Storms wash boats ashore at North Island - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Storms wash boats ashore at North Island

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) — Recent storms have tossed boats on to the beach at Naval Station North Island and taxpayers are on the hook for removing them.  

Nearly a dozen vessels are now on the sand near Zuñiga Point causing concerns about safety and the environmental impact. With our last storm coming from the south, the jetty offered no protection and the boats were easily tossed around.  

The beached boats littering the shore at the naval base Coronado are mostly in bad shape.  

"Those boats wash ashore,  they break apart,  they're losing fuel, they're losing oil and whatever other chemicals they may have onboard," said Naval Base Coronado spokeswoman Sandy Demunnik. 

Robert Butler with Towboat US San Diego says Zuñiga Point is pretty much the only place you can moor for free along San Diego's coast. And those who use it tend to do so  because they can't get a permit to moor in San Diego Bay. 

"And a permit means your boat has to run, [have] basic safety equipment, has to be able to stand normal wear and tear of being in the water and not sink on the spot," Butler explained. "Not necessarily great running condition, but running condition." 

The base says at least two of the boats here now  don't even have registration numbers, so they have no idea who owns them. But the boats can't stay on that beach, which means taxpayers will have to cover the bill to get them out of there. And the navy is putting their people at risk to make that happen. 

"These storms are violent and when the vessels hit the shore they create a huge mess," said Demunnik. "We actually have to be very careful with our staff going out there and trying to survey the wreckage. Last year, we had someone injured while trying to identify a vessel washed ashore."  

The Navy also says so far they haven't found any weapons or chemicals on the boats that could pose a threat to the overall safety of those working on the base. 

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