• Bill Holmes

My encounter with the dam!

Seaclutch, boat, yacht, RV
The SeaClutch would even protect your pictures on this boat!

I wasn't too worried at this point. It was an old outboard and everything was analog, so it had to be something mechanical as opposed to a computer problem. I was taught that engines needed three things to run; fuel, air and spark.

So I began to logically go through that list. First I made sure that I had gas and that there was gas getting to the engine. Then I pulled one of the spark plugs and laid it on a piece of metal and gently turned over the motor. The spark plug fired perfectly, so I put it back in place. I then pulled another spark plug to make sure that it was wet with gas - and it was.

Finally I removed and carefully cleaned the carburetor. I had learned from hard experience that you always had tools and carb cleaner! I knew that I had air, spark and fuel, so I pulled the starter cable over and over trying to get the motor to start.


As you can imagine, this all took some time and while I was busily working on the motor I was also drifting down the river with the current. It was only a couple of miles from Augusta to Lock and Dam, and I simultaneously realized that the motor wasn't going to start and that I was rapidly approaching the dam! I gave up on the motor and got out the paddle (another hard lesson) and started paddling for shore! As I came around the last bend of the river, I realized I wasn't going to make it to shore before I hit the dam.

I was just about to jump into the water and swim for shore when I saw the cables that were strung from one shore to the other! I got out a line and tied it to a cleat on the boat and as I drifted under the cable I quickly looped the line around the cable and made it fast to the cleat! At least I wasn't going over the dam!

I just needed to figure out how to get to shore!