Oceanside police received an emergency call around midnight on March 10. A boat was sinking in the Oceanside Harbor at the L Dock. Officer John Hoover arrived shortly to find a 34-foot Tollycraft boat submerged at slip #20.
Even with three motors underwater, “there was no immediate environmental hazard,” said Hoover. With the ship’s dock lines holding, and no leaking fuel or oil, it was decided to wait until daylight for a salvage operation.
By 5:30 a.m., Oceanside police had assembled its divers and lift bags. The harbor’s maintenance crew stood by with gear to handle hazardous material spillage.
The whole operation took less than two hours to raise and right the boat and get it into dry dock, in spite of a confined boat slip and being surrounded by boats in other slips.
Officer Hoover said it appears that someone had been working on the exhaust system. Once in dry dock, they found a hole in the exhaust port on the port side of the vessel. Water seeped in slowly, eventually flooding and stopping the pump motors from working.
The boat’s owner was insured, luckily for the city, which wants to recoup their costs. Paul Lawrence, the city’s harbor manager, says while California does not require boaters to have insurance, the city does require it for any vessel in a dock slip.
However, two weeks ago the boat had been donated to Boat Angel, a Christian nonprofit that owns Mercy Boats, providing medical aid to impoverished seaside nations.
Butch at the harbor’s Marine Center Boat Repair, where the boat was dry-docked, said the boat had about $40,000 to 60,000 of damage.