2013-08-08 / News

Owner of abandoned boat near Fort Getty found

By Tim Riel

The owner of an abandoned sailboat that ran aground off Fort Getty last week was located by police following a brief rescue search by local authorities.

According to Patrol Officer James Chaves, on Aug. 1 he was dispatched to the shoreline near the Fort Getty pavilion after the park’s gatekeeper notified police of a stranded sailboat 15 feet off shore. Chaves yelled to the boat to see if anyone was aboard, and after hearing no answer, he radioed the police station for backup. He thought the boat – which was just under 30 feet long – was suspicious since the mainsail was up and no one was responding.

Harbormaster Sam Paterson, the local marine unit and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to the area to began a search for an overboard body. Soon after the search began, authorities identified the owner through the boat’s registration. The owner told police his son texted him around 9:20 a.m. saying he had ran the boat aground. The son then abandoned the vessel, taking an inflatable Zodiac Zoom boat to the docks at Dutch Harbor. The son was found by state authorities and the search was canceled. No charges were filed.

The harbormaster said the incident is a “story that needs to be told” so other people don’t duplicate the operator’s actions.

“It was just a case of stupidity,” said Paterson. “To not notify anyone or worry about the boat is baffling. It’s cases like these where I wonder if people should be licensed to operate boats. It was just a stupid thing to do.”

The Providence Journal picked up on the story at 9:30 a.m. that morning.

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