More than two months after a fishing boat washed ashore during a rough storm at Avila Beach in February, the vessel has been removed and Port San Luis is footing the bill.
The Saturnia, the beached boat owned by Steven Snyder, was destroyed Wednesday and removed in chunks from the sand near Port San Luis.
“They removed the top structures first, then they were probably scooping out sand that was inside and taking out the rest of the boat,” explained Port San Luis Harbor Manager Andrea Lueker. “Then, very importantly, cleaning off the beach of any debris that was still there.”
According to Lueker, the nearly century-old boat was too badly damaged to be salvaged so it was broken apart by Viola Construction starting at 8 a.m.
The Port funded the removal at a cost of $30,000 from reserve funds.
“If there are recyclable portions of the boat, they will be recycled,” Lueker said. “There may be some salvage value in some of the metals, then the rest of the vessel will likely go to the landfill.”
While Lueker and other Port San Luis staff were happy to see the vessel finally removed, others who thought of the beached boat as a sort of landmark were crestfallen.
“I thought it was a good location for it to be left alone as is,” said Matty Miller, a bartender at Mersea’s restaurant. “Today it was really sad pulling up and seeing the crane smash it to pieces.”
Miller, who is a member of a local band, said he’d like to have filmed a music video on the boat.
He’s not the only beachgoer to find photographic value in the vessel. According to Lueker, people frequently stopped to take photos with the boat since it beached in February.
“It got to be that people kind of enjoyed seeing it on the beach because it’s a very unique vessel from the 1920s. We had a few people here with ‘save the boat’ signs this morning but I think overall, for the public’s enjoyment, it will be nice to have it off the beach,” Lueker said.
“It was doing no harm sitting there,” Miller said.
By noon, the remains of the boat were being dug out from the sand.
Lueker said most of the liquids on board, oil and other fuels, were removed the day it crashed on the beach, so there was no real concern for that kind of a mess.
The owner of the boat was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.