Boats wash ashore in Tiburon following storm

March 21, 2011 5:35:41 PM PDT
The weekend storm left behind a swath of damaged boats on the Marin coastline. So far the Coast Guard says there have been no significant oil leaks, but they want the boats out as soon as possible.

Those familiar with this shoreline say they've never seen anything like this. So many boats washed up on rocks and beaches. This was the ripple effect of the furious storm that swept through this area early Sunday morning.

"It was blowing very hard and raining very hard, o hard that it was really hard to stand up and lean into the wind," said boat owner Jim Doody.

In all, about 17 boats broke loose from their anchors in Richardson Bay.

Linda Davis lives on one that was spared, but says it was chaotic.

"I saw boats coming by us left and right, and people. It was dark and the Coast Guard towing boats and another guy, Roger Christian on the anchorage, towing boats left and right," said Davis

Among those that washed ashore on Strawberry Point were four motorboats. Some had to be towed quickly because they posed an environmental threat.

"They had all their household goods pretty much broken out of the boats and all over the rip rap," said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Dave Mosely.

One pleasure craft began leaking fuel.

"When you came around the corner over there, your eyes started burning from the smell of it and it was extremely strong," said Strawberry Pt. visitor Andre Pessis.

The harbor master says it was a minor spill which the Coast Guard cleaned quickly. But they want the boat owners to take their vessels out as soon as possible before they cause any more damage to the environment.

"Most of these vessels are about 30 to 40-foot pleasure craft vessels, so we're probably looking at maybe 100 to 200-gallon potential on each one," said Mosely.

Most, if not all of these boats, were anchor-outs -- boats that were anchored in the bay and not tied to docks.

The harbor master says there are about half a dozen boats still stranded on the docks. Abatement notices have been posted, giving owners a deadline of about three days to remove the boats.

Divers who examined the boats say most of the vessels suffered heavy damage, so much so, that they will probably have to be scrapped.

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