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Need advice: Is Drifting without power safe outside?? (Off Fire Island Inlet)

711 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Cowbass
Hey Guys, Relatively new to boating/fishing and loving the heck out of it/can't get enough.
Want to get outside to catch a doormat (or at least a keeper we can eat!) before the season closes. I have a 17 foot Whaler Montauk with a 90 hp. I took her directly south of the fire island inlet last friday into about 50 feet of water, just to try it out, I would say there was about a 3-4 foot swell that was fun to operate in, she is very seaworthy for her size and the engine although sometimes a little cranky when it starts (sometimes it takes a few tries) has been running like a champ once it gets going. My it safe to turn the motor off to drift for fluke in the ocean? (I have been doing this inside)
I read an article that you can suddenly get hit with the wakes of ships from miles away and that these wakes are huge and can swamp a smaller boat like mine. I'm thinking that if I already had her running, I could turn into this wave and drive over it instead of getting pooped over the transom. I took a large wave/wake over the transom near the channel while in the shallows by sexton island off ocean beach a few weeks ago. I had about 6 inches of water from midship to the stern inside the boat and the bilge pump got rid of it pretty quickly, my concern is that this could happen in a much bigger way in the ocean and be a problem. It is much more pleasant to drift/fish without the motor running, but is it safe in a boat my size???
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I have a 17' Sea Ox I ran out of Montauk years back. Broached rips and waves in many directions. I always turned it off but sometimes started it up and pointed my bow in the proper direction when heading into the rips. Unless your under power, the boat will turn and rotate any which way it wants. Most times we were safe but once the engine OB got hit pretty good and shorted out a wire rendering it useless.

I'd say if it's calm outside, turn it off and keep a watch out for freighters and large vessels coming in your direction. If you have your doubts about conditions or engine reliability, stay inside the bay or closer to home.

P.S. Good luck with it. The 17' Montauk's a classic. I'm sure somebody will shine in first hand with that boat and similar concerns.
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