Posted on: January 3rd, 2019
— Shark Week (@SharkWeek) July 27, 2018
So this was quite a challenging stunt for us… we were recreating what happens when you get shipwrecked, and to do that, first we had to find a way to ‘shipwreck’ a boat without causing any environmental damage. Gas and fuel leaks are a common reason for boat explosions so the Big Wave team, led by producer Emma Ross set to, to find a boat. With the help of the Cape Eleuthera Institute and the lovely Camille Taylor from the Bahamas Film Commission we finally ended up sourcing an abandoned 25′ boat from Cat Island, close to where we were filming. With engine removed, and a polish, and paint job we had our boat.
The next challenge was how to pull off a fake explosion. Pyro-technician, Bohdan Bushell from J&M Special Effects in New York and Clifton Fields from Fireworks Unlimited in Nassau rose to the challenge. Steel casings and timers for the explosives were bought in by our boat partners, the Angari Foundation from Florida. Next was how to source gunpowder! A slightly stressful month later, wondering if we would ever get the permits to pull off the stunt, Clifton Fields came out tops, having got approvals from the Bahamas police, coastguard and anti-terrorism squad to transport gunpowder to Cat Island. With gunpowder en-route, safely stored in a sealed, steel container, the stunt was on.
Director Nick Stringer wanted the boat’s batteries to appear to short. Smoke would then trigger our shipwreck ‘victims’, Paul de Gelder and James Glancy to jump into the water. A fake fuel explosion would then blow the boat up, and the boat sink thanks to special holes drilled into its hull by our dive salvage lead, Neil Brock from Bristol Diving Services.
Stunt over, Neil would then deploy lifting bags to resurface the boat and take it back to land. And the end result? Well it worked pretty spectacularly with the only casualty being a drone flown to close the explosion which was knocked out of the sky by the blast. Great job team!
Check out these links-
J&M Special Effects
Fireworks Unlimited Ltd.
Bristol Channel Diving Services
Bahamas Film and Television Commission
Paul de Gelder
Cape Eleuthera Institute