HANALEI — Wednesday evening, Nancy Williams watched some of the season’s first big waves toss a 24-foot sailing vessel, previously moored in Hanalei Bay, onto the beach.
“It was about 5 p.m. and the place was packed with surfers and beachgoers,” Williams said. “For a while the boat just tossed around and stayed anchored, but a big set came through and the anchor finally gave.”
Once the sailboat’s anchor broke, it was pushed closer to shore with each set, and eventually it landed just east of the Hanalei Pier.
Officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation responded and worked through the night, with the help of a private contractor, to remove the vessel.
“When DOBOR Kauai staff responded to Hanalei Bay last night after receiving the report, it was rocking back and forth on the beach, and flexing; which is a sign that the vessel’s structural integrity was compromised,” said Deborah Ward, spokeswoman for DLNR.
By 7 a.m., the vessel — which had a large hole in its hull — was brought further ashore, crushed, and placed into a roll-off container. Breakdown took about an hour, and the remnants of the sailboat were taken to the Kauai landfill.
“Given its location and the high surf, and weakened condition (of the vessel), the safe and efficient removal to shore for disposal was a necessary action,” Ward said.
DLNR was initially unable to locate the owner of the vessel, but found the owner Thursday morning after a tip from Kauai Police Department.
“(KPD) notified DOBOR staff they located the vessel owner in the hospital, for reasons unrelated to the incident,” Ward said.