Beached sailboat finally removed from Lighthouse Park

By Brandon Gustafson | Sep 05, 2019
Photo by: Brandon Gustafson This sailboat was beached on the south end of Lighthouse Park for roughly three weeks. The boat was finally removed Aug. 26, after multiple calls, reports, and failed attempts at contacting the vessel’s owner.

As most people in the area know, Lighthouse Park is one of the most desirable destinations in Mukilteo. That is especially true during the summer season.

In addition to Mukilteo’s most visited park, the waters of Possession Sound are popular with boaters during summer months as well.

For a few weeks in August, the sandy and rocky shores of Mukilteo’s waterfront had a not-so-welcome visitor in the form of a sailboat. This sailboat took up a bit of space in our paper over the last three issues of The Beacon in our Police Beat, as well as in this issue.

The Beacon received multiple emails and calls wondering what was going on with the boat, and we included a photo in the Aug. 21 issue with a quote from Crime Prevention Officer Myron Travis, who said, “We are working on having the boat removed. However, there is a legal process that must be adhered to.”

Griffin Ross commented on a photo of the boat on Facebook that the boat’s story warranted a full story.

“The Police Beat on the boat is hilarious. Needs a full article next week!”

Well, here’s the rundown of what happened with the boat, which was removed last week. Those who read the Police Beat each week will likely recognize some of the information.

 

Timeline

 

On Aug. 6, the Coast Guard requested that Mukilteo officers check the beach for a sailboat on the south side of the park.

According to the Mukilteo Police Department, the 24-foot boat came to close to the shore during low tide and paid the price when the boat’s keel – the flat blade that sticks down into the water from the bottom of a sailboat – ran aground.

While beached boats aren’t super common at Lighthouse Park, there wasn’t anything too noteworthy about the incident at first. The boat’s owner told officers he would stay with the vessel until the tide was high enough to free it. But that’s not what happened.

On Aug. 7, multiple officers responded to the area of the boat throughout the day. Per the Police Department’s press logs, the Coast Guard was unable to help move the boat that day, so the owner was put in contact with a salvage company, but chose not to use its services. When officers returned later, the owner said he was waiting for a favorable tide before attempting to move the boat.

The next day, the owner admitted he didn’t attempt to move the boat during high tide the day before. The boat was marked, and an officer had to secure it so it wouldn’t drift away while the owner was gone.

On Aug. 12, the boat moved further down the beach, prompting an officer to try and better secure it.

On Aug. 16, the department attempted to contact the boat’s owner, but had no success. Later that day, the boat became the center of attention for officers again, but for a different reason. A man was attempting to board the boat, and told officers the boat was now his and refused to comply with officers. The man was later transported to Providence Hospital for a mental health evaluation.

Almost a week later on Aug. 22, officers were called to the boat again because of two people at the boat. One of them told officers the boat’s owner had agreed to sell him earlier that day, but per the department’s press logs, no paperwork or money had been exchanged at the time. Officers attempted, once again, to contact the boat’s owner, but, once again, had no success. The owner had reportedly been at the boat earlier that day to retrieve the motor and gas tank in order to sell them since the boat was otherwise going to be "salvaged." This led to the 10-day verbal trespass for the duo.

But finally, after 20 days, the boat was removed from the beach and towed to the Port of Everett Aug. 26.

 

Why the delay?

Assistant Police Chief Glen Koen said the department wanted to move the boat sooner, but, like Travis, said there was a process that needed to play out.

“It requires coordinating with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and permitting,” he said. “We would have loved to move the boat more quickly, but there are set processes in place.”

Koen said that the department was initially trying to assist the boat’s owner, who Koen said was “in a tough spot,” but that he ultimately “flaked out on us.”

The department ended up seizing the boat by using emergency authority due to potential injury risks to Lighthouse Park visitors. The department then hired a private company to tow the boat to the Port of Everett.

“If we hadn’t exercised that emergency authority, we would have had to wait a month,” Koen said. “Since there were aspects that made it an emergency, we got it removed. The delay was we were trying to help the owner, but they fell through.”

The City of Mukilteo paid for the boat’s removal, Koen said, and will have an opportunity to recoup some of those funds.

“The City can pursue compensation for the boat’s removal from the owner, but based on the circumstances, that’s unlikely,” Koen said. “The DNR has a program that we can pursue because we jumped through the appropriate hoops.”

The owner has the ability to appeal the City’s decision to take ownership of the vessel, but Koen said the boat will likely end up in the City’s hands. Then, the boat could be scrapped or sold, which would help with recouping the money spent on getting it off the beach.

 

More comments

Like Ross, other Beacon readers had fun with the boat incident on our Facebook page.

Andrea Nicolayeff, apparently, is in the market for a free boat.

“I joked to my husband the other day, ‘If it's not removed in a reasonable time frame can we just take possession of it?’”

And on Aug. 26, Marianne Anderson got to see the boat finally leaving Mukilteo.

“Just watched the ‘tow-boat’ hauling it away.”

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