wow. how fast were they going? The boat looks to be a Nordic 28. To toss the occupants? something seems amiss. We have crossed some big waves in our 255 but never felt we were going out. Very happy everyone is ok. this could have been soo much worse. That stretch of the river can be...
We have a Hallett 255. We absolutely love it. Entering from the nose may not be the easiest. We do it on rare occasion. The 255 handles the Havasu chop very well. The deck boats are a different animal versus a V hull. If going that route, we have always admired the Conquest.
I'm 57 and still ski. What kind of ski are you using? An old school 65 is much harder versus a newer ski with more surface area. Also make sure the driver is rolling on the throttle pretty aggressively.
On our 210 we have a top mount that uses one of the drive bolts. It's maybe one inch above the top of the drive. Clears the platform easy as it's not on the direct edge. In other words the drive is the high point when tilted not the shower. It was installed by Hallett when new.