The Party Barge

Every year it happens. Yet another party barge lake boat shows up with a green crew who have never been to Nome before, and they try to make it into a dredge. The result is a tipsy platform that is top heavy and nose heavy such that it rocks too much and plows in the water. The design of these boats make it impractical to mount the sluice box between the pontoons. Some people mount the box on the side, which is a bit clumsy and accentuates the rocking. Most mount the box way up high on the deck, which both takes extra power to lift the material and adds to the top heavy nature of these lake boats. Another modification is to add outrigger pontoons to the sides of these boats. Not only are these pontoons often an expensive afterthought, the boat was not designed to accommodate this upgrade.

Like with all Nome dredges, these boats require a trailer, that is one good thing about these party boats: they either come with a trailer or fit most standard boat trailers. Of course for the 20 minutes twice a year that the boat is moved to and from the water, this is a small convenience at a large cost of a summer of discomfort and more limited operation versus a correctly designed boat.