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Old 06-02-2019, 08:34   #1
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Boat sinks near Gig Harbor, WA with one fatality

I live very close and see these boats everyday because it's the main thoroughfare to get into town. In fact I kayak this area of the Puget Sound all the time and have paddled right past these boats. I often wondered why they chose to anchor here because Henderson Bay is known to be very windy. Frequently I have seen this collection of boats being really thrashed by the wind and waves that come through because there is zero protection. One boat washed up just a few months ago. The survivors have left and there is just one boat left now, I guess it's abandoned. Here's the story:
https://keypennews.com/henderson-bay...veaboard-laws/
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:47   #2
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Re: Boat sinks near Gig Harbor, WA with one fatality

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Originally Posted by Sand crab View Post
... I often wondered why they chose to anchor here because Henderson Bay is known to be very windy...
https://keypennews.com/henderson-bay...veaboard-laws/
From the story: "... The seller offered to repair them at his place on the north end of the Key Peninsula, which is what drew the three to Henderson Bay..."
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Old 06-02-2019, 09:03   #3
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Re: Boat sinks near Gig Harbor, WA with one fatality

Right Gord. I didn't know that until the story came out. There has been derelict boats there for a few years though. One washed up/sunk over a year ago and because of the big tide swings you could walk out to it on a low low tide.
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Old 06-02-2019, 09:10   #4
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Re: Boat sinks near Gig Harbor, WA with one fatality

Those guys are REALLY down and out. Life doesn't distribute good luck and bad luck equally. I wish them a turn of luck, and I'm glad I had that beginnings in life that I did.

It seems they must strike those that get to know them a bit as good guys at heart, because they seem to be receiving some random help. They need steady work.
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Old 06-02-2019, 10:09   #5
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Re: Boat sinks near Gig Harbor, WA with one fatality

Yeah, I saw these guys out there when driving by. If I had known the situation I could have offered them a job around the house.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:18   #6
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Re: Boat sinks near Gig Harbor, WA with one fatality

I used ti live aboard in Sausalito and ran tugs there dredging marinas. Lot's of anchor out liveaboards there that would be homeless if they didn't have the boat. Every year several sink. The laws concerning boats makes it nearly impossible to do anything about this. When they sink, it's a huge thing legally to get them back up because they belong to someone and often times there is no paperwork on them anymore so they can't be touched. It's a sad situation.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:19   #7
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Re: Boat sinks near Gig Harbor, WA with one fatality

The people who stole their life jackets and paddles should be prosecuted for criminal manslaughter!!!
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:38   #8
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Re: Boat sinks near Gig Harbor, WA with one fatality

Such a tragic story that didn't have to end this way. I get that homeless people might be tempted to live on a decrepit old boat but the rescuers in this case were also in danger. We always have 2 or 3 abandoned boats in our waterway and it takes a lot of time and effort to get the suthorities to tow them away. One came loose from it's anchor and slamned into our neighbor's dock, damaging it and the boat that was on a lift. THIS is why we do everything we can to pass restrictions against anchoring. MOST boaters don't abuse the privilege but those that don't are a real pain.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:49   #9
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Re: Boat sinks near Gig Harbor, WA with one fatality

I think this was the third boat that sunk there in as many years. One had somehow ended up near the boat ramp last summer. When driving by I saw a smallish barge there with a crane and didn't think much of it because they had been doing lots of work with new power lines. Later on we were having a beer at the world's famous Al's Market in Ollala. They have this really cool back porch right on the seawall and there is that barge going by with the boat on it obviously for disposal. Here in Washington we have agencies that take care of the problem so maybe it's better than Cali.
That boat ramp was the main recent these guys were here. You do have access and there is a little market, restaurants, bars, gas station, and bus service all within a mile. It's a very popular area with a long public beach and I see stuff washed up there all the time including that other boat. The people that took the paddles and life jackets might have thought that it was abandoned so don't be too harsh.
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:18   #10
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Re: Boat sinks near Gig Harbor, WA with one fatality

How far off shore were the boats anchored?
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:25   #11
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Re: Boat sinks near Gig Harbor, WA with one fatality

A very sad story. In addition to work they need to develop some serious boating skills. Sailing in Puget Sound/Salish Sea is very unforgiving. Huge tides, strong currents, reefs, variable wind, cold water, fog, marine traffic, dragging anchors....Not really the place to be a "casual" boater.
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Old 07-02-2019, 13:13   #12
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Re: Boat sinks near Gig Harbor, WA with one fatality

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How far off shore were the boats anchored?

Here's an Earth screenshot from May, 2018. The boat ramp is right where it says Wauna. For perspective the sandspit is about .71 miles from Wauna to the bridge. You can see 4 boats there. The largest one on the left is an oyster work boat and it's still there. You can see the other 3 which are about 200 yards from the shore and 2 of these belonged to those guys. In this pic it is a medium high tide but on a low low tide you can just about walk out to the boats. Because of the almost 18' tide swings here it was quite popular to walk out to a boat that was beached here last summer but it was a little closer in than these. At high tide you couldn't see it. You can access all of the beach area from the road just by climbing down a few boulders so you don't have to use the ramp. To the upper right is the little retail area I was talking about and just before that is the bridge into the lagoon. The current can really flow under that bridge and I guess that was where they really got into trouble. Henderson bay runs towards the southwest for 10 miles or even more if the wind is following the water and that's where most of are winds come from. Windsurfers love it but it sucks for anchoring. The bridge is low and the lagoon is real shallow so that's no good either.
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Old 07-02-2019, 13:48   #13
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Re: Boat sinks near Gig Harbor, WA with one fatality

Edit: I said that was a medium high tide but I should have said it was a medium low tide. When it's real low there is about 100 yards of beach!
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Old 07-02-2019, 16:50   #14
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Re: Boat sinks near Gig Harbor, WA with one fatality

This story could be referring to anywhere up or down the west coast.
To call these people 'sailors' is a bit of a stretch of the imagination. I live in B.C. south of Vancouver & we hear of these "boat people" who are basically street people who happen to have acquired a floating hull on which they can live. Certainly an improvement to living on the street but, as others have mentioned, one needs some knowledge of the sea & its vagaries. The ones we see or hear about around Vancouver perform either minimal or no maintenance on these boats because they do not have the financial wherewithal or sufficient knowledge to do what is required or necessary to maintain a vessel in a sea going condition. They tend to anchor where they do because it is "free", thus relieving them of the burden of paying moorage fees in a marina.
Used to be we would look upon those who choose this lifestyle as 'freedom' type vagabonds or whatever, even wishing we could also cast off the shackles of the "normal" workday, the Rat Race, & responsibility of family life etc. Now, in my very late sober years I see them for what they really are. Freeloaders, who will throw their responsibilities onto the rest of society simply because they can, or because we are a bunch of suckers who allow it to happen.
The fact that a life was lost is tragic but, we all choose the path we tread (sail?) & are responsible for our own actions. It can happen to any one of us if we take foolish risks.
Am I hard hearted? Not a damned bit. I just see this as a tragic death by drowning that did not need to happen. I feel sorry for his relatives &/or family. I wonder did the two survivors learn anything from the loss of their friend, or will they continue their living arrangements as they have been doing?
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:37   #15
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Re: Boat sinks near Gig Harbor, WA with one fatality

[QUOTE=Sand crab;2819492]I live very close and see these boats everyday because it's the main thoroughfare to get into town.

Those thieves who stole there paddles and life jackets are responsible for the death of that man. They wouldn't have been caught out there if they had their paddles. Since they only 30 feet to left to go. Stealing their life jackets is the same as murder ! They should be hunted down and charged with involuntary manslaughter at the very least !
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