Boat Delivery in Crater Lake? No Problem!
When the boat is too big to go on a
trailer, and the road's too crooked, and the terrain's too rough,
what are you going to do?
Those who remember the 1981 movie, Das Boot,
might conjure up images of a bunch of sweaty guys with machetes,
pushing, pulling, and cursing their way over a difficult portage...
There must be a better way.
Little boats aren't a problem. You just load them on their
little trailers and drag them as close to the water as your car can
go. Bigger boats, though, can pose more-interesting problems. How
about a 50-man, 12,680-pound tour boat?
When Xanterra Parks and Resorts decided that their fleet of
Crater Lake National Park tour boats were getting long in the
tooth, they ordered up three new ones. They're 48 passenger models
(plus a captain and a Ranger) -- a trifle too large for your
average SUV and trailer.
They're perfect for a Chinook, though. The brawny chopper
airlifted the boats one-by-one from a nearby staging area.
No such thing as, 'too much power.'
That Chinook had some
work to do. First of all, the lake is at 7000 feet -- and it's down
in a crater. Secondly, four old boats, in operation since 1972, had
to leave, too. Those boats, also seating 50 and stretching 39 feet
long, were quite similar to the new deliveries (except that they
were wood-hulled, and their power wasn't as modern). The old boats,
just over 11,000 pounds each, have flown before,
occasionally, for major maintenance. They originally got to the
lake on truck, a Xanterra spokeslady told ANN, and were
partially assembled, lakeside.
Columbia Helicopters's Chinook (based in Portland, OR) not only
put the three new boats in the lake Tuesday; the same chopper
removed the four old wooden ones to dry storage, whence they're
soon going up for sale.
"Crater Lake is the deepest and purest lake in North America,"
said Dominie Lenz, general manager of Xanterra's operations in the
park. "It is our goal to provide our visitors with a fabulous view
of the lake knowing they are doing it safely, while preserving the
The new boats provide many state-of-the-art safety features as
well as minimize environmental impact to the lake itself. The
boats, from from Modutech Marine of Tacoma (WA), were designed to
maintain buoyancy. Each hull is molded out of fiberglass, up to an
inch thick, and contains foam-injected chambers. The material used
for the seats and decks is fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP).
Powered by 315 horsepower, 5.7 liter Vortec GM engine blocks
"marinized" by Marine Power, the engines feature electronic fuel
injection and are muffled to minimize noise.
The new boats will begin tours July 27.