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View Full Version : How to purposely sink a motorboat en route



Enoise
05-23-2019, 06:37 PM
Hi All,

My character is driving a small motorboat in a river. Now in the middle of the river, she thinks of capsizing the boat. It's somewhat dark, just before dawn, like 4:00 a.m., and there are only three persons in the boat. There's no storm. Is there a way she could capsize the boat with no/very little external intervention? One of the passengers seated close to the stern could help her if help is needed. Any ideas? Thanks.

Bufty
05-23-2019, 10:55 PM
Many questions occur to me story-wise on reading the post -but I remain focused on your specific question- how to capsize, although the caption says 'sink'. There is a big difference but I stick with capsize.

Not sure if it has to be while moving or not.The most obvious to me is to swing wildly from side to side at speed and have the party at the rear throw their weight to the side as well. Risky maneuver to me. Or just all throw their weight to one side when still although not actually certain if that would capsize a decently built boat.

I'm sure some boating enthusiasts will have better advice for you shortly, and some details of the boat and engine size may be helpful. Also, do you mean capsize, or sink? Is it a small river, or a wide one? Is it tidal? Are they at the mouth or inland?

Marissa D
05-24-2019, 12:28 AM
Is she familiar with the river? So could she, say, hit a submerged snag or rock at speed? How desperate is she, i.e. willing to risk injury in the process? Thing is, it's darned hard to flip a motorboat without help.

Enoise
05-24-2019, 10:50 AM
Many questions occur to me story-wise on reading the post -but I remain focused on your specific question- how to capsize, although the caption says 'sink'. There is a big difference but I stick with capsize.

Not sure if it has to be while moving or not.The most obvious to me is to swing wildly from side to side at speed and have the party at the rear throw their weight to the side as well. Risky maneuver to me. Or just all throw their weight to one side when still although not actually certain if that would capsize a decently built boat.

I'm sure some boating enthusiasts will have better advice for you shortly, and some details of the boat and engine size may be helpful. Also, do you mean capsize, or sink? Is it a small river, or a wide one? Is it tidal? Are they at the mouth or inland?

Thanks Buffy. It's meant to happen while moving. I thought of the wild swing or maybe a rocking the boat while it's slow motion, but wasn't sure if these could capsize a boat.

Enoise
05-24-2019, 10:54 AM
Is she familiar with the river? So could she, say, hit a submerged snag or rock at speed? How desperate is she, i.e. willing to risk injury in the process? Thing is, it's darned hard to flip a motorboat without help.

Thanks for the reply Marissa. But although she's willing to risk injury, she's not familiar with the river..

frimble3
05-24-2019, 12:00 PM
Without any other details, I'd go with high speed, then a sudden sharp turn. If the guy in the back was to fling himself against the lower side, that might help. (The boat will tip in the direction that it's turning.)
It might have some added effect if the boat is headed upstream, and it turns across the current - the pressure of the river's flow would push against the higher side, pushing it even higher. There are so many variables: size of boat, shape of hull, etc.

But, high speed and a really sharp turn is probably your best bet.

BlackKnight1974
05-24-2019, 01:03 PM
Hitting a semi-submerged log at a reasonable speed would do it. There was a court case in the UK where a man was sent to prison (after first fleeing to Georgia to avoid jail) for the death of his date. He had allowed her to drive his motorboat up the river Thames at night, above the speed limit and boat capsized after it hit such a log:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-44924244

You could have the character trying to decide what to do, before spotting the log. They could then increase the speed of the boat, all the while hoping no one else had noticed. Then - BAM! Lots of wet people and an upturned boat :)

Cindyt
05-24-2019, 06:37 PM
Pull the seacocks.

Enoise
05-24-2019, 07:13 PM
Thanks everyone. Your suggestions have been very helpful.

Al X.
05-24-2019, 08:52 PM
A submerged object covers the most bases for a 'small motorboat.' An aluminum rowboat with a motor will flip easily if you throw your weight to one side. If the motor is big enough, it can flip with an abrupt maneuver. Your 14 foot Boston Whaler won't flip from weight being thrown to the side, or an abrupt maneuver, but it could if it hit a log. Your 14 foot inflatable boarding craft probably won't flip even if it hits a log. Assuming we are talking about relatively calm water. In rough seas, all bets are off.

frimble3
05-25-2019, 03:08 AM
And choppy waves do a really good job of hiding 'deadheads' - waterlogged logs with just one end still out of the water.