Crews Salvaging Capsized Boat

Jan 15, 2013 7:52 PM

A salvage effort is underway on Lake Oroville to recover a capsized houseboat.
"We are going to try and hopefully bring it out as intact as possible," Doug Maxfield, from Big Valley Divers said.”
For the past two days, crews from Big Valley Divers have been working above and below the surface of Lake Oroville to secure a 50-foot houseboat that capsized in the Bidwell Canyon Marina Sunday morning.
But, the recovery isn't a simple process.
"It won't just pop around and float normal, because now insulation and furniture and everything is soaked, and the boat will weigh a lot more when it comes around," Maxfield said.
While dive teams are working to prepare the boat to be turned over by strapping the structure to the base, park rangers are keeping a close eye on the water to make sure they capture any oil or gas that may leak from the engine.
"We've got buoys that are floating around the house boat right now, and those reduce the ability of the petroleum to escape beyond that and we have absorbent buoys inside that will absorb the petroleum products," Ranger Kirk Coon said.
Divers spent much of the day Tuesday working to place airbags under the port side of the boat in hopes of righting it Wednesday.
"Basically as the bags fill under water they are going to be displacing water and take the place of the pontoons and rotating the boat around," Maxfield said.
Crews don't expect to get the boat completely upright, but say they have to get the main structure out of the water so they can avoid hitting cables that are about 15 feet underwater.
"Hopefully tomorrow we'll be heading over to put it on a trailer and it will be out of the lake, safe and sound,” Maxfield said.
Rangers say there aren't any obvious problems that would have caused the boat to capsize, and they will not be able to investigate further until the boat is out of the water.


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