Boat wreckage litters Doran Beach
Cleanup has begun of the debris scattering south of Doran Beach from a fishing boat that ran aground Friday.
The flotsam is from the Sea Biscuit, now being smashed to pieces by waves on the beach near Pinnacle Rock.
Volunteers from the Sonoma County chapter of the Surfrider Foundation on Tuesday were pulling debris from the surf line so it would not wash out to sea.
Some of the trash is being packed out in bags up Pinnacle Gulch Trail, but Cea Higgins of Bodega Bay, a Surfrider member, said volunteers are waiting for a low tide on Friday to be able to get to the bulk of the material.
“All foam and plastic is hazardous to sea life. There are oil containers, fuel-soaked pieces, personal items, fishing equipment and buoys,” Higgins said. “There is a lot of foam that goes into a boat, even a wooden boat, and hundreds of pounds of bait in Styrofoam containers. It is not pretty.”
The 35-foot Sea Biscuit ran aground Thursday night or Friday morning near Pinnacle Rock, a stretch of beach just below the Bodega Harbour subdivision and south of the Sonoma County Regional Parks’ Doran Beach.
“They are incredible, we are so grateful to them for what they are doing,” said Caryl Hart, parks director, referring to the Surfrider volunteers.
The boat is owned by the White Sail Trust of Little River and was being operated by Duncan MacLean, according to the Coast Guard.
Reports of the debris Friday morning prompted the Coast Guard to launch a helicopter from its Alameda base and a boat from the station at Bodega Bay, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Second Class Barry Bena.
Bena said that once it was determined the boat operator, Mac-Lean, was on shore and safe, rescuers were called off and Coast Guard personnel drove to where the boat ran ashore.
Blake Juntz of White Sail Trust said the boat was a wooden double-ender fishing boat that was probably 70 to 80 years old and was uninsurable. He said it was being leased to Mac-Lean, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Bena said that MacLean has indicated that he would not take responsibility for the cleanup, which is why Sonoma County volunteers were stepping in.
The stretch of beach is at the far southern end of Doran and is part of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. It is under the oversight of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The beach is blocked from Doran Beach by a large rock that makes it accessible only at low tide and from a steep trail down Pinnacle Gulch.
The boat is a commercial fishing vessel that was once berthed at Spud Point Marina in Bodega harbor, said Noah Webster, marina supervisor. “It is broken into hundreds of little pieces,” Webster said. “It is all pollution; whether it is hazardous, I don’t think so.”
Higgins said she and two other volunteers have been working to get the debris onto an area of the beach to keep it from being washed out to sea.
Carrying it up the hill is difficult, but the low tide Friday will allow them to carry the debris down Doran Beach.
“Until we can get debris out of that location, it is a risk,” Higgins said.