass has saved me an number of times when the fog has rolled in during a dive...as in "head south along the the 10 fathom contour until you almost run into the Arena Cove Buoy and then hang a left. "

Looking at the charts helps a lot, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I agree totally. A fathometer with a hand compass has saved me an number of times when the fog has rolled in during a dive...as in "head south along the the 10 fathom contour until you almost run into the Arena Cove Buoy and then hang a left. "

Looking at the charts helps a lot, too.
Now there is GPS. :D

Paul T
 
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