Recovery Of The Century.


There is a boat under there. Cant you see it?

Century Boats From Down Under To A Century Boat From Down Under.. The Ice. A special thanks to Reporter Ned Protexter from Lake Okoboji Iowa for sharing this story. Now, in the speed of the internet news, this story is out there all over Facebook and the interneter.  We did get tidbits of this story about two days ago, but decided amazing photos from New Zealand of warmth and summer were what we all needed to get our juices going. And When do you really get to write a headline, From Down Under To Down Under, and it makes sense? or Recovery Of The Century? Here is the story from Ned.

Back the trailer up..

I want one of these!

COOL, no really cool, so cool it’s cold!

Recovered Wood Boat – Lake Okoboji
Chad Thompson, an ice fisherman, found this boat with his camera a couple years ago. He saw it again this year because the water was very clear (thank you zebra muscles) and got in contact with Okoboji UnderWater Recovery and the Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum and worked a deal where UnderWater Recovery would donate their time and Chad would donate the boat to the Maritime Museum where they would display the boat.


Having had good ice all winter but temperatures now getting well above freezing, they decided to cut a hole in the ice and bring up the sunken boat this weekend. Okoboji UnderWater Recovery is extremely well equipped and normally uses their equipment to snag trucks and ATVs that go through the ice and dive in open water. They cut a hole in the ice with a chainsaw and divers went down 51 feet and slung the boat and brought it up slowly.

Double dog dang

It ran when I sank it.

Just a hit of varnish and ready to go.

There’s that key I lost.



Once it surfaced, a prewar Century Seamaid that had been turned into a utility and most likely used as a work boat appeared. And mud, lots of mud. After a lot of rigging and rerigging, they were able to get the boat on the trailer and hauled off the lake and just in time as the access ice was breaking up due to 60-degree temperatures today.

It floats-ish!

Still amazing lines!

The plan now is that the boat will have the mud washed out and put into the Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum just how it is. The museum already has a Chris Craft 19 foot barrel back that was recovered 25 years ago from the bottom of the lake.

its all there..ish

A special thanks goes out to Chad for finding and donating the boat to the museum, Okoboji UnderWater Recovery for their donation of time and equipment bringing this boat up, and the Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum for providing a place for the public to view this boat.

Wonderful bow

Want a good excuse to come see the new boat as well as the museum? Come to our boat show on July 25th and take it all in at one time. Also, like our club’s Facebook page to get the latest updates on what we have going on.

PHOTOS Ned Protexter

31 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Those guys definitely know what they are doing and have the equipment to get the job done. It would be really cool to know the story of how the boat went down.
    58F and sunny in Michigan today. Boats will be getting wet pretty soon!

  2. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Cool story!

    I know my brain works a little differently than most.

    “The plan now is that the boat will have the mud washed out and put into the Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum …….”

    Why do they wan the mud in the Museum?

    • Ned Protexter
      Ned Protexter says:

      Troy, glad you asked. In the same museum they have old amusement park rides from Arnold’s Park. There is one called the Sugar Bowl that spins. That’s where the mud and the wrestling will go.

      • Troy in ANE
        Troy in ANE says:


        Thanks for the pictures! Very cool recovery!

        A mud wrestling match in the spinning Sugar Bowl would be very entertaining. I wonder if you could get it to Dora for the upcoming events.

  3. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Very cool skills & specialized equipment. Spent 6 years in northern IL. Hope I never again have to live where that ice towing rig would be useful.

    Reminds me of the recovery rig used in watercross.

  4. Ned Protexter
    Ned Protexter says:

    Pictures were mine, risking life and limb out in the ice…….thanks for publishing Matt.

    • Susan
      Susan says:

      Thank you for the pictures I moved a little over three years ago from the Lakes region in Iowa and I live in Idaho so Facebook is kind of my friend so I see things so this is really nice thank you Susan DeMuth

  5. Bob Miklos
    Bob Miklos says:

    The boat looks to be a 1942 Century Sea Maid 171 or 172.
    The 171 is a split cockpits and the 172 has 2 forward cockpits.

  6. Just look at that
    Just look at that says:

    If it’s a sea maid.. Did they make make one with the helm on the port side. All the pictures I find are starboard side helm. The boat that was pulled out has a port side helm?

    • Jay Nitzschke
      Jay Nitzschke says:

      1947 Century Sea Maid – BoatNation Yes they did have port side helm.

    • Ned Protexter
      Ned Protexter says:

      They call it the “Red Ox” so I’m guessing it is. It’s an awesome machine and moves quickly. These guys have it rigged up to be a pulling machine.

  7. 72Hornet
    72Hornet says:

    Thanks Ned! More to come on the history of the boat. Registration numbers were legible and the crew from our local DNR will be researching that aspect. We had a tornado that struck in 1968. Some are wondering if the boat went down at that time. I’m wondering if there were date codes on the battery that was in it. Now the fun begins!
    Matt and the First Lady of WoodyBoater need to be our guests this July for our annual boat show! This area is rich in WoodyBoaterville history with our maritime museum in historic Arnold’s Park!

  8. Ken
    Ken says:

    Great find Chad
    Big Thanks to all that brought it up.
    Bob, Josh and the divers were a sight to watch work

  9. Frank Miklos
    Frank Miklos says:

    Agree with my brother Bob. either a 42 model 172 or 42 model 172. the best way to determine which it was / is would be to get me a measurement from the stern to the shaft hole. the locations were different . The fact that the boat is highly altered before sinking makes it hard to tell . right now I give it 60% as a 171 and 40% as a 172. Due to something I see in one of the photographs. But if I didn’t see that It would be 10% 171 and 90% 172. The thing that points to 171 was was in all 171 s but also in at least 1 172 so that item does not necessarily mean for certain that it is a 171. Shaft hole location will answer what model it is. some things are hard to see on these photos due to size.

  10. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Wow…..what a cool…cold…story….really great adventure and nice snag and save.

    Went BOATING today on the Chesapeake….60 degrees…full moon tonight…..perfect.….and Dora soon.

    John in Va.

  11. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P )
    Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P ) says:

    Nice article, cool pictures!! That must be some thick ice to hold all that equipment. You can tell that its getting warmer because of the water on top of the ice.

  12. George VanDam
    George VanDam says:

    Very cool. I spent my youth in this area. My folks spent summers on Spirit Lake and we spent many weekends going to Okoboji Boats and Wilson Boat Works looking at the Chris Crafts and Centuries there. I have been to the museum several times and am very impressed with the work that they do. All this inspired me to purchase a 1967 Century Resorter and I run it all summer long in Detroit Lakes, MN. Frank Miklos, this would be a good article for the Througbred Magazine!

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