Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Deja vu all over again

I came across this article in the New York Times today -- Boats Too Costly to Keep Are Littering Coastlines -- and it reminded me of a case from years ago.
Boat owners are abandoning ship.

They often sandpaper over the names and file off the registry numbers, doing their best to render the boats, and themselves, untraceable. Then they casually ditch the vessels in the middle of busy harbors, beach them at low tide on the banks of creeks or occasionally scuttle them outright.

The bad economy is creating a flotilla of forsaken boats. While there is no national census of abandoned boats, officials in coastal states are worried the problem will only grow worse as unemployment and financial stress continue to rise.
David Streitfeld goes on to tell the story of Brian A. Lewis of Seattle who scuttled his boat by drilling a hole in the hull and then letting it sink in the middle of Puget Sound.

Reminded me of a case run in Manistee in the early part of the SAR season in 1989. One one of the first days after they'd dropped the boat in the water, there was a Mayday call half a dozen miles south of the breakwater. As the UTB bounced along under dark skies, the radar revealed a boat which was about six miles south and heading south matching the UTB's speed. The crew arrived near the reported position and found a man, in an immersion suit, waiting to be rescued.

While the folks in Seattle are environmental nuts, the good folk of Michigan are supporters of the law. Had the boat sunk a mere half a mile off shore, it would have been resting in waters too deep to effect a salvage. As it was, the boat was in fairly shallow water. When she was pulled from the bottom, investigators discovered that all the electronics had been removed from the boat... along with anything else of value.

You'd think people would figure out the need to scuttle boats in really deep water...

Meantime, I'm wondering about the moron who went in the water to wait for rescue by the crew of Station Manistee.

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