Car Overboard!

Blows’ punt launch, ‘Monterey’, towing the car ferry

During the years of the car ferry service, several incidents took place involving cars overboard, one being a little Chev flat back truck that arrived to board the ferry punt one day with no brakes. The driver instructed his wife to go to the end of the punt with bricks in hand and slide them under the wheels at the appropriate moment in order to stop the vehicle. The car picked up too much speed upon boarding due to the deck on the punt being curved. The lady jumped back in self-preservation letting the car hit the gates. The chain broke allowing the gates to swing open and the car disappeared into the turquoise water. The driver shortly surfaced blurting abuse at his wife and swam ashore.

Another car overboard story is of a man who jumped the ferry queue in haste to avoid waiting in line and drove onto the rear flap just as the punt pulled away. The back wheels of the Vanguard sedan were hanging into the salt water and the car rested on the sills. The punt collected a log anchored in the channel, the jolt dislodged the car and it slipped off the back ramp and quickly sank. The driver managed to swim out of the car and board the punt. The car was hauled up by a crane and later recovered by the punt. The driver took all concerned to court for compensation but failed as police evidence went against him.

The ‘Monterey’, now known as ‘BJ’ will be coming home next month after nearly 50 years of service on Sydney Harbour. Follow BJ’s history making journey from Sydney Harbour to Tuncurry at www.facebook.com/BJ40N

Great Lakes Museum www.greatlakesmuseum

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