Traveling around the bay, one sees a lot of trash floating in the water. Some of it is rather large and include docks, pieces of docks, telephone poles, etc. Having a close encounter with one can ruin your whole day, as it did mine on Sunday.
I had a crew of 4 on board the Panda for a day of chasing Salmon off-shore. We had just left the fuel dock at Emmeryville Marina (24/7 automated fuel dock, so we can get there early) and was cruising towards the gate at about 22 kts. Two people on lookout, both of us missed the 6 ft long 4×8 that was floating just at or under the surface between Angel Island and Alcatraz on a flat calm bay. After the load bang, we immediately powered down and stopped to inspect the Panda for damage. No water coming in, both engines running, both go into gear but the vibrations from the starboard side prevented use of that engine at anything over an idle. We motored back to find the badly dented 4×8 and report the incident to the Coast Guard, who soon after issued a warning regarding the debris (I noticed a second warning about two hours later, after the debris had floated all the way through the gate).
The incident certainly stopped any ideas of leaving the bay in search of Salmon (a trip that would have likely taken us to Pt. Reyes and a bit beyond). The rest of the day was spent limping around on one engine searching for halibut, which didn’t seem to be cooperating with us either.
The Panda went into the yard yesterday where the damage appears to be limited to a bent prop on the starboard side. Lucky this time. Be careful out there.