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Houseboat, stranded for three days in the Delta, finally getting towed to shore

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Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 12:17 pm | Updated: 8:26 am, Sat Apr 23, 2011.

A three-story houseboat stuck for three days at the mouth of the San Joaquin and Mokelumne rivers was finally towed to shore Tuesday evening.

The houseboat, headed from Sacramento to Herman and Helen’s Marina at the western edge of Eight Mile Road, became stuck on Sunday morning, according to U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman Laura Williams. It was due to arrive at the marina in Stockton on Tuesday night, according to marina manager Chuck Spurlock.

Spurlock had hired a company to tow the houseboat to the marina once it got stuck on the bank of the San Joaquin River, but he said he found out that the boat righted itself and was being towed by a tugboat to the marina shortly after 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The houseboat, towed by a tugboat, began its journey to Herman and Helen’s Marina on Sunday because marina officials were looking to purchase it from the corporation that owns the boat, Spurlock said. Spurlock will inspect it for damage and see if it is still worth buying.

It appears that something went wrong with the tugboat — perhaps mechanical failure — on Sunday, causing the tugboat captain to tie the converted barge onto the bank of the San Joaquin River, Spurlock said. During low tide, the barge got stuck.

Coast Guard officials let the houseboat remain on the San Joaquin River bank on Sunday because it didn’t pose any danger to other boats, Williams said.

The boat righted itself on Tuesday and began floating down the San Joaquin River, but then got stuck again, Williams said. The Coast Guard dispatched a 25-foot response boat at about 10:40 a.m. Tuesday.

The bottom floor of the boat was flooded. The water needed to be pumped out and the windows boarded up before the tugboat towed it to Stockton, Spurlock said.

The corporation trying to sell the houseboat has about 14 converted barges, said Spurlock, who didn’t recall the name of the corporation on Tuesday.

There is no pollution threat to the water, and no injuries were reported, according to a Coast Guard news release. The Coast Guard is investigating what caused the houseboat to become stranded.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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  • Kandace Korth posted at 5:21 pm on Thu, Apr 21, 2011.

    Kandace Korth Posts: 2

    Hi Ross: It is now Thursday, April 21 and the structure (it has no power and is not a houseboat) is LOWER in the water than it has been and it is not being towed anywhere. The Coast Guard is not accurate. I am one of the owners of Korth's Pirates Lair Marina where we have a birdseye seat for this debacle.

    It has been there since Tuesday because we monitor the river daily and it showed up Tuesday morning. My harbormaster heard the tug at 5am on the San Joaquin. He did not know what the trouble was until he heard from our local fishermen who spotted it while out fishing.
    We are the ones who reported it (Tuesday morning) to the Coast Guard and KCRA.

  • Ross Farrow posted at 2:48 pm on Wed, Apr 20, 2011.

    Ross Farrow Posts: 104

    I found out this afternoon that the towing was delayed until today. As for whether or not it's a houseboat, that's what the Coast Guard and the manager of Herman and Helen's Marina calls it. After checking again today with the Coast Guard about how long the boat has been stranded, she said, once again, that it was stranded for the first time on Sunday.

    Kandace Korth: What is the basis for your information that it was stranded only since Tuesday 5 a.m.? The Coast Guard says otherwise.

  • Kandace Korth posted at 10:18 am on Wed, Apr 20, 2011.

    Kandace Korth Posts: 2

    As of Wednesday morning, April 20, the structure (it is NOT a houseboat, people) is still listing on the San Joaquin River at the mouth of the Mokelumne. It was not towed to shore. It has only been there since 5am Tuesday morning, not since Sunday.

  • Colette Allen posted at 8:23 am on Wed, Apr 20, 2011.

    Colette Allen Posts: 2

    Agreed, Bob! I learned more about this story on the Today show this morning than from this newspaper yesterday. And what happened to those 5 W's you learn about in Journalism 101?

  • Doug Chaney posted at 4:46 pm on Tue, Apr 19, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    I hope the owners have flood insurance! LOL

  • Bob Smith posted at 2:53 pm on Tue, Apr 19, 2011.

    Bob Smith Posts: 128

    As usual the LNS does a great job of proofreading their content. Read the caption of the photo. Dateline San Joanquin River? Repeated again in the text of the caption. Also, "commercial" is spelled "commerical".

    Come on LNS, subscribers pay a monthly subscription fee to receive a professionally-published product. This is a daily occurrence. Are these reporters still in grade school?



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