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SchoonerMISTRESS 07-18-2007 01:19 PM

Pan Pan - I am in a situation and could use some advice.
Its just over 24 hours now since an approximate 30-foot abandoned sailboat with no name sailed off her anchor and ran into another cement 50 foot sailboat which also has an absentee owner. The two have been doing the tango just 100 yards to the east of MISTRESS and there are several other small sailboats closure to them. Each time the tide changes or a wake comes our way, the two grind and crunch at each other while the rest of us sit by, fenders at the ready in case the first wayward boat takes flight again. The City marina has been made aware, but because neither boat owner pays dingy dockage, no one knows who the owners are. I called Tow Boat US yesterday, because they were the ones that brought the wayward boat here about three months ago when the owner called them because his engine failed. They did not remember which boat I was speaking of, and said once the storm we were dealing with went through, they would come out and check. To date, they have not come by. We called Fish and Wildlife and a report was filed yesterday with the numbers on both boats, but no one will be coming out because there is no danger to wildlife. Florida Marine Patrol I am told, has its boat out of commission and because there is no immediate threat to life and limb, it is not appropriate to call the Coast Guard. Therefore, we all sit here waiting for something more to happen. I have all my fenders on deck and a large metal cutter that was purchased to cut rigging wire should either or both come my way. If we touch the wayward boat, we become responsible for it and man oh man I sure don’t want to be responsible for it. If it hits us, my best guess is the owner sure will not have the money needed for our repairs, considering he has not done any of his own and I have only seen him here twice since it was dropped off. I am also not interested in owning his boat as compensation of damage done to MISTRESS.

What do I do now? Do I just keep sitting here waiting for it to break loose from the other boat? Do I wait until the two of them are loose and call out a Pan Pan to the area? I have made everyone here in the south anchorage aware of what is happening so they can be prepared, but it seems rather silly to me to be not sleeping and watching these two boats dance the crunch tango.

I know that in the cover of darkness, there are all kinds of fun things we could think about doing, but I am hoping for some advice here that will really help those of us in the anchorage. If we set it free the chances it will return in just six hours with the next tide change is a very strong possibility. We are at slack tide with the swing going to happen any minute. Luckily, there has been little or no wind.
Please Help!
I am clueless in St. Augustine.

cruisingdream 07-18-2007 01:35 PM

Save yourself!!!!!!!!!
pull anchor & find another cove until the matter is resolved .
-or- torpedos away

sailormanbigd 07-18-2007 01:40 PM

wow, anticipation. I would call both boat owners, get their take, and some money and use an anchor and skeg off the runaway vessel. Don't know what the legal responsibility would be. How bad is the 30ft shape-i might be interested if you become owner. Been looking for 30-40 foot fixer-upper. I feel for your situation. Good luck, Patrick

cruisingdream 07-18-2007 01:46 PM

Thats another good idea
tie it off to your boat & go for salvage rights

hellosailor 07-18-2007 01:47 PM

CALL THE USCG. I don't know if they are or are not prohibited from responding, but generally they will find a way to respond IF they have any available resources, AND by doing so they can save lives or property--which would include preventing the oil spill and submerged wreck that this situation could easily cause.
If you couch it in those terms--preventing an imminent disaster with immediate threat to an environmental incident--they may be able to tow away both vessels, or at least add anchors to them.

For an overworked, underpaid, harried organization with too few resources, they still manage to go out of their way to outperform the "requirements".

Call 'em. Pitch it to them as preventing etc. as above. If that doesn't work, use the stick: Start down your list again, and at each agency, tell the person on the phone "OK, now what is your name and position please? I'm documenting these calls so we have a record of exactly who is responsible for the damages that are about to happen." If necessary, call the local waterside businesses or civic associations, local ward or other lowest-level political rep, mayor's office, etc. And again remind them--this is like a house on fire, if everyone ignores it, it could spread and there could be more losses and damage to the community (the waterfront).

(I'm hoping the one first call to the USCG does it.)

TrueBlue 07-18-2007 01:54 PM

Be careful what you ask for. That 30 ft abandoned sailboat may have liens and liabilities you may not want to deal with - especially after a collision with the 50 footer.

Salvaging is not worth the risks - IMHO. Unless there is nowhere else to go, or you have responsibilities off that cove's shore, weigh anchor and move on - this is not your fight.

wildcard 07-18-2007 01:56 PM

Call the coast guard, tell them you think you see oil leaking. They will be right out to take care of the situation.

camaraderie 07-18-2007 01:57 PM

HS...good thoughts! I like it. The only thing I would add is to call the local newspaper and tell them the story once you have all those names and agencies documented...they always like stories about government ineptitude!

poopdeckpappy 07-18-2007 02:14 PM

Isn't that a navagational hazard and worthy of a security alert call

SchoonerMISTRESS 07-18-2007 02:16 PM

OK we made it through the last swing and so far so good. I cannot tell a lie, and I know both boats don't have engines therefore no fuel to spill. Sorry, if there was I sure would. About once every two months another motor boat threatens to sink and every authority known to mankind has been called, however, it is always the people here in the anchorage that do something about it. I know the Coast Guard goes above and beyond and for that reason alone I hate to involve them when life is not at stake. I DO NOT WANT TO SALVAGE ANYTHING. Remember, we just spent 6 & 1/2 years redoing MISTRESS. I WANT TO GO SAILING! Besides, it it usually impossible to get clear title.
Here is the other problem. This is a weekly occurrence here in lovely St. Augustine. I wish I was kidding or exaggerating, but we have abandoned boats all over the place. I have 4 anchors down and need to take care of a few more medical things before we can get the heck out. We set these anchors way south of everyone else, but hey, the tide turns and the wind changes, so nothing is certain. If a hurricane should come our way, there is no way we will stay here. While we know we can hold ground, it is all the abandoned boats or liveaboards that go no where and have old chafed gear, no engines, and an inability to know how to take care of their boats that has us worried. I have seen chain down here so long it looks like the kind of chain you would use for a small puppy dog in your backyard. This happens so often here, that none of the authorities will do anything, I know, I have called them all before and am very good at making sure they know I am documenting things, but alas, no results. The newspaper will do a story on it every so often when yet another boat sinks, but still nothing happens. Is St. Augustine the only one with this kind of problem?
PS I sit here fishing knowing I will land the biggest fish of my life and then the wayward boat is going to come my way. That's going to really piss me off.

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