Morro Bay now has one less boat in its waters after a sunken commercial fishing boat was pulled ashore Thursday afternoon.
The 1970s wooden boat “Lady Maxine” had been at the bottom of the bay since the end of July. Before the sinking, her condition had seriously deteriorated after years of abandonment by her owner, according to Morro Bay Harbor Manager Eric Endersby.
“It was so deteriorated it would never have floated again,” Endersby said.
U.S. Coast Guard officials feared the ship would pollute the bay with the oil and gas still lodged inside when it sank in July, but the pollutants were cleared before real damage could be done. , said the port manager.
Getting the boat out of the water was no easy task.
An independent dive team had attempted to pull the boat out of the water within a month of it sinking, Endersby said, but they didn’t have enough flotation devices to do the job.
So Endersby worked in coordination with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s volunteer dive team to get the boat out of the bay.
The dive team went out Wednesday afternoon to install the flotation devices around the boat, but “ran out of daylight” before they could go any further, Endersby said.
Thursday morning at around 7.15 am, the dive team returned and floated the boat again at the public boat launch for Negranti Construction to arrive mid-morning with the heavy machinery to remove it. The team was guided by the Morro Bay Harbor Patrol throughout the day.
The workers soon discovered that the boat did not slide out of the bay as easily on the launching ramp.
At one point, the thick chains wrapped around the boat used to try to pull it snapped off – causing the small crowd that had gathered to watch to jump into their skins.
After rethinking how to rig the chains and thick cables around the boat and adding a second piece of heavy machinery to accompany the towing crew, the crew finally managed to get the ship out of the bay.
Negranti Construction will return on Friday to destroy the boat, Endersby said.
The engine can be taken to a metal recycling center, and Endersby said the bronze propeller could make art on the lawn – but the rest of the boat is garbage.
The price? Endersby predicts it could cost the port service $ 15,000 out of its operating budget.
“Unfortunately, we’re just going to eat it within our budget. It will fall on us, ”he said. “The owner has no way or means to pay for it. “
Because the boat was moored on private property in the bay, the port department was unable to assert a lien on the boat, Endersby said.
“It’s not really bad, it’s really bad,” he said.