Our boat sank in the Catalina channel-Cabo 216

willit float

Member
Jun 7, 2008
410
104
43
South Cal
Name
Em
Boat
20' Livesay Offshore Utility
As already mentioned, if your boat drifts with the transom to the wind then you need a sea anchor of some sort to be able to change the orientation of your drift when needed. This is especially true with notched transoms in rough conditions, as these boaters discovered.

Personally, I favor a notched transom in bad conditions because I can dump a lot of water over that notch very quickly. I operated lifeguard surf rescue boats here in San Diego and Australia, and they all had notched transoms for that very reason. Those little deck scupper holes don't cut it when you have a large volume of water on the deck that needs to go out.

I think many boaters don't even know the purpose of a notched transom or how to take advantage of one in these kinds of emergencies. They don't act quickly enough and then the boat is swamped, or critical equipment has been placed where it is easily compromised, thereby eliminating any chance of self rescue.

The only downside to a notched transom is that you need to be mindful about exposing your ass end to bad weather. My boat will do that if left on its own. That's where the sea anchor comes into play. I keep one on my boat at all times in case my engine fails and the weather gets nasty. It keeps my bow into the weather 100%. I also have it available to slow my drift for bottom fishing, or for those times when I want to keep fishing despite some bad weather.
Excellent info, I have a nice sea anchor with some chain to keep it down. My transom is tall but the scuppers are dink’s.
 

tuna sniffer

SD '63
Jun 16, 2005
462
272
63
La Mesa
Name
Mark
Boat
1 tin 1 glass
Thanks, but you need to reread before you comment. The fish holds drain into the motor well. The bait tank is not 40 gallons. The bait tank does not drain into the bilge nor did I say any of that. The only part that drains into the bilge is the live wells. This boat is NOT one of the original Cabo’s that has the 4 plugs in the transom nor was it ever built that way. this boat did have the batteries and oil tank in the center hatch under the floor. I know we love our Cabo’s and want to defend, I didn’t make this post to bash anyone’s boat. I made this post so hopefully someone doesn’t drowned.

Also, if I had the spare change I would be rebuilding this and fishing it for many years to come as well.
Thanks for posting. I’m sure you knew how much bs you would have to put up with in doing so, but these threads highlight the importance of reviewing emergency procedures and gear and will likely help prevent one of us from having a bad outcome on the water. BTW, that Kodiak tank is 42 gallons. The 32 gal version does not have a standpipe.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Trayscool

Fernando gil

Newbie
Aug 17, 2019
36
6
8
36
Bakersfield
Name
Fernando
Boat
Grady white
holy smokes! Glad everyone made it! Sorry for that experience! Thanks for sharing I just bought a 1980 Grady White and it has open transoms well. Everyone has told me there great boat but now I'm reconsidering it. It's a 240 offshore. I'll attach a picture. I'm currently having the outboard bracket powder coated and bottom of the hull repainted. But my question is do I need to get the transom filled? Or get rid of it
20190804_192321.jpg
Screenshot_20190801-203715_OfferUp.jpg
 
Last edited:

RodRage

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 7, 2017
1,310
1,671
113
57
Surf City Ca.
Name
Huntington Hillbilly
Boat
Chaparral 224 Fisherman
Sink- normally implies it went below surface, that boat swamped foundered and floated bow up , but didnt "sink".
glad everyone is ok, if deck hatches hadent allowed water in/ below would this have been different?
Geeez another fucking school teacher... give the guy a break would ya?
 

Capt. JB

BD’er
Nov 5, 2008
176
57
28
Cerritos, Ca
Name
Josh
Boat
Cabo 216
holy smokes! Glad everyone made it! Sorry for that experience! Thanks for sharing I just bought a 1980 Grady White and it has open transoms well. Everyone has told me there great boat but now I'm reconsidering it. It's a 240 offshore. I'll attach a picture. I'm currently having the outboard bracket powder coated and bottom of the hull repainted. But my question is do I need to get the transom filled? Or get rid of it and find another boat? View attachment 1089080 View attachment 1089081 View attachment 1089081 View attachment 1089080 View attachment 1089081 View attachment 1089080 View attachment 1089081

The intended purpose of the the post was to “inform” and not to discourage. Boating is fun, but everyone needs to be safe and prepared. Every boat (no matter what manufacturer) can either sink, capsize, or become inoperable at sea. It’s up to every individual to take responsibility and make sure everyone makes it home safe.
 

BiggestT

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 8, 2004
11,655
3,708
113
Fullerton
Name
SM
Boat
Salsipuedes & Czech Mate
Who are you???? Let me guess...a naval engineer, or maybe a bigwig at some major boat manufacturer??? Or, maybe you're just talking out of your ass behind a computer desk in the confines of your home sipping on a latte (no offense to you latte drinkers:-))? To make a statement like that suggest you have a vast amount of knowledge on this subject...please, tell everyone what your credentials are in this subject?

And, to the guy (Travis) that lost his boat, this situation sucks on many levels. Emergencies happen and I'm glad everyone is ok. I'm sure you are just "informing" everyone on what happened so that everyone can be as prepared as possible.
Let’s see, Your name is Josh. Josh owns Cabo 216. Josh probably wears a man bun and skinny jeans. We all know a Josh. Enough said.
 

MagBayCo

Promoter
Aug 31, 2019
107
93
28
Bahia Magdalena B.C.S.
Name
Mind Sweeper
Boat
BCS Fleet
Thanks for sharing another scary 2019 boating mishap. Way too many this season.

As Nomad said, a good start would be to keep your only source of movement alive and kicking.

Operator error has killed many a seafarer.

Never wait for the second swell before you react and get the boat moving forward, imho.

That bait tank is too large, too tall and is horribly placed over a deck hatch. That is just stupid, and you know/knew that already.

Batteries below deck / bilge area is bad and many manufacturers are guilty.

When my friend bought that same boat 25 years ago it only took one season to realize they were not the best for offshore fishing excursions.

You only get one chance to survive these mishaps, why would you risk your life in that same vessel ?
 

clevel

Captain in Learning
Jun 4, 2011
876
553
93
Laguna Niguel
Name
Cabo Jack
Boat
Cobia 261
Glad everyone was safe and made it back on land to tell the tale. Many valuable lesson learned from Op’s post. Thanks for sharing and see you back on the water!
 

marlyn

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Dec 18, 2005
7,960
1,245
113
oak hills
Name
mark
Boat
21' skiff and 12' portabote recycled from milk jugs
I love cabos lines like everyone else but no one can argue this is not a known issue and has been for a long time.It seems that there are 1 or 2 every year with similar problems,people are always modding to move weight forward etc etc because it was not a great design in the first place.
 
  • Like
Reactions: repo805

MightyMach

Member
Aug 17, 2007
704
174
43
Corona
Name
Jeff
Boat
Phoenix 29 SFX "Given Inn," 17' Duckhungint boat, "Camo-Toe"
Very scary!

upgrade your bilge pumps and add a Johnson 5000 gph high water pump. Not saying it would have saved you but it wouldn’t have hurt. I think they take a 2” hose. I put 2bin my bilge
 

shinbob

Member
Oct 31, 2011
131
234
43
Pasadena
Name
Shin
Boat
Triton 240 LTS
Im posting this so hopefully it can help you all take a hard look at your boat and maybe re-evaluate how you do things or what you bring when you leave the dock. People die like this, no joke, we have all seen it on the news.
Thanks for being brave enough to post this, very informative. You could have very well saved someones boat, if not their lives, and will never know it.

But as David Lee Roth said, if you stick your head above the crowd, someone will throw rocks.

I bookmark threads like these and re-read them occasionally to remind myself of the hazards out there. Here are two threads that I found particularly useful, any suggestions on others?

https://www.bdoutdoors.com/forums/threads/most-dangerous-offshore-experience.436794/

https://www.bdoutdoors.com/forums/threads/this-may-save-your-life.169783/
 

Trayscool

Captain
Sep 26, 2008
8,036
1,070
113
Long Beach
www.skipjackmafia.com
Name
Travis
Boat
NO BOATS
Thanks for sharing another scary 2019 boating mishap. Way too many this season.

As Nomad said, a good start would be to keep your only source of movement alive and kicking.

Operator error has killed many a seafarer.

Never wait for the second swell before you react and get the boat moving forward, imho.

That bait tank is too large, too tall and is horribly placed over a deck hatch. That is just stupid, and you know/knew that already.

Batteries below deck / bilge area is bad and many manufacturers are guilty.

When my friend bought that same boat 25 years ago it only took one season to realize they were not the best for offshore fishing excursions.

You only get one chance to survive these mishaps, why would you risk your life in that same vessel ?
Thank you for posting and your opinion is very much appreciated given your background.

Operator error is definitely part of the equation here. We are all great boatsman but the decision to fish in that weather with the motor off not a good idea.

Yes, bait tank is too heavy and in a horrible spot and yes we knew that. Didn’t have an effect here, the location, but part of why I posted was for this exact reason. The weight was absolutely a factor and a terrible spot for that bait tank.

I would fish this boat again 100% but make some drastic changes in the setup, all that are noted here.

For a sea anchor, great idea, but this happened to fast that diploying a sea anchor would not have made a difference IMO
 
Last edited:

Trayscool

Captain
Sep 26, 2008
8,036
1,070
113
Long Beach
www.skipjackmafia.com
Name
Travis
Boat
NO BOATS
holy smokes! Glad everyone made it! Sorry for that experience! Thanks for sharing I just bought a 1980 Grady White and it has open transoms well. Everyone has told me there great boat but now I'm reconsidering it. It's a 240 offshore. I'll attach a picture. I'm currently having the outboard bracket powder coated and bottom of the hull repainted. But my question is do I need to get the transom filled? Or get rid of it View attachment 1089081 View attachment 1089080

I would 100% fill that transom with at least something more permanent and secure. We had the same kind of removable board back there and water went right thru it. I don’t want to make anyone too paranoid to fish by this, but triple check your boat and make sure you are safe
 
  • Like
Reactions: repo805

Capt. JB

BD’er
Nov 5, 2008
176
57
28
Cerritos, Ca
Name
Josh
Boat
Cabo 216
Let’s see, Your name is Josh. Josh owns Cabo 216. Josh probably wears a man bun and skinny jeans. We all know a Josh. Enough said.
So, I’m guessing you’re an idiot. Completely wrong on your assumptions, except I do own a Cabo among other boats. There are many professionals on this site, I guess you’re not one of them. Enough said.
 

SEA SEVEN

Member
Feb 2, 2006
466
44
28
San Diego
Name
None
Boat
None
Thread is kinda taking a wrong turn.. but glad your buddies are ok and good advice you providing. I actually almost sunk my old Skipjack 24 and that had a closed transom. Same scenario .. took a big wave over the stern. But I was lucky the boat was already started, probably a reason why I never shut the engines off. Great to know what your boat can and cant handle.
 

sickcat

Silverback
Aug 5, 2003
3,114
1,134
113
63
LA
Name
Kerry
Boat
Yellow spot
Thank you for posting and your opinion is very much appreciated given your background.

Operator error is definitely part of the equation here. We are all great boatsman but the decision to fish in that weather with the motor off not a good idea.

Yes, bait tank is too heavy and in a horrible spot and yes we knew that. Didn’t have an effect here, the location, but part of why I posted was for this exact reason. The weight was absolutely a factor and a terrible spot for that bait tank.

I would fish this boat again 100% but make some drastic changes in the setup, all that are noted here.

For a sea anchor, great idea, but this happened to fast that diploying a sea anchor would not have made a difference IMO
As many others have said great everyone is OK and thank you for sharing. Anytime "we" have a chance to consider safety its a good thing. I hope the insurance co makes you whole.

As far as the sea anchor I think the idea is to deploy it to avoid the first wave coming over. Once the first wave is in the boat the second/third often come pretty quickly.

I would add that hatch covers should have a secure latch and it is usually possible to add a seal to keep out as much water as possible.
 
Jan 30, 2012
59
36
18
Huntington Beach/ California/ U.S.A.
Name
Jake
Boat
Sea Flute
Im posting this so hopefully it can help you all take a hard look at your boat and maybe re-evaluate how you do things or what you bring when you leave the dock. People die like this, no joke, we have all seen it on the news. This happened 3 weeks ago, I was NOT on the boat just to clarify, but my good friend and boat partner was.

Took off early, hit nachos for a full scoop, and were going to head out to the slide to fish tuna. This is not abnormal, we have fished this boat 30+ miles numerous times and have crossed the channel even more, like monthly for the past 3 years we have had the boat.

About 10 miles out they decided it was too rough to make the long haul and get your ass kicked on the way back so fishing off the far rigs was the plan. There was NO small craft, it was 15kts, and a 3-4 swell from what I remember that day.

These boats drift with the ass facing the wind and swell and have an open transom. We had a removable bulkhead there to keep major water coming in, but it is a wet deck and water in the boat was usually no problem. Our boat has a big ass bait tank in the back, a outboard motor, and 2 guys fishing.

A large swell came up from the rear and over the bulkhead and into the cockpit and flooded the deck as well as the fish holds, I assume water poured into the center storage (where the batteries and oil tank are) and started to fill up the bilge area. No problem, turned on the 2-900gph bilge pumps and started to pump the water out. As soon as this happened another one came and more water was on board. Then a 3rd and so on....at this point the boat only going to take on more water from the rear

From what I understand the motor would not start after the 2nd swell onboard as the cowling seal was under water and the ECU was probably fried. They got on the radio and sent out a mayday and were in touch with the coast guard and and started swimming. They were picked up by another fisherman before Vessel assist and LBPD were on site. The boat went down FAST and had it not been for proper communication it could have been MUCH worse. The boat was still pumping water from the bilge pumps when it sank. I actually went down the next day and both pumps still work on the trailer.

The boat went fully under except for about 18" of bow rail sticking up. Vessel assist was able to grab onto the bow rail and get the boat back and pump out enough to get it to float. There was no water intrusion from the hull, thru hulls, etc. This all happened from big swell from the back.

Everyone was safe, boat is back on the trailer, and now the insurance is getting settled. We learned a hard lesson on what it means to be out in a big ass ocean. We all took it way to easy and paid a price that could have ended up way worse. A couple of random thoughts, we learned our lesson and maybe you will too:

-Open transom boats. Cabos have been known to take water from the back, especially older versions with the batteries and weight in the rear. There is a story of a similar incident where the boat turtled and people died, it ended up in a lawsuit. If you have any open transom boat take a hard look and make sure this cant happen to you. I have a friend with a Grady and the same thing happened to him, but his boat didnt sink just took WAY too much water from coming off plane from the surge.
-Bait tanks- we got this boat with the bait tank like this. Too much weight in the rear of the boat for sure AND it was on top of the hatch that opens to the bilge area. Stupid idea to have the bait tank on top of the bilge hatch.
-Fish holds- we have big ass fish holds in the deck that drain to the motor well. We had them plugged so water doesnt fill them up when parked however once water hit the deck they were full, more weight.
- live wells- these were in the back of the boat and drained straight into the bilge. Once water flooded the back all they filled up and drained a ton of water.
- VHF. We have 2 of them on the boat and this saved his ass. One handheld so its not attached to the onboard battery. The batteries worked until the boat went down but if you fry your batteries before you get a call off you are screwed without a handheld. Your cell phone is USELESS on the water.
-Nav. We have 3 navigations on this boat. 2 installed and a handheld, again you need this to call out a distress with the coordinates. If you dont than you may have no idea where you are
-PLB- We did not have one, but we do now. I got it from west marine a week after this happened and will NEVER set foot on a boat without it anymore. $350 can save your life. https://www.westmarine.com/buy/acr-electronics--resqlink-view-personal-locator-beacon--19496173?recordNum=2
-Bilge pumps- we were overdone here and it still sank. If you only have 1 you need to add another one. Redundancy is key here..
-Pay attention- Hindsight is always 20/20 but keep an eagle eye on everything. This could have been me and my 9 yr old son out there and he would never want to fish again after this.

Scary shit, be safe out there....

View attachment 1088605 View attachment 1088619
This is my sons account but I just finished repower ing and rerigging my Cabo 216. If you like I can share w/ you what I did, which parts we chose and who did the work. Almost every one of your observations are on point and have a few suggestions. Just a heads up it’s not cheap but very worth it. We did the boat in HB and boat is now on the way to Hawaii. Reach out to him he’ll give you my number. I dont know how to DM and don’t want to blast my cell on BD
 
  • Like
Reactions: Trayscool

BiggestT

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 8, 2004
11,655
3,708
113
Fullerton
Name
SM
Boat
Salsipuedes & Czech Mate
So, I’m guessing you’re an idiot. Completely wrong on your assumptions, except I do own a Cabo among other boats. There are many professionals on this site, I guess you’re not one of them. Enough said.
With all the posts here acknowledging the design deficiencies of the Cabo 216, it seems that you’re the idiot. I can send an e-Mail to classmate who’s a naval engineering grad from the University of Michigan and he’ll tell you straight up all the design flaws with the Cabo 216. Same with the Blackman 26. After years of experience the smarter ones develop a trained eye, thus I never bought a Cabo 216. Yet you did. :D
 
Last edited:

apogee

My name is Apogee and I am a Squidaholic
Jan 29, 2009
3,046
2,007
113
Bakersfield
Name
Apogee..
Boat
Boston Whaler Outrage 28 (End Game)
Yup, sinking is really a drag. Glad everything went well. This is why I drive a Whaler....Ap