Contractors for the state Department of Ecology investigate a sunken sailboat Aug. 20 on the Snohomish River. (Joey Thompson /Herald file)

Contractors for the state Department of Ecology investigate a sunken sailboat Aug. 20 on the Snohomish River. (Joey Thompson /Herald file)

State working to seize sunken sailboat in Snohomish River

Officials say this isn’t the owner’s first derelict vessel, with others in Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island.

EVERETT — The state is acting fast to rid the Snohomish River of another unwanted junk boat.

The state Department of Natural Resource’s Derelict Vessels Removal Program issued a notice on Tuesday to seize a second sunken boat north of the Langus Park boat launch, program manager Troy Wood said.

The owner has until Sept. 30 to take responsibility for the 50-foot sailboat before the state takes custody.

Wood said the owner has been involved with derelict boats in the past: one in Poulsbo and another near Bainbridge Island.

“That’s why we started the custody process as soon as we could,” he said.

To remove the sailboat, contractors are confident they could re-float and tow it out of the river, Wood said. But, a large storm between now and Sept. 30 could force them to use a crane to put it on a barge.

Either method would take about three weeks, Wood said. The project’s cost could be between $60,000 to $100,000.

The DNR has a biennial budget for removing boats, but will work to recover expenses from the owner.

Last week, the state Department of Ecology sent contractors to the sailboat after a sheen formed around it.

Department spokesman Larry Altose said the team from Global Diving and Salvage removed all hazardous materials from the boat, but couldn’t determine the amount of fuel that spilled into the river.

“Even a small amount like that can float out of submerged vents and cover a sizable area of water,” Altose said in an email Wednesday. “That still adds toxic pollution to the water, even when we don’t know the amount or it’s a probably small amount that’s spread out too thin for oil spill cleanup pads to pick up any of it.”

While the DNR waits to take custody of the sailboat, the program is closer to getting rid of another abandoned boat.

The Midas is a 100-foot fishing vessel sunk about half a mile up the river. It’s been stuck in local waters for more than a year. The DNR took custody on Aug. 14 and recently signed a contract with a company that will start the removal process in the next few weeks.

Earlier this summer, a deteriorating houseboat was dismantled and removed from the river.

Two other boats are being monitored by the DNR, but are of low risk to local waters.

Derelict boats can be reported online at the DNR’s website.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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