The Fastest Boat At Salton Sea

During my 14 months of mapping-out every inch of Salton Sea’s shoreline I have come across dozens of abandoned boats.  Out of all of these old boats my favorite, by far, is “Godzilla”.

Picture of the speed-boat named Godzilla

Godzilla! On the shore of Salton Sea

“Godzilla” is stranded on the eastern shore of Salton Sea near what used to be the Corvina Estates Mobile Home Park.  Even in its present state, it is obvious that in its day Godzilla was an awesomely fun, and an even more awesomely-fast boat.

Speed boat at Salton Sea

Godzilla today

I have walked by Godzilla several times and each time I wondered about its history. How did it get here? Why would someone leave such a great speed boat here to die? What adventures has it seen?

Last week, by chance, I spoke with Jan Gilson, a resident of Salton Sea Beach.  In our conversation, she just happened to mention “oh, Godzilla was our boat”.  What?!  I had to know more about it!  

Below is Jan’s recollection of Godzilla:

The old adage that the Salton Sea is “God’s Waiting Room” is true, at least for boats.

Before she became Godzilla, this fine piece of marine wonder was ours. She was the fastest boat on any lake, making squinty eyes of those who dared cruising in her. She’s been on many lakes in Southern California: Lake Perris, Lake Elsinore, Buena Vista…but never motored out on the Salton Sea. You really don‘t want to take a fresh water boat in saltwater for obvious reasons.Picture of Godzilla the boat


She was christened Godzilla by our friend Ralph West after she was sold to him in the early 90s. An appropriate name for sure, with her blown Hemi and flat bottom. Godzilla spent the next several years in Ralph’s care, garaged diagonally in his Costa Mesa garage since the boat trailer was just a little too long. Needing more space, she was brought out to his home in Salton Sea Beach to be stored.

The speed-boat Godzilla in storage

Anyone who’s a boat owner knows they need plenty of maintenance. After a short trip back from Black Diamond Road (near the Red Earth Casino) the truck towing her hit the bump on the bridge, disengaging the boat trailer from the truck towing her. The trailer swerved into the dirt median, stopping it dead. Boats do fly! Sadly, they don’t land very well. With help from friends and the CHP, Godzilla was returned to the trailer with a huge hole in her hull and returned to Salton Sea Beach.

No amount of repairs could save her. The motor was sold on Ebay; the hull hauled off by a nearby salvage yard.

We know not how she came to rest on the other side of the sea. We’ll just chalk it up as another Salton Sea enigma.

Jan Gilson

One Comment:

  1. Nice memories. It was good times with Godzilla when I seeing old pics.

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