NEWPORT, Ore. – A grounded boat that ended up on Newport’s South Beach forced three fishermen to swim ashore Saturday afternoon.
One of the boat’s owners says the crew was trying to make its way back into Yaquina Bay for the day, but instead got stuck south of the jetty.
“The crew was coming in from dropping their last load of pots,” said part-owner Mike Shirley. “And they misjudged the jetty and came in on the inside of the south jetty.”
Shirley says the boat, the Nat, turned sideways and started seeping in water. The three crewmembers, including the captain, swam ashore.
“Crew put on their survival suits and got off the boat, absolutely like they should have, and everybody made it onto the beach safe,” Shirley said.
On Sunday, during the low tide, bulldozers dragged the Nat off of the beach and onto the jetty, safer from where it could leak any fuels.
“Our biggest goal is to protect the environment,” Shirley said. “The parts on the boat are replacable. We don’t want to screw up our environment.”
Several agencies helped remove fuel from the boat, and so far, the Coast Guard says there is no pollution that it knows of yet.
The boat is a total loss, but Shirley says the owners are saving parts that are salvageable.
“They’re building a platform for a crane to come in here,” Shirley said.
Crews prepared the surrounding area on Monday for a crane to come onto the jetty to pick up the boat and drop it off at a shipyard across the bay. Despite the loss, the owner says he couldn’t be more grateful for the response he has received from the community.
“This community has been phenomenal,” he said. From the support of the Fishermen’s Wives to the Crab Association from the twenty phone calls I’ve gotten from the other captains willing to help us out in any way…the love is strong in this community and we’re really appreciative.”
A nonprofit, the Fishermen’s Wives, is giving crew members something to help them out while they are out of work.
“They asked me to bring my crew to their meeting tomorrow,” Shirley said. “They’re going to help them out. They have a little bit of money to help them with.”
Something the nonprofit hopes will help the fishermen get by until they are able to find more work.
In the meantime, the Coast Guard is continuing to investigate the cause of the grounding.