PORT TOWNSEND — A homemade boat sank after clipping a piling below the Pope Marine pier in Port Townsend on Tuesday afternoon.
Ben Justice, the owner of the 8-foot plywood boat, was the only one aboard and was able to tie the boat off to the end of the pier before it sank completely, according to a news release from East Jefferson Fire-Rescue.
Justice was able to climb up a ladder at the end of the pier and walked away uninjured, if a little wet and cold.
“I just got it pieced together last week, and this was the first time I launched it,” said Justice. “It’s kind of a humiliating first ride.”
According to East Jefferson Fire-Rescue, just after 11 a.m., Justice’s boat failed to navigate a turn as it headed south from the area of the Northwest Maritime Center. The boat clipped the piling and began taking on water.
‘Steering wasn’t there’
“It was a little more horsepower than this boat could handle, and the steering wasn’t there,” said Justice.
Justice was able to secure the boat before it sank completely and, with the help of Port Townsend police and a maritime center employee, was able to haul the boat’s 30-horsepower motor out of the water before a fuel leak became a serious issue. This significantly reduced the weight of the craft.
The boat was then towed to shore, where Justice and his friend Donny Regan hauled it up to a waiting trailer.
The initial collision caused a small hole in the front of the boat, but between it smashing against the dock and trying to remove the motor, it also sustained a large hole along the side.
“It’s a total loss,” said Justice, “but it’s only a $500 boat.”
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@ peninsuladailynews.com.