‘It’s a unique challenge’: Officials to demolish washed-up boat after trying to tow it to sea

Long Beach Marine Safety officials are planning on demolishing a 40-foot sailboat that washed up on the Peninsula Thursday afternoon.

The boat came ashore near 64th Place after its two operators lost control of it, resulting in a broken mast and other damage, according to Marine Safety Chief Gonzalo Medina.

The two passengers were rescued and did not sustain any injuries.

However, when rescue boats responded to tow the vessel away, it was already pushed so far ashore that its weight prevented it from being dragged away, Medina said. Rescuers even attempted to tow at higher tide but were still unsuccessful.

A sailboat lies on the beach along the peninsula in Long Beach Monday, September 9, 2019. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

That’s because the sailboat is not only an older design made out of concrete—modern day boats are mostly made of fiberglass—but also because its keel, which is like a fin, has dug into the sand.

Now, Medina says, they will need to work with a demolition company to break it apart in an environmentally safe way to make sure the 40 gallons of diesel fuel and oil aboard—and any other products—do not pollute the ocean.

“It’s a unique challenge,” Medina said.

Seaweed gets tangled in the bow of a sailboat as it lies on the beach along the peninsula in Long Beach Monday, September 9, 2019. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Medina said the demolition will be a coordinated effort that will include the parks and recreation department’s marine division as well as the Coast Guard, which has to approve the action plan.

The demolition itself will also be a challenge because the way the ship landed made it difficult for officials to readily access the fuel and other products beforehand starting the work, so both tasks will be taking place at the same time. The boat also has a unique design, complicating the process, Medina said.

Ultimately, the priority is for the plan to be environmentally sound.

The demolition is scheduled to take place in the next couple of days, but Medina isn’t sure when it will be completed. In the meantime, lifeguards are watching over the vessel to make sure nothing is removed.

A sailboat is coned off by local officials as it lies on the beach along the peninsula in Long Beach Monday, September 9, 2019. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. Growing up as one of six kids in the working-class immigrant suburb of South Gate, she was taught the importance of civic engagement and to show compassion for others. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015. An avid Harry Potter fan, Stephanie now lives in Bixby Knolls with her boyfriend and their bearded dragon, Austin.