An 18ft cabin cruiser was being launched from the slipway near Boatworks+ when the wheels of the tractor towing it lost their grip on the slippery surface.
Driver and CP Plant Hire owner Colin Pengelley said he had never experienced anything like it in thousands of launches. ‘The tractor wouldn’t stop and was slipping on the wet,’ he said. ‘The wheels locked up and I had to abandon ship.’
He said the slipway had been cleared of weed recently, but the surface was still very slimy.
The vehicle was submerged up to its roof in water, and Mr Pengelley called for help from the States’ divers. Once a tow rope was attached, his son used the company’s recovery truck to pull the tractor out.
Mr Pengelley said it was one of the newer vehicles in his fleet and had seen about 2,500 hours of use, compared to others which had upwards of 10,000.
Although the tractor was ruined, he expected that the engine could be saved. ‘I’ll salvage something, but I expect insurance will write it off,’ he said.