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STAYTON T he sudden, tooth-rattling collision nearly threw me out of the boat, which spun wildly, righted itself and continued to slide into a quiet side channel.

We thought it was just another submerged rock, until, within seconds, my feet were drenched by a torrent of water gushing through a fist-sized hole in Jim Martin's aluminum driftboat.

Martin, who lives in Mulino and commutes almost daily this time of year to the North Santiam River, barely missed a cast.

With the help of large river rocks and John Shmilenko of Portland, he hammered the punctured edges smooth, dried the metal with paper towels and . . . voila! Out came the duct tape.

The patch held for several hours (albeit without a bite, other than the one from the submerged steel post).

Duct tape is a new addition to each of my boat boxes. As it turns out, I might be one of the few who have inadvertently left home without it.
most aluminum drift boats have bottoms made with .o85 or better aluminum, they rarely get holes punched in them, and when they do it takes more than duct tape to slow down the leaking :(
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