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The missing boat was found in Cal Harbor 1/2 mile out in 30 feet of water. The boat had 18 inches of clearance above the water line and was a small passenger pleasure boat. The Coast Guard said one clean 3 foot wave would have been enough to sink this type of boat in last Saturday's conditions. Check out "www.thetimesonline.com" for details.
 

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But the Coast Guard kept saying that the lake was calm Saturday!
 
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But the Coast Guard kept saying that the lake was calm Saturday!
It very well could have been calm! Lake Michigan is notorious for "Rogue Waves" theres an Indian name for them (that I don't know how to spell) some pronounce it a Say•sh some say Sea•sh wave, it's one lone wave that comes from out of nowhere, There was one that hit the breakwall by Navy Pier years ago that washed all the fisherman on the breakwall into the Lake and they had to be rescued, I believe a few of them drown, thats when they stopped letting guys fish off of the breakwalls. I've seen these wave lots of times out there working the Charter Boat (Judy In Disguise R.I.P.), but only 1-3½ footers. There have been other boats on the lake that were probably lost to this "Rogue Wave" phenomenon, But it takes someones death for it to make the news!
 

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Some more info. on "saches" or "say-sh's" or however they are spelled. They are related to rapid changes in atmospheric pressure. Think of it as pushing on one side of a partially deflated air matress...the other side rises. It's the same with the lake, a high pressure system in Michigan pushes the water down thus creating a wave of water moving away from that system, toward IL and WI. Many times airline pilots flying over the lake see them and call it in.
 

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Fished on the Fox Chain Sat.3-31-02 and the winds were out of the West at over 20 mph. My boat has 45" of bow and the thought of fishing in these waters made me sea sick. I wanted to fish Coho but ended up fishing Crappie..... I'm getting to be a whimp.
 

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Seiche

Short period fluctuations occur in amounts varying from a few inches to several feet and for periods varying from a few minutes to a day, depending on the locality where they occur. These changes, and by oscillations called seiches, which may be caused by one or both of the other two. Sustained winds drive forward a greater volume of surface water than can be carried off by the subsurface return currents, thus raising the water level on the lee shore and lowering it on the windward shore. This effect is more pronounced in bays and at the extremities of the lakes, where the impelled water is concentrated in a small space by converging shores, especially if coupled with a gradually sloping inshore bottom which even further reduces the flow of the lower return currents. Closely spaced high and low barometric pressure centers moving across a lake cause a temporary tilting of the water surface. The amount of this tilting is dependent of the pressure gradient and the speed of the moving centers. Seiche (pronounced saych) is an oscillation that occurs when winds and/or barometric pressure differences causing a fluctuation have diminished. The lake surface is in a tilted condition, and a surge of water takes place from the high area to the low. An imbalance in the opposite direction occurs and causes a return surge. This effect continues, with each successive surge diminished by friction until the seiching action cease.

To make a long story short (I know, I know), a long duration or strong west wind piles the water up along the Michigan shoreline. When the wind stops quickly, the water come back. Warnings are issued.
 

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I saw a major seiche (pronounced Sigh-shh. http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/GG/ASK/seiche.html ) (ain't the internet great?!?) in the early 70's at the Hammond lakefront that left boats hig and dry 100' off the beach. I believe the director of the Hammond marina said that it was calmer near shore, but with waves 3'-4' 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile out. Those are the conditions I saw that afternoon. I heard a charter captain say he had one engine in reverse and one forward to maintain a straight course. Those are the kind of conditions that would doom that boat.
About 5 years ago I called the Coast Guard to see what the lake conditions were, and was told smooth as glass. I live 9 miles south of the lake and I got there 15 minutes later there were 6'-'8 waves and the water was a sandy color. Two guys were taking a boat out of the water and told me that they thought that if they got out a ways, it would be calmer. They said that when they cleared the Whihala launch area, they got between two waves and couldn't see land. That's the kind of logic that gets people in trouble.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Woodbutcher68 on 2002-04-05 18:49 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Woodbutcher68 on 2002-04-05 18:50 ]</font>
 
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I have seen 5 to 7 serious seiches in my 18 years on the lake. They are mainly caused by several days of strong offshore winds that stack the water on the Mich side. The wind stops, and the water sloshes back (just like in a bathtub)and forth. The Lake may look big to us, but it is just another dot of water on this planet. I have seen the lake level rise and fall, 3 feet, within 15 minutes.-------------P.S. Nice copy/paste, amused, where did you find the description ??? (link ???)
 

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That day the boater's were lost in Hammond, I was fishing the Inland steel canal with my dad in a 16 foot aluminum boat. When we launched, the lake was like glass. When we left the canal, there were 4 foot waves, and 20-25 mph gusts. It was terrible. Thank god we had a short run to the launch.

But the lake was calm in the morning!
 

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I knew one of us would get it right. But, I don't think this boat was downed by a seiche because it was found inside the breakwall in Calumet Harbor.
 
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I'm going to pipe in because I fish out of the same boat that went down but ours was made in the eighties. First they had three adult men in this boat and two motors hanging off the back. Now where do you think these guys were standing, could it have been in the back of the boat waiting for a pickup, that’s what most people do when trolling. The wind did pick up and the waves were rocking in the harbor, I was there and when it started to get rough we left right away. We have been in rough stuff once before and a tri-hull does not do well in that crap, it’s like fishing in a bowl. By the time we got in we had about 3 inches of water across the entire bottom of the boat. They made the same mistake we did; we were lucky there were only two guys in our boat and one motor. Any more weight with the water we took on and we would have been done too. LM is a rough lake and can get you before you have a chance to blink an eye.
 

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OK, I READ THE TIMES ON LINE. WHAT LAKE WAS THIS ROBERT NELSON ON THAT HAD 3-5 FOOTERS ANYWHERE INSIDE THE BREAKWALL. I WAS FISHING WHITHIN A QUARTER MILE OF THESE GUYS LIKE ALOT OF YOU, THEN WHY DIDN'T ANY OF US HEAR THEM SCREAM OR SEE THEY'RE FLOATING STUFF COME BY US. WITHOUT BODIES AT THIS POINT, AND PRIOR TO LAST WEEK'S FIRST REPORT, IAM STILL SCEPTICAL OF THE WHOLE SITUATION. I HOPE THEY'RE OK BUT STILL, BLESS THIER FAMILY'S.
 

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Used Hotbot and input "seiche". Picked one of the non-copyrighted ".org" sites. I copy/pasted because the article was really long and "link and find" might be to difficult for some viewers.

I believe "Marc"s view is closest to what happened. Tri-hulls are ultra stable on calm water but you need a deep-V to get you thru steep waves. 3 hulls made of fiberglass, 300+lbs of motors, misc. stuff, 3 adults and no floatation. Waves over the stern could have sent that boat under in a heartbeat. Add cold water and there wouldn't have been much yelling, if any. I'm appreciating my "class 5" more and more. Auto inflate, whistle and strobe. I need all the help I can get.
 
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Thanks for the info amused. I'll try the method you described for other things. You really did look like a genius, so I knew something was fishy. Hehehehehe :)20 :)20 :)20
 

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rougue wave

I've been fishing and boating Lake Michigan since the mid 60's and still do and rogue waves are real. We were fishing 1/2 mile off shore in late May and had a 6 inch chop on the water. 75 air temp and bright sunny skies. I saw a wave kickup off the shoreline and head our way and turned my boat bow toward it. My friend started reeling in and then the first wave it. About a six footer, coast guard figured it was doing better than 25 PMH. It ripped through the boat ripping the seats right out of the floor and tossed the a solid metal down rigger right over the side. We were instantly in ankle deep water inside the boat. The second wave tore the radio off the dash and busted rod holders off mounts, etc. The third wave put us under water. The time between seeing the first wave and the third wave was under 90 seconds. Our bilge pump outlet was under water and the motor died as it was under. My boat floated level with just the windshield out of the water. There were 4 other boats in the area and we shot flares that went to their position and watched them sink right over them. No one responded. We called the coast guard and marina on my cell phone and 1 hour 15 minutes later we were found. We tore the top off a cooler and tried to bail the boat out enough to get the bilge pump opening above water. The small waves just kept putting the water in faster than we could
bail. With a water temperature in the low 40's and us soaked and standing in waist deep water my friend was delerious and unable to stand as I shot our last flare at the coast guard boat approaching. They told me without the flare they would not have seen us. They said at that point and the water temp they expected to find us dead. 50 degrees 50 minutes is their rule of thumb. We both lost over 15 # in that short time and required hospitalization. They had to use the electric paddles on me a couple of times inthe emergency room and I spent 9 hours in there. Our bodies were completely depleated of electrolytes which have something to do with heart function.
I never go out without an extra length of bilge pump hose to connect and have a 3 1/2 horse electric motor on the bow. You guys going out in small boats be aware. jb
 

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What size boat were you in ?
any sugestions what size boat for lake michigan is considered safe ,will be shoping for bigger boat next year want to know what is good what is not .right now i have 17 footer deep V.
any help will be apriciated .
 

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Got a message saying the mail didn't go through, so there's three posts.
 

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Depending on conditions and the operators experience, there is no "safe" size. I use an 18 foot deep-vee and haven't had a problem. Make sure you watch the weather and have all the safety equipment on board. Use all the common sense you have too. If you don't feel comfortable going out, then don't.
Remember the Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior?
 

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Ooops
 
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