By George Miller
On Thursday, a 27′ vintage wooden Chris Craft cruising boat transiting from Ventura to Channel Islands Harbor lost power and ran hard aground on the beach at Oxnard Shores, south of 5th St. It is uncertain why the craft wasn’t anchored properly after problems occurred. People aboard escaped safely to shore.
Eric Laughlin, Public Information Officer for the California Natural Resources Agency- Department of Fish and Wildlife, supplied or confirmed some of the details and photos in this report.
The craft had only been acquired by the new owner a little more than two weeks ago, according to one of our sources. She* had previously been kept in Channel Islands Harbor for years and used only for very local recreation. The twin gasoline engine powered vessel was a potential hazard where she ended up, having an estimated 140 gallons of gasoline, gallons of motor oil and lead acid batteries on board. These were soon removed and disposed of.
The owner lacked the means to salvage the craft, did not have insurance and ceded all rights to her to the state, which opted to “total” and demolish it, taking care to ameliorate any hazardous conditions resulting from the wreck.
Patriot Environmental Services was engaged to do the cleanup. We also saw a truck and personnel working onsite, from Vessel Assist/TowBoat U.S., a nationwide marine towing/assistance service, along with a vehicle from the Fish & Wildlife Dept.
When we arrived at the scene, a stout Caterpillar backhoe was being used to pull the boat up above the high tide line, dismantle and put the pieces into a large dumpster.
State personnel told us that the boat’s owner had been denied Ventura Harbor dockage due to non-payment. Presumably, the craft was being taken back to Channel Islands Harbor when the unfortunate mishap occurred. Laughlin also told us that is unknown if the boat owner will face penalties and that the case is still under investigation.
We saw the vessel at the county public guest dock near Fisherman’s Wharf in Channel Islands Harbor nearly 2 weeks ago. The previous owner was under the impression that the boat was to be used on a lake.
These vintage Chris Craft vessels have beautiful lines, nice mahogany trim and are much sought after by boat enthusiasts/collectors for restoration. But this one was in poor condition and didn’t get the treatment.
UPDATE: A joint response to today’s grounded vessel in Oxnard proved successful. All fuel aboard (approx. 140 gallons gasoline) and other potential pollutants were recovered without incident, and the vessel was dismantled and disposed of by County of Ventura.OSPR response partners U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area, California State Parks, Patriot Environmental Services & TowBoatUS Ventura & Channel Islands all had key roles in the success story.- CA Natural Resources/Dept. of Fish and Wildlife