Summer Adventure, Father-in-Laws "free" 30-foot boat. Good Times.


$50 Site Donor 2023
Jun 14, 2008
In the Garage...
So, I meant to post this sooner. My father-in-law fell into a free 30-foot 1989 Searay 300.
Nothing good is free.
Getting to the point where we could put it in the water is its own story.

Anyway, sometimes when you are in committed relationship you get volunteered (voluntold?)
you are going to help your father-in-law. My wife and sister-in-law were worried about him. Having gone to sea on Submarines using this exact route I really was too. I was the piloting radar operator for years, so I know the area, currents, tides and all the hazards. He is 70 and his buddy who came to help is 72 is overweight, smokes and walks with a limp. I tried to talk them out of it.

He wants to tow the boat to Whidbey Island from Quilcene 60ish miles by water. (See Map), you can't do it on the trailer this boat is on because it requires a triple axle or something better than what it is sitting on. To tow it on the trailer using either a ferry or driving there would take 3 to 4 hours and I think requires a wide load permit. (Greater than 8 feet 6 inches, not sure many private owners follow that)

This is where I come in. His truck will not move this thing or launch it, plus he would have to drive from Whidbey and then the truck would have to get back.

He leaves Whidbey Island 4 am on Thursday with a 17 foot 1968 Rinell powered by a 70 HP Evinrude. He gets to Quilcene at 8am. I meet him there about that time.

We go get said boat, get it to the launch, 3 miles away down a dead-end road to find out the bellows for the outdrives are cracked. He runs into town to get spray foam...fills up the cavities we let it set up and we are going to go for it.

Quilcene is SMALL maybe 200 people. There is an oyster farm by the dock. Everyone comes out to watch. They make a day of it. People remember the boat talk about the wild parties on it and are generally happy to see it may be used again. Pretty exciting happenings in Quilcene. The oyster farm folks want to hook the backhoe up to front of my truck as to make sure I don't get pulled in by this 10,000lbs 30-foot paper weight if it floods. We hooked up but ended up not needing the backhoe. It was not even an issue for my truck. Rated at 13,700 and hill assist start it will just sit on the launch without my foot even on the brake.

Get 11 foot 6-inch-wide boat down 12 foot 6-inch-wide launch with no issue. Boat floats!! No leaks.

Ask father-in-law if his running lights work and if he has enough food gas and water. The answer is maybe. I am not going to argue. I give him 10 extra gallons of fuel (he won't take more) and he sets off at about 3 to 4 knots. That is a 11am.

6:30 PM I get a phone call, he has run out of gas at the Hood Canal Bridge. I drive from my house with my Brother-in-law, and we kayak 15 more gallons to him. He won't take more. We protest, we lose. We also bring him food, water and a portable 12-volt charger.

He makes it across the Puget Sound Traffic separation scheme at Midnight. (I am 99 percent certain he had no running lights) Runs out of gas again. (See Map) We bought him tow/breakdown insurance before the trip. He anchors out. Sleeps on the 30-footer and waits for gas.

Finally makes it to his destination at 7 am Friday Morning. Yes, 27ish hours.

I have two regrets 1. He didn't by a lottery ticket after making it home. 2. I didn't ride along as I had to bring the empty trailer back to my house.

I joked I left the kayaks on so the rear of the truck would float if it sank. Turns out I did end up needing them. :)

The boat? Well, it is up and running and cleaned up well. I suspect it will back on the water this May.

My "adventure" (stupidity?) can be your enjoyment. Here you go.

Hey, I wouldn't believe myself if I didn't have pictures to prove it.









Sounds like he was gonna make this happen no matter what. He'll have some good stories to tell his buddy's when they ask how did the trip go when you brought the boat home?. Remember no good story ever started with, " I was sitting on my couch when ".,,,,
No lies. We used to say in the Navy "No good story every started with I was eating a salad..."
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He didn't think that pulling another boat which is three times the size of his boat would reduce mpg?
Very cool!! Was this boat kept out in the elements for most/all of it's 33yrs? Searays tend to have well built hulls and transoms, but I'm surprised both aren't mush on that beast by now.
Very cool!! Was this boat kept out in the elements for most/all of it's 33yrs? Searays tend to have well built hulls and transoms, but I'm surprised both aren't mush on that beast by now.
Solid, all of it. I couldn't believe it. That was the reason he took it. Like I said it was well loved until gas prices caused him to park it. The guy who owned it lived on the property and did a good job of keep the water out. I know my father-in-law has the out drives fixed and it is running. We moved it back in July. He has since sent it out to be detailed. It came out really nice. I suspect first underway will be in May when I can be there with my 21-foot Seaswirl 2100 DC. I imagine he will have 5000 bucks in it. He can do most of the work himself. Fixing old boats is his thing. The big thing now is getting a proper trailer or this one up to par.
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