Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


By CVN Staff 

Sunken boat stubborn in coming to surface


January 12, 2012

Mike Smith’s 32-foot sport boat "Lodo" has been for sale for the last few months.

"But I guess that’s not going to happen anymore," Smith said Tuesday, four days after the boat sank to the bottom of the Haines Boat Harbor.

Paul Peters reported the sinking on Friday evening. He arrived at the harbor and went aboard his troller, Three Daughters, moored across from Smith’s boat. He didn’t notice anything amiss when he arrived.

"I went in the (wheel) house, took two screws out of the stove, came back out and I look over and there’s just bubbles and stuff surfacing," Peters said. "It happened in just a matter of minutes."

Smith said he bought the sport boat in 2005 for recreation and to live on while in Juneau. Smith was in Juneau when it sank and came to Haines to help recover the boat. He’s contacted the insurance company, who in turn hired Gregg Bigsby to raise the boat.

Bigsby, Mark Allen, Peters and Peters’ sons, Aaron and Brandon, have been working each day to try to raise and pump out the boat. They were able to raise it above the surface for a short time on Saturday, but had to drop it back in the water when the tide rose.

Over the next few days, weather hampered recovery efforts.

On Wednesday, Bigsby said certified diver Kerry Town was going to try to attach floats to the boat and attempt to raise it again.

"He’s going to be our secret weapon," Bigsby said. "We hope to have it floating by this evening."

Acting harbormaster Joe Parnell said the last time a boat sank in the harbor was about four years ago.

As for how the boat sank, Bigsby said it could be a number of factors - heavy snow load, a failed bilge pump - but no definite cause has been identified.

"There’s a lot of theories, but no clue," Smith said.