EVERETT — Drivers traveling west on the U.S. 2 trestle can look north and see a sunken 100-foot fishing boat in the Snohomish River. It’s nearly tipped on its side with equipment falling into the river, and the owner just abandoned ship.
The state seized the Hannah Marie, formerly known as the Midas, on Wednesday and is closing in on bids for a company to get rid of it. The removal process could start Aug. 28, said Troy Wood, manager for the state Department of Natural Resources’ derelict vessels removal program.
On Monday night, the boat’s owner towed it about half a mile upriver to get away from people stealing his equipment, Wood said. The Hannah Marie lodged into a bank on the river at about a 30-degree angle and took on water.
“We watched it last night and thought, ‘Really?’” Jim Baker at Mike’s Performance, a nearby auto shop, said on Tuesday. “We all had to drink our coffee and laugh (the next morning). The Bayliner was trying to pull it, and the tug, it was like a toy, was trying to shove it as far as he could on the beach. The guy went from the frying pan into the fire.”
Baker said items from the boat’s deck began falling into the river on Wednesday.
There are two ways a contractor could take the vessel out of the water — either by re-floating and towing it elsewhere, or using a crane to place it onto a barge, a more expensive option.
Early estimates for the cost of removal are $250,000 to $350,000, Wood said. The cost will narrow down next week, when the agency starts sorting bids.
Boats like the Hannah Marie are why the program asked the Legislature for an additional $2.5 million for its 2019-2021 budget, which it received.
“We wouldn’t be able to do the removal without these funds,” Wood said.
Since trying to move the Hannah Marie, the owner has left it high and dry, Wood said. But he’ll still get a bill.
Richard Cook, the owner, could not be immediately reached for comment. He bought the boat, then known as the Midas, for next to nothing in November 2017. He hoped to fix it up for a trip to Alaska with his father, who spent his career making parts for similar vessels.
Decades before Cook, the boat was a well-known fishing tender, buying fish from boats at sea and selling them at ports in Alaska and Seattle.
Its heyday was in the 1980s, when the boat sold for more than $4 million.
About six years later, its operator fell asleep at the helm, causing the boat to hit a rock, flood, capsize and sink south of Juneau. The crash was responsible for about 300 gallons of diesel fuel spilling into the water and $862,000 in boat damage, according to a U.S. Coast Guard report.
Now, the vessel will become the second taken out of the area by the DNR this summer, and the eighth since 2015.
The DNR worked with the Snohomish County Water Management’s derelict vessel program in July to remove a deteriorating houseboat near the Langus Park boat ramp.
As of July 31, three other derelict boats in the river are being monitored.
“We’re going to keep our eyes on (the Snohomish River),” Wood said. “There are a lot of boats in there that aren’t being taken care of.”