A brand new, 85-foot yacht worth at least $10 million capsized when it was being delivered from the builder, Northern Marine Industries to it’s owner, at Fidalgo Marina in Anacortes, Washington.
Five or six crew members employed by the yacht’s builder were putting the boat into shallow waters in Anacortes when it immediately began to tilt.
Police Capt. Lou D’Amelio said the boat was getting launched for the first time around 9 p.m. Sunday when it began to roll onto its side in shallow water. As it began to roll, several people went into the engine room to adjust ballast.
It continued to tilt, and the engine room began to flood. Most of the people on board were rescued, but one man was trapped inside.
Anacortes officer and Navy veteran Scott Ray used an ax to chop out a port hole and rescue the man, D’Amelio said.
Spokesman Wes Fridell of New World Yacht Builders, d.b.a. Northern Marine, which will have to bear the cost of the salvage, tells the Herald that the ship took two and a half years to build. It’s a lot of effort and money wasted: The 85-foot fiberglass yacht is expected to be salvageable, but “everything inside is toast—everything. Nothing’s made to be submerged in salt water.”
He described watching the event unfold as “sickening” and something he’d never seen happen before.
“The boat tilted to one side, and though not unusual, the amount of tilt was a little abnormal, so we paused to collect ourselves and assure that everything was going be right, and as we continued to lower it down, it pitched and that’s when it went over,” said Fridell.
“It just at one point lurched at its cradle. We don’t know exactly why at this point because the cradle had been inspected and is sound. And then we reinspected everything before we proceeded. … Once it floated in the water, it went over. So we do not know the cause at this point,” he said Monday.
No fuel leaked from the yacht. At the time, the yacht had only 120 gallons of diesel in the tank, a small amount for the first launch. It is built to hold about 11,000 gallons, Fridell said.
The Coast Guard has divers getting the fuel out of the boat and hope to have it lifted out of water by Monday night.
Workers are using a crane to maneuver the yacht back to upright position at high tide.
“It’s a careful combination of tipping it just so, so that it will still float. Then the water will rush out, and they’ll slowly tip it up and stabilize it in an upright position,” Fridell said.
He will then determine if the yacht can then be towed for repairs.
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