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Do not know why but I'm able to once again access this site. No work done on my computer but I'm grateful to once again get here.
Back on Feb. 17th, takedown posted pic's of his catch on the Green and mentioned some "friends" had dumped their boat.
I was the passenger in the boat and my great friend Frank was on the oars in his boat. The following is a long read, and it describes pretty much what happened that morning. Not much to add except that we are thankful to still be here to inform you of the possibilities that even long time experienced guys can encounter.
Thanks to Jim at The Reel News this article will also appear in the April issue.

Green river drift boat survival
By Larry Moe with input by Frank Urabeck

“What do ya think Lar�? , Frank was asking. I considered the tree slightly under water lying across the river in front of us bank to bank as we approached the narrowing chute. My thoughts raced, “ Water looks over it by a good 6 inches, three boats at least below us, out of sight, should be okay�. “Looks good Frank� I say. “Okay, here we go,� he responds. Fast water, boat slightly askew, and committed. Twenty yards to go. Standing to observe and I am alarmed that the tree is not underwater, but right on the surface. The rapid current creating a ship like bow wave the entire length that had fooled me into believing we could easily float over it. Frank is working the oars in a frantic effort to straighten the boat so we can avoid disaster. To late. The boat hits the tree slightly at an angle. The bow has barely raised over the tree where I'm standing. The swift, strong current turns it parallel to the tree in the fast rushing water. It catches the upstream chime as I turn my head back to Frank’s position. Out of the corner of my eye I see the top gunnel rail suddenly submerge and then in less time then it takes to blink your eyes, I’m thrown in to the water over my head in the Greens strong deep and rushing current.
Damn, its cold. I’m on my back looking up at the surface seeing water, strong current, light, bubbles, hearing the rushing water. Can’t take a breath. Trying to gain control. Kicking, struggling fighting for my life. Quick fear strikes me, “I’m going to drown�. More rushing water, bubbles, I feel my back on the bottom of the river in gravel, “This is it�. My head surfaces, I gain a breath of air, I see the boat ten yards to my right as I am swept with it down stream. Another thought as I fight to stay alive, “Get to the boat to stay afloat�. Swimming as best as can, but gear and hip boots are to heavy. “Where’s Frank�, is my panicked thought. Struggling panicked, yelling for Frank, “Frank, Frank�!! I can't see him, no response. Still trying to get to the boat, but it has disappeared. My boots are weighing me down causing me to float head up thank God. I feel gravel under my feet, and begin kicking in panic to get a foothold. The current has carried me into shallower water, I am at last gaining a foothold in the gravel on the rivers bottom. Still yelling for Frank, still no response. Oh God, where is he? Swimming as best I can in the soaked long johns, blue jeans, hip boots, layered upper clothing and rain gear. With my feet hitting the gravel at times, I'm able to gain better footing and I finally feel my hands hitting gravel in shallow water. Struggling I am able to crawl to the muddy shore. “Frank, Frank, Frank�. I briefly recall seeing him pass by me in his blue floatation coat while I was franticly fighting for my life in mid river. I'm extremely winded, gasping for air and lying half in, half out of the river. Then I hear a moaning from down stream but am unable to see Frank. I yell again. This time Frank responds, in a weakened� I'm Okay�, I assume he’s made it to the bank also. I rejoice internally for our good fortune. WE’ ER ALIVE! I am finally able to pull myself up out of the river and sit for a time gaining my breath. Frank being below me, we yell at each other, making a pact to meet mid way between us, him coming up stream, me going down stream.
We come together, water running from every part of our being. We have unintentionally arrived at the point where the boat now lies upside down just out of reach held in three or four feet of water. We both pause and mentally without saying a word, know that we have just escaped almost certain death by drowning. We speak almost simultaneously, blurting out; “We are Lucky�! We are still in the grasp of catching our breath and communicate in staccato sentences. Frank mentions that I'm bleeding from a spot on my head and he has a small tickle of blood coming from between his eyes. I'm able to stop the bleeding with my soaked hanky. Franks is tiny and of not much importance. Thoughts race, “is it possible to get the boat upright�? Without even asking each other we know it is impossible, and the oars have washed down stream Assessing what our next move is as we rest and recuperate, the decision is to hike out to the river road. Seeing the hillside to the Northwest orients to the direction out to the road. When we are able to breath normally, we choose our path. I lost my glasses in the river, as did Frank, and while seeing clearly is difficult it is not impossible. We start out, in our soaked to the bone clothing, only to find that the way is almost impossibly blocked by downed cottonwood branches, fallen trees of all varieties, underbrush and blackberries grown to great heights, much taller than we. The footing is uneven and soft from former flooding of the area and we stumble and fall at times. “Maybe we should follow the river down stream where it gets closer to the road�, I suggest. Frank says, “ Okay�, so we return the short 40 yards or so that we have just traversed. We decide when arriving back at the boat that it is even harder to continue down river than fighting the brush because of the soft footing along the bank. Then I remember my cell phone. I try it but it is completely dead and unusable, as is Franks. We are about a mile in from the road, making the decision that we have no choice but to beat our way though the brush. I will spare all the details of that almost impossible crossing through all but impenetrable under growth, blackberries and dead falls, but I will write that it would not have been possible to penetrate the terrain we encountered without each other. The mile or so we had to cross, included three side channels that had split off from the main river just above where we lost the boat. One of the channels was only ankle deep but the other two were swift, wide and deep. The first we encountered was about ten to fifteen yards wide. We had with pure luck came to where three trees had fallen completely across. One by itself, and two within 12 to 24 inches of each other. Using fallen branches like wading staffs we had picked up for walking balance we used them in a tripod fashion to cross the two slightly separated fallen trees. The second was the easy one, only ankle deep, but the last was extremely difficult. It was a raging, swift, deep torrent of water with a six-foot or higher bank on the far side with overhanging blackberries the full length. We assessed the almost impossible situation, deciding to look down stream for something better. We came to a wider place with a gravel bar and a small island in the center, with the current running knee deep and at a rate that seemed impossible to wade. On the far side of the small gravel island it was as deep but with much swifter current. We decided against it and returned to one of the fallen trees and tried to pull our way across on our stomach. It was one that was of the largest and high off the water. Frank gave it a go first and found it could be done by lying with arms and legs wrapped around the trunk. He gave it his best college try but wasn't possible to pull his way across because the neoprene waders would not allow movement. We then stopped for breath as we often had and assessed our options. Each time we had stopped in the previous two hours that we had been fighting our way, I had become slightly hypothermic. Frank was concerned about that as was I and we knew in order for me to continue on we had to keep moving. We decided that crossing at the gravel bar was best and we proceeded to do so. Frank made his way across with wading staff to the small island and then with great effort made his way to the six foot bank on the far side and while standing in rushing water started beating back the blackberries with the staff, just as we had been doing for hours. It was not possible to climb up the bank, as it was too high. He cut a foothold into the bank but it crumbled away when stepping into it. He struggled in great effort but was unable to gain the top of the bank. After trying time and time again he suggested I come across and he could perhaps boost me up. I did as he suggested and I was able to gain the top of the bank. I was then able to help him up. With what must have been almost super human effort, with us being in the condition we were, the effort proved successful and we were then only a short, but still brush and blackberry encumbered distance from the road. Reaching the road we were able to catch a ride to our trucks.
I noted the time we upended, when gaining my composure on the bank after the mishap. It was 9:30 AM, we reached the road at 12:30 PM. Three hours to make our way a distance of perhaps a mile
.
This is what I experienced. Frank experienced the same. I know how concerned he was for my survival as I was for his. We both believe we have a bond unlike prior to this, as it taught us many lessons in teamwork, camaraderie, caring, and survival. For a couple of guys approaching their 70’s, it was just short of a miracle that we did not drown or have the heart attacks. Likewise if one of us had perished in the river it is doubtful the other could have made it out before nightfall. Being wet and cold with a nighttime temperature in the 30’s, it would have been possible that the survivor from the capsizing would have not survived the night. It must be noted that a search for us would not have begun until late afternoon, and most likely suspended during the nighttime hours. My bleeding was caused I believe when being thrown under the log and striking my head. Two days after, in addition to three large healing scrapes on my on the side of my head, my scalp turned black and blue.

Where did we go wrong? What should we have done to prevent this? How could we have been better prepared? The story above is offered to prepare you and suggest boating and banking safety preparedness. Take it for what is worth to you, to those who love you, and to those that you love. See the list below for preparedness needs to prevent any of you from having to live out the life threatening boating accident that came close to claiming our lives. Much of this pertains also to bank fishing, we hope our lesson in surviving the life threatening trip will encourage you take precautions and preparedness for any unexpected event.

Ware Coast Guard approved PFD’s. The self-inflating Mustang types are the most comfortable. Expensive, but you must ask yourself what is your life worth? Have flotation cushions in the boat.

River obstacles and conditions.
When approaching any obstacle in the water you have any doubts about, pull over, anchor up and walk down and check it out. Be that fallen trees, boulder patches, river splits, or whatever. If you are uncertain of passage, rope the boat through from the bank.
When encountering obstacles you are not familiar with and in the company of other boats, do not take their advice alone on how to navigate through them until you check those obstacles out for your self. Listen to what they say and anchor up, check it out, wait and watch others and decide if it is the best for you. You know your boat, your limitations if any and then make your decision. More often than not the advice given you will be good direction, but you have to make that decision, again based on your skill and boating ability. Roping though is certainly not an affront to your precious manhood.

Rain gear. A hooded rain jacket helped save me during this experience. I was fast becoming hypothermic. My normal head cover was lost when I was thrown in the river. It began to rain, a cold rain and being hair challenged, (short for an old bald fart), I was loosing body heat and the cold rain didn't help. Luckily my gear has a hood and it saved my bacon, and the escaping body heat through my bald head.

Glasses. If you need them to drive or as an everyday necessity as I do, use a strap around your head to secure them to your face. Also have a spare pair in your car or truck just incase they are lost. I made it when loosing mine during the dunking, as did Frank but seeing as normal as possible would have certainly been a more comforting feeling in determining the best route out to the road.

Hip boots. I don't know what to recommend as I was warring mine. They did fill with water of course but did save me as they weighted my legs and feet down to the bottom where I was able to get a grip (as they say). I had also always said I could kick them off should I ever go in. The thought did enter my mind but in my struggles to live, I didn't try to do that. That was most fortunate as it turned out, as I would have never been able to walk out bare footed. I am going to invest in new lightweight chest waders, and wading boots and keep the hipper's around just for yard work when using the ol’ pressure washer.
I guess I recommend lightweight hip waders if that is what you prefer, not the heavy rubber things I currently have. This also taught me that one cannot “kick off� a pair of waders. I leave them un strapped at my waste but the river current entraps them tightly to your legs.

Garments. If your not layering with good thermal garments underneath I do recommend doing so strongly. I have always worn turtlenecks as the first layer as it traps the body heat that escapes at the neckline. I'll leave it up to the individual for more layering needs, as it is a personal preference.
I did find that the blue jeans were of no help at all and in fact a hindrance. Wet denim cotton is cold, and very heavy. I am in the process of seeking out a lightweight alternative lower extremity outer garment and will be looking into the ski racks at the local ski outlet.

Cell phones. Modern technology is wonderful. Wonderful that is when it works. We were unable to call for help. Our phones would not work because of the dunking they took. The Verizon folks offer a waterproof cell that is well worth the money when needed. If you choose not to buy waterproof, place your phone in a waterproof bag that is available at any scuba dive shop. Put it in an inside pocket that is protected from loss.

Be in touch.
Because our incident happened out of sight of anyone and there were no boats behind us to our knowledge and no one knew we were in dire need of assistance, I recommend that you have contact with someone at least every two or three hours. Having a scheduled call in time would have alerted my wife that we were in some sort of situation and might need help.

Don't change your plans.
Let someone know where you're going for the day. If you change plans or decide to go elsewhere, call and let someone know where you are going.

First aid box. If you don't have one aboard, you should have. A certified Red Cross type with all needs should be stowed in a watertight plastic bag. Hooks are sharp, knives can slip, even a reel burn from a streaking fish could use some help.

Lighten the load Look around and discard “stuff� that is of questionable need in your boat. Often times we have an attitude of, “I may need that sometime�, when in reality it is just adding weight. The lighter the load the more maneuverable the boat is when involved in a must do maneuver.

I'm sure there are more safety ideas, issues and needs. This is not intended to include all there are. It is just a story that is intended to point out the hazards and safety issues we all encounter while enjoying our compulsive need to,� just catch a fish.�
I hesitate in mentioning the monetary loss incurred, as escaping with our life is enough. I will however just mention, that Frank lost his boat, (someone else salvaged it), two or more rods and reels, all his tackle and equipment used in boating rivers. I lost a brand new Lamiglass Certified Pro, nine and half rod, with my favorite 5500C3 reel. I luckily never ware my fishing vest in the boat, and that also floated away with the current. I have been able to recover the vest, with most of the tackle still in it when a friend found it below the dumping. All told the cost is almost immeasurable due to unknowing boat value, tackle value and so on. However the cost of two lives are more than immeasurable so I at least am not concerned about my loss.
Here’s hoping our experience, documented here in this writing, will cause you to consider my/our suggestions.
Tight lines, trophy fish and most of all BE SAFE.
 

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Thank you for sharing your story. Being a new boat owner, I definitely will heed your advice! I know the most important point is that you both are still alive, but it sure would have been nice for your friend to recover his boat. Does he know who "salvaged" it? It would seem only right to return items lost to their rightful owner. Does anyone know what constitutes salvage rights when a vessel is unintentionally abandoned? Isn't there any a time frame that you have to recover it?
 

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Larry,

I read earlier about your little mis-adventure on the Green. Needless to say, I was relieved also to learn that you and Frank are OK. Take care Old Timer!

Sg
 

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Man thats scarry stuff. Thanks for sharing and Im glad you guys made it out ok!
 

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WOW, SO glad to hear that both of ya were ok, This story needs to be submitted to STS, Salmon Steelhead Journal.etc
 

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I'm a little confused about the "salvage" thing. From another incedent albeit in Oregon someone sunk their boat in a river and another party "salvaged" aka stole the boat.

The police got involved and the end result was the boat was returned to the original owner as there are no salvage laws in fresh water. I think the salvagers were lucky not to be charged with theft.

Is this not the case in Washington? I would think you'd be able to get the boat back if you knew who had it? Pretty crappy of the individuals if they are refusing to return it even is salvage laws do apply.
 

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Glad to hear you guy's made it out of there ok. Now that salvage BS is unreal. To take advantage of someone's mishap ------these are the type that would probably bonk a native----NO CLASS!!! :shock:
 

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Thanks for sharing your story. Three hours from dunking to the road? I had a similar, terrifying three hours on the salt last spring, and I couldn't believe that the whole thing only took three hours. It felt like 9!

I'm glad you are ok. And if your boat does turn up somewhere, it still belongs to Frank.
 

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Wow, what an ordeal !! Being close to your age myself, I wonder if I could have made it.. Being down in fast water is nothing new to me and that in itself doesnt scare me near as bad as trying to get to that road. Big thumbs up to you guys..

I wonder if whoever found and took the boat isnt looking around for the owner. Hard for me to believe that our fellow fisherman out there would'nt be. I would let all the tackle shops know what happened and put some posters up, probably get a call right away on it.. Or am I being naive???
 

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Glad you're still around, Kid! Scary stuff - like they say, it isn't if, it's when! Besides, you can't leave this planet 'till that little hot rod coupe of yours is finished.

As for the boat, when the story went around here, someone on here saw it happen and either they or their friend salvaged the boat, and supposedly gave it back to you guys. Not true??

If you can find the thread, I'm sure it was talked about in there. They were one of the next boats to come down and they removed the boat becuase it was supposedly in a hazzardous spot for boats following down the river. If they indeed took the boat out and didn't really offer it back to you, that sort of thing just sucks! I wonder how someone goes fishing with one boat, and comes home with two? Had to call someone to help.

Hope he had it insured.
 

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Tk2
Glad that this is your warning and not your obit.
Great advice for each and everyone of us.
Better to be safe than sorry that we didnt look out for number 1.
Hope that the boat is returned and all, but still glad for you and your friends safety.
 
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