Petes Story – Day Of The Dredge

Read the first part of Pete’s story here >>

The first picture is of my boat underwater when I returned, with my roof garden and a few remaining plants, bike-wheel and lifebelt, which wasn’t much help!

A few days later, we had a diver plug all holes, door and window reveals. The temperature was minus 4 degrees, with the river frozen the full width across! We hired five 3 and 4″ pumps, made holes through my new twenty-five year guaranteed rubber roof covering and tried to pump out more water than could get in – see photo. Unfortunately, we missed the two funnels for the anchor and did not succeed.


In the marina, depths of ice that were 750mm thick prevented us being able to lift the boat before Christmas. It was New Year and we had made new plans to lift her but the floods came the day before the work was set to take place. We could not get a crane close enough so we had to use inflatable balloons, costing £4,500. Thankfully the boat didn’t roll off the ‘shelf’ into much deeper water alongside the boat.



Lifting took two days due to difficulties with feeding straps under the boat due to substantial depths of silt. Water was pumped out as the balloons raised it and then the devastation could be seen. The photographs show my lounge, bedroom and bathroom and kitchen/wheelhouse. It’s difficult to even tell which way up the photos should be. My brand new, unused bath, sofa, 3 Eberspacher heaters and much more, were victims, as can be seen.

A mammoth task lay ahead, so I booked a trip to Gambia three months ahead, to give me something to look forward to. The insurance assessor was brilliant as it had been such a freak incident. He told me 28 other boats had sunk along that stretch of the River Ouse, nearly all of them due to owners faults such as not turning off seacocks or not greasing the seals. Mine sank purely because of the weight of snow and ice layers that had built up in the freak weather, which weighed the boat down, so that the river was slightly above a waste pipe outlet, which was normally over 100mm above the waterline. I had unknowingly broken the ice with going on and off board, allowing the water to seep in, while I was away for a few days. My engineer should have been working on the sump pump and heating system and would have seen the problem and we could have averted it, but unfortunately the depth of the snow was such that he did not go.

To be continued..


Louis – Hey Pete, thanks for this amazing story. One question came to mind; did the insurance cover the cost of the balloons?

Pete – “Thankfully I was covered by insurance for what I paid before my initial improvements, but unfortunately was about to up it considerably, so I only got a third of what I should have. I wasn’t expecting it to sink, so was just waiting until completion and my renewal! Boohoo! I had to buy it back from the insurers too. Thankfully they only valued it at £1,000 upon lifting. I now keep my insurance value up to date too! But hope it never happens again. I put corks in any low-level holes in winter now, as well as other precautions!”


3 thoughts on “Petes Story – Day Of The Dredge”

  1. Hi there, where can I find out about old boats from the river Ouse, in the early 1980s, my mum, stepdad & 2 sisters lived on a boat moored at the York motor yacht club, the boat was a ex lifeboat as far as I can remember (I was only about 4yrs old) it was a white wooden boat, which had been converted, it used to be moored at the far end of the clubs moorings towards York, my stepdads surname was Winebloom, he is no longer with us, & my mum is suffering with Dementia so can’t find any info about the boat, would just like to show/tell my children a little about my childhood. I hope you might be able to offer me some help. Many thanks William

    1. Hi William, there are a few places that you might be able to find information on or someone who may know. The forum on YBW has thousands of boats, sailors and live aboard and is this most popular one in the UK,

      If that fails you could then try some facebook groups,

      Really hope you find out some information about your past, please let us know if you manage to find a lead and good luck 🙂

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