Whether sifting through sand, or scrambling over a rocky shore, it's about finding treasures in every day. 

Moving a Boom Boat

When I was on the ferry to Petersburg I saw a boom boat working a log raft. I hadn't seen that in decades. When I was a kid there were boom boats working log rafts all over Southeast Alaska, but as the logging dwindled, so did the bobbing, growling boom boats. 

These utilitarian boats are small, agile, and powerful.

A green and yellow boom boat tied to a log raft. There are cedar, spruce, and hemlock bundles in this log raft.

Harold asked if I wanted to go with while his boom boat was loaded for transport to Hoonah.


He bought the "Christine" at an auction some years ago, and then did major work to make it a working vessel. It was heading to a job tending a log ship, so he made very clear some of the instructions for the people who would be running it. 

Be nice to the boom boat. 

The best way to move items around Southeast Alaska is often by barge, so off we went to meet the barge when it was ready to load. 

I scrambled aboard the tug "Brenda H" to look around and take some pictures. What an immaculate tug boat! Above is the view from the wheelhouse.

Harold hooked up the lift chains, climbed on top of the cab, and stepped across to the barge like he was walking down the street. No biggy.

Harold has been around boats all of his life, and he and his wife are both licensed captains.  

Stepping onto the barge after hooking up the lift gear. 

Lifting the "Christine" onto the barge. 

The forklift didn't even grunt.  

The "Christine" was blocked on a shipping flat and chained down for the trip. It was a process to get everything right and tight. 

See those 'teeth' on the front of the boat? Those are to bite into the logs that the boat pushes.

Chaining the "Christine" to a flat for the voyage. 

Below you can see that it has a big propeller for such a little boat! A 671 Detroit diesel engine powers it. The nozzle around the propeller turns to steer the boat, instead of a rudder that would get knocked off by a log. The cage around the nozzle helps to protect it. 

The "Christine" was delivered to Hoonah and put to work. 

A stern view of the boom boat. 

Skipper Jimmy Dalton on the "Christine". In the background is one of the log rafts he is building. Photo by Harold Medalen.

The logs are put into the water in bundles. The boom boat pushes the bundles into a raft that is surrounded by boom sticks. The boom sticks are large logs that are chained together to make a "pond" or enclosure around the log raft.

Besides building the rafts, the boom boat is used for ship tending. The log rafts have to be delivered to the ship in the proper order for loading, and the bundles have to be in the right place at the right time to be lifted aboard.

Boom boat "Christine" tending log ship "Northern Light". Photo by Harold Medalen

The "Northern Light" sure makes the "Christine" look little!

A big thank-you to Harold for my first ever ride in a boom boat and for photos! 

Thank you, my friends, for checking out the blog today, 

Alaska Beachcomber

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