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Sailboat sinks in Bellingham Bay over weekend, cause unknown

The Bellingham Fire Department fire boat checks on a sunken sailboat off the end of Cornwall Avenue in Bellingham Bay on Monday morning, March 7, 2016.
The Bellingham Fire Department fire boat checks on a sunken sailboat off the end of Cornwall Avenue in Bellingham Bay on Monday morning, March 7, 2016. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

No one was hurt when a double-masted sailboat sank over the weekend in Bellingham Bay.

The boat was anchored at the time it sunk.

Its pulpit and the top part of its masts could be seen sticking out of the water from the end of Cornwall Avenue on Monday, March 7.

Why it went under wasn’t known Monday.

Under the derelict vessel program, DNR has removed more than 580 abandoned or neglected boats from Washington waterways since 2002.

“There was no one on the boat when it sunk,” said Chuck Chavtur, commanding officer for the U.S. Coast Guard in Bellingham.

The boat also didn’t have fuel on it, he said, so there wasn’t a threat of pollution.

The first call about the sinking boat came in shortly after 6:50 a.m. Saturday. The Coast Guard and Bellingham Fire Department responded.

The owner, who wasn’t identified by the Coast Guard, doesn’t have the money to pull the vessel out of the water. So the Coast Guard in Bellingham contacted the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, which has a program to pull boats out of the water when they have been abandoned or when their owners can’t afford to remove them.

DNR couldn’t be reached Monday so it also wasn’t known when the boat might be removed.

More than 580 abandoned or neglected boats have been removed from Washington waterways since the program started in 2002, DNR said on the website for the Derelict Vessel Removal Program.

Abandoned or derelict boats risk public safety as well as the health of marine and fresh waters, including contamination from fuel spills, according to DNR.

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea

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