Controversial Boat Runs Aground

Last month, I posted a story about a boat off Saugatuck Shores.

Some “06880” readers thought its condition made it an eyesore. Some called it “abandoned.”

Other readers defended it as a legitimate, seaworthy vessel with every right to be there, and defended its owner. He became part of the comments too.

When the back-and-forth became particularly nasty, I pulled the post.

The controversy is now moot. This morning, the boat ran aground off Harbor Road.

(Photo/Joelle Malec)

140 responses to “Controversial Boat Runs Aground

  1. Adrian J Little

    So now this becomes the Town’s problem to re-mediate – at taxpayer expense.

  2. Wow, how did this happen? Shame, beautiful boat…
    How long ago was this bad news?

  3. Can it be saved?

  4. Sharon Paulsen


    This looks like the type of damage one might encounter after a hurricane!

    Wonder if some of those recent thunderstorms were the culprit?

    Such a shame.

  5. “Ran” aground? I don’t think so. Cut loose, maybe? That said, how does this change anything? She’s aground on a sandy beach, And not the only one, apparently. What’s the big deal? Owner hauls her off (maybe on the next tide) and puts her back on the mooring, I would hope with a little help from his friends. And maybe an investigation into who slipped the mooring to begin with. I would be looking for vandalism here.

    • The weather’s been wild out there today. At least three boats along Harbor Road. So any “controversy” aside, Mother Nature appears to be the culprit for the current situation.

  6. Dottie Cocotas

    Didn’t think of vandalism!

  7. Robbie Guimond

    Sadly this boat was ” removed” from the mouth of the river where it was legally and more important safely moored. The reason ? the river was too crowded.. with all the rowers, paddlers and kayakers . this is ridiculous and sad at the same time. This boat weathered many a storm in its previous anchorage but we get a little east blow and this is the result. shame on who ever was responsible for booting her from the river.

    • Someone suggests it was vandalism, without any proof other than the imagination, and therefore it must be so. Now we even have an imaginary motive….
      Fun to watch the story write itself…

    • Werner Liepolt

      This doesn’t seem to be an honest representation of the facts. I understand that owners of houses on the east bank of the river overlooking the old Chipper B mooring complained. I also understand that the harbor master orchestrated the move.

      Rowers, kayakers, and paddle boarders are bringing the recreational use of the river to life! There are more Westporters on the river today than ever before.

      • I love the new users but not at the expense of safe mooring options IN the river. Ed’s boat was fine in the river, safe and sound. Even the Hinkley up river looked nice and left plenty of room for other users, but it seems some thing its to crowded. hence all moorings being revoked..

        • New? The rowers have been on the river for decades. Kayakers and paddleboarders for almost as long.
          Nothing wrong with power boats but there’s not much exercise involved.
          Plus to the point of this post… do you have evidence as to who complained?
          Also what do you think of the large potentially lethal shaft of the mushroom anchor Chipper B left in the river?

          • Robbie Guimond

            the mass influx of paddle boarders is only been a few year as well as kayakers,
            the “downunder” has done a wonderful job capitalizing on the new trends popularity. im not suggesting any one activity has preference but I think the lack of moorings in the river is a mistake.

        • Its not too crowded. Its the rowers/kayakers/SUPs/boat club boats that have no regard for navigation rules or respect for others. I got thrown off a dock by a rowing club power boat due to an enormous wake they threw in a no wake zone. I had scratches to my boats because they do it all the time. These groups do not understand that power boats are limited in their ability to navigate by how much water is under them and they need to be able to navigate the channel or can easily run aground. There is always PLENTY of space for the rowers/kayakers/SUPs because they don’t need much water under neath. I think its perfectly reasonable and safe to have moorings on the river itself as there have been for years and years.

  8. It just makes me sad that this happened

  9. Elizabeth Thibault

    Most importantly, before we grind any of the axes that everyone seems to want to sharpen, is the owner OK?

  10. I don’t think this was a result of the blow. More likely that was just cover, although I see that the skiff higher up was an apparent victim as well. Could also be part of the cover. Is it being investigated?

  11. Adrian J Little

    Why the tone – this thing is a wreck, not a beautiful boat by anyone’s stretched imagination. The residents of Harbor Road will be the first ones rightfully yelling when diesel/oil or other pollutants end up on their
    let’s see how long the hull sits there.

    • The hull is intact. No reason for screaming. And your armchair criticism is noted. Sorry to put you out

  12. Robbie Guimond

    the extreme tide height and east winds are to blame probably draged its gear, especially with a vessel of its size . most of the plastic boats don’t weight what this steel hull does and in turn its location for anchorage is critical. even if ed was aboard there was nothing to be done. other then allow him his original location. im sure he did whatever possible to prevent this .

  13. I think she’s ferro, not steel, and likely of comparable weight, possibly lighter than a plastic hull of her size. If she dragged her gear, I think we would see the pennants and buoy in this pic, and I can’t see them. ANyone know what happened with this morning’s tide?

  14. Bill Armstrong

    Breaking news! Not just the “Chipper B” but three others – including two large sailboats – also have come ashore involuntarily along Harbor Road so far this afternoon.
    Tough storm

  15. This great old boat is not lost. She’s just stuck. She’ll get off that beach soon enough without Town intervention. Don’t worry about your taxes going up over this. And thanks I’m fine and well. My pulse has gone down nicely. Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with. My heart goes out to all the other boats that washed up in this gale and the dozens of others over the years. More soon.

  16. Ed: good to know my paranoia is also unjustified. Probably.

  17. Maybe Florence will send just enough surge your way to lift her.

  18. It is unfortunate that this happened and I am hopeful the harbormaster will look into what failed. It was windy today, saw 30+ knots, but a permanent mooring should be able to handle that, easily. If the cleats on the boat failed that is not good. There is a lot of stuff stored on the top of this boat including fuel tanks that might not be safe. If the mooring itself failed, I think all the moorings in the harbor need to be double-checked for design and capacity, especially given there are reports of smaller vessels breaking free today as well. Again, boats should not be breaking free in 30 knots of wind. If its cleats or lines the owners used to secure to the mooring that broke, then they might need a lesson in doubling up, distributing load, using a bridle, right size lines, etc. From what I have heard, apparently this is not the first time this owner’s boats have come loose off the mooring field and last time there was damage done to other boat(s) and I’m told the owner never took responsibility nor paid for the damage. I drove by the boat yesterday before the conditions worsened and the mooring ball was under water. There is a second boat apparently owned by the same guy named Buttered Side Up on the mooring next to Chipper B. If you look closely at Buttered Side Up, you will see its missing windows, the door to the cabin is missing, and if I remember correctly this boat sank once before in the harbor. How is it not derelict? Just because someone is renewing the registration? Before I was on the fence as to the whole situation but clearly there is something that needs to be done if the owner cannot keep control of his boats from breaking free, sinking, and causing damage to others property!

  19. For those saying vandalism, I highly doubt anyone went out in these conditions to cut her loose unless the owner did it (which I am not saying he did). There are folks here saying the owner might have been trying to tow the boat up the River and lost control. I have heard from multiple people that witnessed a boat trying to tow chipper b but perhaps that is once it already broke free from the mooring. Would be great to know what the real story is – whether the boat broke free or if this was pure operator error. A small boat with an inexperienced operator should not be trying to tow a large heavy boat even in calm conditions. What should be noted is he apparently has two vessels moored in the harbor, I don’t think neither can operate under their own power, and both appear derelict/abandoned either with windows/doors missing or seeing them towed around instead of operating on their own power. This is a major safety issue and I suggest folks start calling the Harbormaster, Town PD, and USCG to investigate what is going on as boats should not be breaking loose in 30 knot winds like this and this particular owner has had multiple incidents.

  20. Captain Jeff Northrop

    This is indeed a tragedy, although this boat was in need of repair it was someone’s home.
    Our town has come a long way over the years, and not all of it good.
    Many of the greats that moved to our town did so because of the character, not because of a “standard look”, if you want that move to Darien.
    Boats like the Chipper B, and Gloria wouldn’t fit in at any of our fine yacht clubs, but they certainly fit into MY town.
    FYI, Chipper B was moored at an approved site, with approved gear, all approved by the Harbormaster.
    I for one will be down there tomorrow morning to help a fellow boater with his tragedy.
    Capt.Jeff Northrop

    • Thank you Jeff. Well said!!

    • Sharon Paulsen

      Excellent points, Jeff!

    • David A Cleveland

      To my knowledge the Harbormaster job is open. Chain which connects The Mooring Buoy to the sea anchor must be replaced periodically because of electrolysis. My best guess is that this was the problem of why these boats and previous ones have going ashore during storms

      • David – do you know if one must purchase the physical mooring and have it put in place by a particular company? Must moorings be removed during the winter? Inspected by the Harbormaster? Someone is responsible here and if they are not doing what they should be doing then it is a problem that can only become worse.

    • Capt Jeff Northrop, I dont think you should be one to talk. Have you been cultivating oysters in areas they should not be cultivated that show as prohibited zones on CT DEP maps (specifically, right on the Saugatuck River which by the way is not your land/water)? Mysteriously while you were doing that, neighboring boats had issues with growth, including growth completely blocking cooling systems. This is why we can’t have nice things because a couple individuals think they can do as they please and disrespect Westport’s beautiful water ways.

      • You’re saying that Jeff should not be “one to talk” empathy and kindness about a guy whose boat ran ashore because you think he has illegal oyster beds in waters he doesn’t own?

        The offshore waters of Westport do not belong to anyone; they fall under the Public Trust Doctrine (which, interestingly enough, was reaffirmed in a Connecticut court case in the 1800s involving an oyster fisherman defending his rights to access coastal waters).

        The oyster business is tightly regulated, with a fairly extensive aquaculture permitting processes, requiring approval from state and federal agencies including the Army Corps of Engineers, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Connecticut Bureau of Aquaculture.

        If you truly believe someone is violating the law, you should report it to the appropriate authorities instead of making unsubstantiated accusation on a public blog, as an ad-hominem attack, simply because you don’t like something they wrote. That just makes you seem petty and vindictive.

      • Captain Jeff Northrop

        Bob, thanks for the unfounded accusations against myself and Hummock Island Shellfish.
        FYI, Hummock Island Shellfish is completely permitted to grow oysters in the Sagatuck River, Sherwood Millpond and on other lots and leases they control. We are licensed by the Dept. Of Aquaculture in Milford, Ct.
        Our Beds, boats, gear and permits are reviewed every six months by the DOA, making us one of the most regulated industries in our State.
        Massive studies in over 30 countries have proven improvement in water quality due to oysters. Each oyster filters 50 Gallons of water daily, this is why our operations in the Millpond has produced cleaner quality than Long Island Sound for the past 8 years.
        No one has done more to protect the waterways in Westport than myself and my family, and we have done so since the 1700’s.

        • Werner Liepolt

          And btw Hummock Island oysters are great.

        • Jeff you may want to contact CT’s Aquaculture Dept then because the map they have up on their website shows the Saugatuck River as a prohibited zone (shaded all red). The description of the prohibited zone states “adjacent to a sewage treatment plant” which there is indeed the sewage treatment plant right there…

          • Bob, if you think Jeff is violating the law then you might want to contact the appropriate authorities instead of airing your obvious petty, vindictive, Ad hominem grievances on a blog post about an unrelated topic simply because you don’t like what Jeff wrote about a guy whose boat ran aground.

          • Bob, you are obviously an oyster expert, so I was wondering if you could explain this line under the “prohibited” section of your link :
            “Shellfish may not be harvested from Prohibited areas except for seed oystering”


          • Captain Jeff Northrop

            This is a clear case of “a little knowledge is dangerous “.
            Im glad you can read a map, unfortunately not correctly.
            We don’t raise oysters in the Sagatuck river, however we did have some juvenile oyster “upwellers” in the river for two seasons, which were permitted.
            Ignorance is a wonderful thing for those who can afford it, however in our industry we have to answer personally to over nine different State and Federal agencies.
            Pick on someone else other than your local farmers.

  21. A little history – over the past thirty or more years, a few large sailboats broke from their moorings and ended up on this same beach between Saugatuck YC channel and the bridge recently replaced to Saugatuck Island, and in at least three occasions either had their mast end up in the overhead power lines, preventing eventual restoring of power to Saugatuck Shores. And in one case, perhaps storm Sandy in 2012, a storage rack with three or four sailing dinghy’s was washed off the shore at Cedar Point YC and the wave action carried them into the telecom lines on that same pole line, then the weight of the boats and forces of the water in the crashing waves broke at least four poles and pulled down the overhead wires, delaying power restoration into Saugatuck Shores by a few days.

    Boats typically have broken loose from their moorings in ‘the Hole’ on these occasions- because the lines securing them were either frayed, weak or poorly secured.

    In one occasion I personally called the owner- we got his name via the boats registration – and gave him a deadline to either drop the mast or we’d cut it free with hack saws and cut the mast. The owner showed up quickly to respond then.

    Better policing of moorings and their lines might avoid this disaster in the future!

    • Chris, I have witnessed at least two of those sailboats whose masts ended up in the power lines! Have pictures somewhere from years ago. You are right, there is no excuse. Either the moorings were designed/deployed incorrectly OR the boat owners do not know how to securely moor their boats. Today cannot be blamed on mother nature. It was bad out there but boats should not be breaking free in 25-30 knot wind! The question is who is going to go out and figure out what happened?

      • Very correct Rupert – poorly secured lines caused this most likely – and winds today were not even steady gale force – in gusts perhaps – but it took Sandy, Irene and a few forgotten named storms with tropical force(60 plus knots) winds to loosen up the others – this should have held in today’s wind conditions.

        • We just pushed the rescue boat down below high water so he can float it off on the next tide. The starboard bridle is on the cleat but chafed through at the chock. No chafing gear

          • Whose rescue boat was it? That is very daring and nice of someone to try to assist in the conditions. It takes skill and experience to tow a boat even in calm conditions I could’ve predicted the outcome. Stinks their boat ended up on the hard!

            • Rupert he was trying to protect his dock and several more along Harbor Rd which he succeeded in doing. Unfortunately he lost his motor so he ended up on the beach temporarily. The undamaged boat was refloated on the next tide without incident

    • Chris, as a CL&P exec, I would hope you are not recommending that people go near metal objects that are leaning against power lines, or going anywhere near a downed or damaged power line, particularly near water.

      Even trained fire department personnel won’t do that without the power company there to supervise those professionals. (as this blog pointed out only two weeks ago)

      While I understand your frustration, there are a huge amount of fatalities when people realize the unseen lethal danger in power lines. – Chris Woods

      • Chris – as a ‘former’ CL&P employee(now retired) we never would suggest anyone – fire department or member of the public – go anywhere near a downed line – assume any wire is energized – and also keep away at least thirty feet – including from tree limbs in contact with wires, or even sailboats. Our calls were to the owners of the boat – and our crews were standing by then, already having opened and grounded the circuit back on Saugatuck Avenue – and the crew would have done the cutting and clearing of the metal mast and stays. Our frustration was to get the overhead lines clear so we could restore power to the 300 plus homes still out, and not delay them further. Thanks.

    • Thanks for correction – when I got there the following day with crews from Kansas City, it sure appeared like the rack caught the telecom cables and broke the poles.

    • Hi Chris I wanted to add some facts to help clarify your history above which implies negligence on my part. It’s true during Hurricane Sandy a wooden storage rack holding two 420 sailboats from CPYC floated off Bluff Point (the street) after the pole it was secured to gave way. This rack eventually settled onto Harbor Rd on top of a previously fallen power pole. The first two power poles came down during the peak winds several hours prior to high tide. The remaining poles fell as the seawall was undermined and shifted. The rack and two dinghies were removed by lunch on October 31st and had absolutely zero effect on the restoration of power to the island. I was at the club and on the water during both Irene and Sandy so I have a clear understanding of the events.

  22. Let’s hope that Chipper B comes back to life. After all, she’s a classic. Like an old diner or an antique chest. If everyone were to complain about things unsightly, we would never have phone poles of telephone wires. We would never have clapboard when shingles are so much lovelier. The Chipper B was anything but lovely. But that’s no reason to banish her from our waters.

    From a rower who appreciates her every day.

  23. That’s a cool, unique-looking boat. I hope the damage is minimal. Nautical Charts should be updated to reflect the apparent hazards of hubris, speculation and judgement often abruptly exposed along the Westport shoreline.

    • Classic.

    • Peter Jennings Talbot


    • Bill Boyd... Staples 66

      YES !

    • Turns out the motor is laying on the beach right next to the boat

    • Joseph Ballerini

      I note that commenters stated that moorings shouldn’t fail in 30 knot winds. I think the sea state would have a significant impact on chafe, etc. The winds were from the east for this storm and the fetch allows the seas to build along the entire length of the Sound. I’m not familiar with how exposed this location is but from Google Maps the mouth of the river does look exposed to Eastern winds. For years it seems the prevailing winds around the western Sound were south westerlies but this seems not as prevalant over the past five years or so. I wonder if this is climate change related.

  24. I blame the Russians

  25. I find much of this discussion to be ridiculous. This boat has been a vagrant and a blight in the river for 20 years. It has been used, when it was used at all, primarily for the owner’s evening entertainment, and that not in a number of years. It is not someone’s home. It is not maintained, nor cared for in any way. It is not seaworthy and has not been so for many, many years. It has weeds and vegetation growing in the cockpit. It has no rudder – not to mention a working engine or rigging. It is a junk pile teaming with portable fuel tanks, CNG tanks, old electronics, and junk of every description. Please let’s stop romanticizing this boat and it’s supposed poor victimized owner. And let’s hope that he takes minimal responsibility for it’s removal and not stick it to the taxpayers to figure out what to do with it.

    • David A Cleveland

      Finally somebody with some sense

    • Jill, pretty sure there are weeds also growing out of his other boat on the mooring ball next to Chipper B’s mooring ball that has the missing windows, door, etc (the one that may have previously sunk right in the harbor). Apparently there may be cats living on the boat. Has anyone gained entry to make sure they are OK or to see the condition of the inside? I think things warrant further inspection.

  26. Looks like the Fire Department was dispatched due to all the gasoline jugs and propane tanks, some of which were had fallen off the boat into the water, possibly leaking. There were reports of fuel smells and at least one dozen fuel containers/jugs were recovered.

    • Adrian J Little

      the fire dept were indeed on site this evening.
      don’t our tax dollars pay their salaries?
      just sayin’
      see post 1 before all the romantics jumped on board.

      • Not only the FD but the PD also responded at a separate time for this incident.

      • Tax dollars would be paying their salaries whether they were on sight or not…
        Are you disappointed they were on sight to check it out?

  27. Jordan Matthei

    Chipper B and its smaller mate are derelict hulks. They are not “Classic” anything. They have been nothing but ugly eyesores and hazards in the river and now the harbor for years.
    Good riddance to the both of them.

  28. Robert Giunta Harbormaster

    So many not informed clipper b did not drag anchor two 3/4 mooring lines double braided broke same as the 4 on the beach rough 4 to 5 feet in the bay high winds this is a old classic vessel you don’t see these any more.
    First will need to refloat check if seaworthy or not this will take time .
    Robert Giunta Harbormaster

    • Thank you Robert for your update but can you please elaborate as to who is responsible for the mooring lines? Is this something the boat owners buy and deploy on their own or are they put in place by the company that drops the moorings? Are there minimum size requirements? Are they inspected by you to ensure compliance?

    • Robert, while you are at it, could you please elaborate as to who is responsible for the weather…

      • Michael O’Donnell


        A mooring is a tackle system, not just lines.

        A Captain is responsible for his/her vessel if aboard, and the owner if not (assuming they are not one in the same), but even that is figurative. After all, what does “responsible” mean, from a legal stand point, in terms of a mooring line? Vessel owners are liable for damages. Captains are responsible for the lives aboard.

        In rough conditions, boats part lines. It happens. The forces involved in a moving vessel are fantastic. The best solution to minimize these events is a protected anchorage, which in this case, appears to have been reduced to allow greater navigation space for other uses (kayakers, paddle boarders, et cetera). The next best option is very long scope, but that’s not an option in a mooring field.

        Moorings work by experience. Harbor masters and they’re colleagues look at events and develop best practices based upon experience. They set regulations and recommended best practices. We should be loathe to attempt to hold them to arbitrarily standards. Should you be looking to better understand the law involved, you’ll find it’s quite a complex endeavor. Technically, below the wrack line, it’s all federal jurisdiction and maritime law, policed by the coast guard (and Customs), but as their resources are consumed with drug interdiction, immigration, and military responsibilities and their mission is actually commercial maritime concerns, they have passed a lot of responsibility to the states. The federal government has provided homeland security grants to help the towns take over a lot of lifesaving responsibilities. The States have encouraged the towns to develop harbor management plans and hire harbormasters.

        Harbormasters make a fantastic number of judgement calls to find the best balance for the needs of the community, commercial use, recreational use, safety and ecology. They are one of the last jobs that still make decisions based on best judgement, and must tolerate never ending attacks on their judgement by folks with their own agendas, rather than avoid responsibility with zero tolerance policies, or leave resources available to only the wealthy due to onerous regulations—increasingly common and so unAmerican.

        Do you have a claim for damages? If not, and your core concern is that the vessel is an eyesore, you do have the ability to resolve this. You could find like minded neighbors, take up a collection, and work with the owner to get the boat spruced up to better suit your aesthetic sensibilities.

        In the interest of full disclosure, I’m an engineer that earns a living working on boats; I do not know the owner or the harbormaster personally, I own a waterfront home, and my view was recently blocked by a horrific eyesore, a home that, I don’t know, it’s not bauhaus, it’s not really a modern, I would best describe the architecture as “prison annex.” But, the owner got it through zoning somehow, and c’est la vie. I planted a tree so I don’t have to be so offended while I mourn my loss of sky and water view.

        Thank you for considering my opinions. The water is for everyone, even if we don’t like how others choose to use it.

        Michael O’Donnell

        • Robbie Guimond

          “The water is for everyone, even if we don’t like how others choose to use it.” Exactly..

  29. There was nothing extraordinary about the recent weather. It is the owners responsibility to inspect and maintain the mooring lines and had he done so both of those floating garbage piles would still be on their moorings.

    • According to the harbormaster’s comment above…rough 4 to 5 foot waves in the bay with high winds and 3 other boats washing up on the beach.
      What the owner of this boat and the other boats did or didn’t do is speculation on your part, however, what the weather did is a fact.

  30. Having lived in Key West for five years, where “derelict” boats and enormous yachts float side by side, I do not judge another person’s esthetic judgment. I do, however, question those who may not take proper care in how they are anchored or moored. The winds may have been strong, but that’s life. The boat in question traveled all the way to the entrance of the Saugatuck Yacht club, past more than a dozen moored boats, including mine. What if it had hit another vessel? Does the owner carry insurance to cover damage done to others? Diesel spills? Not an accusation – I hope he does. And thank you to Robert Giunta, who has been trying to organize the mooring situation – it must be like trying to herd cats. But individual owners need to take responsibility.

    • Yes you betcha that owners are responsible for securing their vessels and making sure they do not damage other’s property. Boats should have easily been able to weather yesterday’s storm. If the failure was not with the moorings themselves, then its on the owners for not using the right mooring equipment or methods. The fuel/oil stored aboard Chipper B and Buttered that fell into the water is very troublesome. Most towns where I have looked into moorings require them to be removed in winter, refurbished/re-inspected annually, and amazingly I never see any boats break free in these harbors. I am told by someone that his boat(s) have broken free before, hit other boats causing damage, and he never stepped up to pay.

    • Mary Anne Mayo

      This is not just a question of whether some of us consider these boats “unsightly” or “not up to yacht club standards.” From our past experience, when the owner’s other boat, “Buttered Side Up” broke loose in a previous storm and caused substantial damage to my husband’s and my boat, he does not carry insurance and does not otherwise live up to his responsibility for damage caused by these vessels. Note that BOTH boats broke loose from their moorings this time and washed up on the beaches by Harbor Rd.–if neither of these boats hit another moored vessel yesterday, that’s amazing–others were luckier that we were. One would think that the Town should require proof of insurance to allow vessels to be moored in the harbor; that seems like a simple precaution. It also seems inarguable that basic seaworthiness should be a requirement, because of the hazards to navigation posed by the possibility of a boat sinking or grounding in the harbor. I will also note that there is a prominent sticker on the hull of Buttered Side Up that says “MOORING IS ILLEGAL.” Not sure about mooring status of Chipper B, but it appears from the above comments that Mr. Giunta did approve the moorings and is defending their general safety–perhaps now that they are aground he could make a closer inspection and form a judgment about their safety and “seaworthiness.” Chipper B is now lying just under the tide mark below my beach, and it is easy to see that it is filled with filth and junk, including a very large number of gas cans, which the Fire Dep’t apparently removed and placed on the beach. I certainly do hope that Mr. Train will take responsibility this time and promptly move his vessel out; meanwhile, Mr. Giunta really should consider some more sensible Town requirements for mooring permits. Meanwhile, I do not appreciate the enormous line of gas cans that were removed from Chipper B and stored on my beach. As Chipper B itself doesn’t appear to actually be on my property, I guess we all have to wait to see if Mr. Train or the Town takes action before she floats off and causes damage to other vessels or dock infrastructure in the vicinity.

  31. I want to offer everyone a chance to see up close photos:

    • Now for my thoughts… I have passed Clipper B hundreds of times… I always respected her as an older boat causing “no wake” when I have passed. Recently I started getting concerned due to the accumulation of junk visible on the deck. I also watched the owner’s other boat Buttered Side Up get raised after sinking years ago. There is no question in my mind that these two boats are in disrepair, a threat to our harbor, and a threat in damaging other people’s property (other boats anchored/moored/docked). If you look at my pictures you will notice some things: 1) neither vessel can operate under her own power (missing propellers, engines, rudders, etc), 2) broken/missing windows on both vessels allowing water to freely enter, 3) fuel, oil, and other contaminants leaking not only inside the boats but also into the Saugatuck River (the USCG and fire department just responded (again) and deployed booms – the smell of diesel / oil is very apparent in and around both vessels), and a whole lot more you can spot in the pictures. It is my opinion that both these vessels are a direct threat to Saugatuck River and Harbor. The owner has let them fall into disrepair probably beyond the point of them being able to ever be restored. They are death traps if anyone was to actually go aboard. Aesthetics are one thing but look at the pictures! Holy moly!

    • Mary Anne Mayo

      Thank you, Josh. These photos certainly tell the story.

  32. There should be a major concern right now to get these boats floated and out of the harbor ASAP as according to we can expect significant surges from Florence and will likely end up tangled in power lines, in someones yard, hitting other boats, docks, etc.

  33. Don’t eat the shellfish! A diesel fuel oil slick for 2 days now so I wonder what the health department guideline is about diesel fuel and the shellfish population.

  34. Sadly I think these boats need to sail (or be dragged) off into the sunset.

    • Michael O’Donnell

      It’s a challenging situation for all involved and affected. I sympathize, and can empathize, to an extent, as when I had to remove a washed up boat there was no owner to be found, and while my own boat has not been damaged by another that got loose, it was damaged by a portion of a house that got loose during Sandy, and I spent considerable efforts taming and towing sections of that same building.

      If she doesn’t float off tonight, it’s unlikely to leave if it’s own accord this month. The highest waters of this lunar cycle have come and gone. I recommend this resource for predicted surges:

      If you look at NOAA’s hurricane center, there’s not much wind predicted to come our way from Florence.

      If anyone does spot either boat drifting off, or missing altogether, please do inform the harbormaster immediately.

      Again, I recommend the above linked resource for surges. Any at risk from coastal flooding should have it bookmarked; it’s accuracy is stunning.

      I hope all involved and affected can find patience and fortitude.

      Michael O’Donnell

  35. Jordan Matthei

    These photos are evidence of a remarkable level of neglect and disrepair.
    Neither of these vessels are even remotely seaworthy and the smaller now has a substantial breach in the hull.; it cannot be floated off on its own.
    I went down yesterday afternoon to see this mess for myself. Two men with a truck were trying to drag the engine in the photos off the beach with a tow strap. As soon as the started to pull, the pallet disintegrated, the engine went into the mud….more oil, more fuel….what a debacle.
    God only know what else is leaching into the harbor from this garbage scow.

  36. Robert Giunta Harbormaster state of CT.

    It’s a problem most don’t know moorings are in state waters and controlled by state of Connecticut not town of Westport these vessels are in statewaters as long as it’s seaworthy and he pays the 6 dollar mooring fee abides by state law I will grant a permit . That means correct size mushroom heavy enough mooring lines . I cannot deny a permit on looks . Mooring rules a very clear its the owner who must check his boat.
    Every morning I check all 86 moorings personally some I notice a problem I take a picture notified the owner by email or phone . Biggest issue there email or phone have changed and cant notified. I have access to DMV DATA BASE even there numbers are not updated . I use online
    There SYSTEM allowed me to contact ALL BOATERS ARE NOTIFED BY EMAIL upcoming heavy weather
    some people don’t understand why I moved his vessel out of the river first he had no permit for years next the mooing he was using he didn’t own . He claimed he had permission from the existing owner unfortunately the owner passed away. As a mooring owner one needs to notified the Harbormaster Next shorty after I had him move those morning buoys disappeared further research mooring chains rotted away salt water eats chain very fast . This is a state law Mooring inspection every 2 years .
    Mooring that the twin mast vessel was new last year 1000 pound mushroom 3/4 inch chain 3/4 lines mooring. Mooring lines brake a different issue in heavy weather lines tend to twist and rub against each other causing friction and failure. I had no way of contacting him phone and email not working. . I have lived in Westport all my life before the seawall was built I seen boats on harbor rd against homes knocked pols and wires down .
    Consider yourself lucky being a contractor in Westport I removed boats from harbor rd so it was passable

    • Robert I dont think either vessel is seaworthy. They cannot operate due to missing engines, rudders, propellers. They have holes. At least one has sunk previously. Flooded/water inside the cabins. Missing windows and doors. Hazardous materials strewn about, leaking oil and fuel. Please explain how they are seaworthy. Thank you for the additional details of why the boats were moved from the river. The golden rule is always to go at least one size larger in diameter of line. I think Clipper B should have at least 1″ not 3/4 lines. If 1,000 point mooring is needed, I have seen 2×500 pound moorings linked together and redundancy in-place not only between the anchors but the chains and lines to the boat. I saw dozens of mooring fields this year. I see owners deploy additional backup lines directly to the moorings if bad weather is predicted. Further, the owners of these vessels need a lesson on chafe gear and snubbers. The whole force should not be on the line – it should be shock absorbed using snubbers. Thank you for your help removing boats in the past and its a shame mooring permit holders make it so difficult for you by not even providing working contact information. Might you have any update as to any of the boats being removed? Is Ed responsive to you at this time and has he provided a plan? Thanks again.

      • So, if my car passed inspection and met all state law requirements to be registered….but was washed away and damaged in a flood, would you then ask the clerk at DMV to explain to you how a car with such damage was allowed to get registered?

        • Bob that is an absolutely ridiculous analogy for this situation. The boat is not seaworthy. It is an active hazard on many levels – to navigation, fire/explosion, sinking, causing property damage to other people’s property. Robert already said a boat must be seaworthy to be issued a mooring permit and this boat is not. The damage and what you see in the pictures was not caused on Monday – the boat has had all the issues you see in the pictures for quite some time, predating this year’s mooring permit renewal and boat registration renewal.

          • Apologies.
            I’m looking at pictures of a boat that was washed up and banged around in the waves….there is an engine “missing” in the mud….things are “strewn” about. It seemed like these picture were what you were describing in your enquiry about a permit.
            The mooring permit was granted before the storm and before these pictures….which is the time frame that Robert was referring to. He said he can’t deny a permit based on “looks”….besides, he wasn’t looking at these pictures when the permit was granted.
            I’ll give the harbormaster the benefit of the doubt….he knows what his job description is and what his limitations are and I wont demand he explain things to me….things which are always more complicated than they appear.

            • Bob Stalling: you are having a bit of a disconnect. All the problems mentioned about the two boats were problems before they washed ashore this week. They were already not seaworthy prior to breaking off the mooring and as others have mentioned engines, steering, and propulsion were missing from both boats before this week. The only difference is this week they washed ashore and some of the hazmat leaked overboard. There are rumored previous fuel and waste dumping related to previous sinking and when the owner was living aboard.

              • You say it wasn’t seaworthy, yet you haven’t been put in the position to make that judgment call…. and since you aren’t in that position, I would imagine you aren’t up to date on the limited tools available to a Harbormaster that go behind making that decision I.e.; rules and regs regarding boarding and inspecting a boat for one.
                The disconnect is that I don’t claim to have an opinion on it’s seaworthiness…..and I definitely wouldn’t base my opinion on storm damage pictures, “rumors” or comments on a blog.
                Try that in a courtroom….

                • Bob Stalling facts are facts and opinions are opinions. Facts are neither boat was seaworthy prior to this weeks events. They were not seaworthy prior to this years mooring renewal. They were not seaworthy prior to last years mooring renewal. No one needs to board either vessel to see this fact as most of the issues were in plain sight. The harbormaster claims he inspects the moorings daily (which I have never seen any harbormaster do in other jurisdictions) so it should have been blatantly obvious the condition of these vessels. Heck one sank and leaked in the harbor previously. All he had to do was snap some pictures to show the missing windows, doors, holes, flooded interiors, death trap of a mess inside (through the broken windows), hazmat everywhere, and not renew the mooring permit. He still claims they were seaworthy and he had to renew the mooring permit.

                • Jordan Matthei

                  Legally defined, a seaworthy vessel is one that is fit for any normal perils of the sea, including the fitness of the vessel itself as well as any equipment on it and the fitness and health of its crew.
                  A vessel with no rudder, no engine and compromised rigging is by anyone’s definition not a seaworthy vessel. A vessel with a significant breach in its hull, no means of propulsion and no rudder is by anyone’s measure not a seaworthy vessel.
                  It is confounding to me that you continue to defend the owner of these derelict vessels and his conduct to date.
                  Have you no concern for the danger that these vessels pose? Have you no concern for the environmental damage that they have caused and continue to pose?

  37. Robert, thank you for your clarification – it is helpful . There is a lot of back and forth on this blog. The good news is that the owner is responding to posts on 06880, so now you can get access to a working email! I hope it all gets resolved to everyone’s satisfaction

  38. Lost in all this… a powerboat also washed up on the beach on Harbor Road. Swivel at the end of the chain that likely attached to the mooring was rusted out and clearly gave way, setting the boat loose. Not a matter of terribly high winds, just lack of maintenance. Again, a hazard to other boats and a potential loss to the owner. Just hope all this is a lesson to all of us.

  39. Harbormaster-
    Wikipedia- responsible for enforcing regulations in order to ensure the safety and security of the harbor.
    Merriam-Webster- an officer who executes the regulations respecting the use of the harbor.
    So no judgement call on what is considered safe or secure. What is missing is a State regulation regarding a known and seen hazard of over 20 unsecured fuel tanks as well as over 11 unsecured propane tanks stored on deck. And those same tanks have now fallen overboard polluting the waters and creating a new unsafe situation not to mention what a propane tank could do if it blows next to my boat at the dock next door. Ok- just pay your $6.

  40. Robert Giunta Harbormaster state of CT.

    One thing everyone all have there own opinion INSPECTION AND BOARDINGS ARE TRAINED PERSONNEL WESTPORT PD CONNECTICUT DEEP OR COAST GUARD. I have 2 vessels larger and that weight more than clipper b THEY ARE STILL THERE AFTER THE STORM . the issue here being responsible boater and MAINTENANCE BOATERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHECKING THERE VESSEL THIS IS PART OF THE PERMIT . Most important part of my function keeping the channel clear so traffic can pass . This issue is about MAINTENANCE AND BEING RESPONSIBLE BOATER

    • Mary Anne Mayo

      I agree that boats breaking loose from moorings is an issue of maintenance and being a responsible boat owner. However, the Westport police and Town of Westport have–for many years–had plenty of evidence that this particular boat owner is not doing proper maintenance, is not meeting financial responsibility for the damage his boats have caused, and that these boats are not seaworthy and have not been seaworthy for many years. It is not merely a question of the “appearance” of the boats–a large boat with no rudder or propulsion simply isn’t seaworthy.

    • Robert Giunta: Several folks are asking why the mooring permit has been renewed on a boat that was NOT seaworthy when according to you a boat MUST be seaworthy to have a mooring? The boat was NOT seaworthy prior to this week’s events and has not been seaworthy for a very long time.

  41. People, you need to get a grip. I don’t know why some of you are having such a difficult time with this. Forget about the mooring strength and maintenance. This is a flagrantly irresponsible owner. He doesn’t have insurance. He gave a phony address when Buttered Side Up broke loose and did thousands of dollars worth of damage to someone on this thread. He didn’t pay a dime – stuck them with the bill and took zero responsibility. It is valid to question why he got a mooring in the first place, but that is an issue for another day. Who is going to take responsibility for getting these two boats off the beach and removed from our waters. Both these boats are totally derelict and not seaworthy. Who is going to deal with this mess once and for all? Is the owner stepping up and assuming responsibility for their removal. I doubt it very much. Wake up people.

  42. Adrian J Little

    from the CT Post this evening~
    ““This is a legal, seaworthy vessel, although it may be cosmetically challenged,” Train said, adding, “There are always going to be people who are understanding and compassionate and there’s always people who are going to be upset, especially on a blog sitting at home on the internet. I’m sorry if anybody is offended….They’re not beyond repair. They’re stuck,”

    Who still thinks the taxpayer is not getting stuck with the cost of removal with this level of delusion…

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      What I find a little confusing is why the article quotes the owner as saying removal from the shore will take a few weeks. You call Boat US or Sea Tow, who are experts in getting boats up and out, and they can literally have this done in a day or two. I feel bad for the residents of the shores over there, because the beach is going to need remediation after this, if the vessels are admittedly leaking oil and fuel, as the article states.

      • You are correct shouldn’t take weeks if he can come up with the money or has insurance this can be taken care of pretty quick.

  43. Medication may be effective in this situation.

  44. David Cleveland

    Last on the list of duties of a harbor master on the DEEP website
    Removal of abandoned and derelict vessels

    • Jordan Matthei

      So if Mr Train actually manages to food these two piles of crap off the beach, will the Harbormaster again permit him to moor them in the harbor? Will he deem them “Seaworthy”?
      Who is the governing authority?
      Has Mr. Train been fined for dumping fuel and oil into the water; a clear violation of The Clean water Act and punishable by up to a 10,000 dollar fine per occurance?
      What will Mr. Train be doing to mitigate the environmental damage done and who is holding him accountable?

      • You take a dig at the harbormaster, and then on the next line admit you don’t know who the governing authority is.
        Good stuff.

        • Bob Stalling the Harbormaster is in fact responsible as its listed as one of his responsibilities on website. A couple years ago the harbormasters reported into the DOT now they report into the DEEP. I urge folks to start calling/writing DEEP for answers since it seems we cannot get straight answers from the Harbormaster. In terms of jurisdiction and other agencies, just because it is state waters doesn’t mean its just CT/DEEP involved. As we saw this week there have been visited by the United States Coast Guard, Westport Police Department, Westport Fire Department. I hope the Harbormaster has already revoked his mooring permits. I hope Ed has already arranged for both his boats to be hauled off and will not return to our waters. Two simple questions that are not being answered.

      • It’s not such a clear violation of the Clean Water Act. The government would have to prove that the accused “negligently” or “knowingly” discharged pollutants in a “harmful amount.” Considering this happened during a storm, and that it’s common for people to keep gas and oil on boats, it would be a tough case to make. If you think there is a solid case to be made, I suggest you contact the Environmental Protection Agency.

  45. So we have the Harbormaster, CT DEEP, The U.S. Coast Guard, The Westport Police and The Westport Fire Department involved and what? We are to assume nothing is being done and insinuate incompetence because nobody has answered you directly?

  46. Robert Giunta Harbormaster

    It’s bad when you sit in front of a computer and complain who will take responsibility for inspections and deem a vessel seaworthy or not . My job is voluntary a payment are not accepted ed train boats are not abandoned or hindering use of the waterway . The town Westport state of Connecticut and the coast guard are now in charge of removal and oil clean up. It will take time to arrange heavy equipment crane or very large tug boat you don’t want these vessel breaking apart and creating more spillage oil gas . There electric lines cable lines safety is parmont now is anyone wants a question answered my mail phone 203 856 8420

  47. Mary Anne Mayo

    Mr. Giunta, I am very happy to hear that the Town, DEEP and CG are taking charge of removal of these vessels (since Chipper B is lying just below the property line of my beach), and I thank you for spearheading that effort. I’m sure that the necessary equipment can be obtained quite expeditiously, if someone really tries; and I’m quite certain that under CT law, you and DEEP have the authority to move these vessels away from navigable waterways and from beaches that are in regular use by the residents of Westport. I would encourage you to do everything possible to speed up the process before any further damage occurs: naturally I am concerned that Chipper B will be broken up or moved by the force of the tides or storms, especially given the higher-than-usual surge projected by CERA in this area as a result of Hurricane Florence. Unfortunately, my property seems to be “ground zero” for any contamination that results.

    As usual, Mr. Train has delayed and confused the public’s understanding of this process by making public statements and promises to the effect that he is arranging for the removal and he is taking responsibility. I’m sympathetic to his love for his boat–I’m a boater myself–but we all know that he is quite unreliable. I am heartened to know that you and DEEP, and not he, are arranging for the removal of Chipper B.

    One situation this highlights is that Westport apparently has not taken charge of adopting a harbor management plan and implementing a harbor management commission, as is allowed by CT law. In the absence of such a plan, DEEP takes over, but it is possible under CT law for Westport to make its own rules and regulations for the mooring of vessels, including the requirement for proof of insurance. There are a number of CT towns and cities who have taken the steps to adopt a harbor management plan, and their regulations are available online to see as models. I am not sure how many towns require proof of insurance, but it appears that Bridgeport does–its mooring permit regulations are available online and provide that all mooring permit applications include proof of insurance. This step would save Westport from the cost of removal if a similar situation arises in the future.

    • David Cleveland

      These vessels are not insurable as they would have to pass a survey. The owner is responsible financially for salvage if no insurance is available

      • Mary Anne Mayo

        Yes, legally responsible. The issue in this particular situation is an owner who is not actually accepting financial responsibility (due to inability, perhaps?). The Town, DEEP, etc. are responsible for getting the boats out of here if the owner is essentially abandoning them due to his lack of financial responsibility for them. There are clear rules: they have to give him 24 hours’ notice, then if he doesn’t remove them, the authorities move them. They give notice and a chance for him to pick up the boats from salvage (certain number of days depending on value of the vessel), etc., etc. All spelled out in CT law. If he collects the boats, he pays the salvage expense; otherwise, boat is sold or scrapped and proceeds used toward reimbursement of salvage expense.

        The issue for the future is, should the Town be allowing “uninsurable” boats to sit on moorings in the harbor for years, sinking and breaking loose and causing damage from time to time, without proof of financial responsibility? Maybe the Town wants to continue underwriting this risk in order to preserve the romance of boat ownership by people who are irresponsible (both financially and in terms of properly securing their boats). Or maybe the Town would conclude that it doesn’t want to bear this risk (and doesn’t want to cause its other boat owners to bear the risk and expense of being struck and damaged). I was just trying to show how it would be possible for the Town to take a different course: it’s not absolutely required that we allow this sort of vessel to sit on a mooring in the harbor for 20+ years. And, btw, the same process would allow the Town to collect more than $6 for a mooring permit, which Mr, Giunta suggested is the only current fee.

  48. A Darcy Sledge

    I was wondering the same thing.

  49. Adrian J Little

    Any update as to the removal of these eyesores?
    At high tide today all sorts of gross stuff leaking out and around the Chipper B

    • David Cleveland

      Contact the coast guard and ct dep in old saybrook. Doesn’t everybody realize this guy is playing everyone

      • Bob Penderson

        Word on the street is Ed Train talks a big talk but has told the town that he does not have the financial means to remove either of his boats. CT DEP says the issue is for our local Westport Harbormaster. Our local Harbormaster has passed the buck onto the PD. I don’t think the PD has the means or authority to do much of anything. There is a pool going of how many months/years the boat will be an eyesore. The sad thing is this was preventable had the harbormaster not issued the mooring permits to derelict and unsafe vessels. Maybe we need to go to Ed’s weekly concerts and protest that he figure out a way to clean up his mess?

  50. Jordan Matthei

    Those boats are going nowhere. The owner abandoned them years ago. The only difference now is their location and he’s off the hook for renewing the mooring fees….

  51. Jennifer Seymour

    For anyone who is following this post from September 10th I am here to update you…this boat is STILL HERE and, following yesterdays storm, is even closer to the road and power lines. It is BEYOND ANY COMPREHENSION that the owner has not taken responsibility to remove this boat by whatever means. The vessel is both an eyesore and extremely unsafe, particularly yesterday when several feet of water covered Harbor Road. I have been told conflicting information by different sources that the owner was both being fined daily and also that this was incorrect and that he was being given a “grace period” by the Westport P.D. Enough! As a Saugatuck Shores resident, home owner and boat owner I find it appalling that no action can be / is being taken to insure it’s removal immediately. I have spoken directly with the Harbor Master, who apparently has no authority, but the Marine Unit of the Westport PD should be able to do something. Any response on the status here would be appreciated.

    • David Cleveland

      Send an email to Mr Marpes office and follow up a week two later if you have not received a reply. Problem is a grounding may not be covered by any town or state ordinances. But at least you might find the answer. Are the other 2 boats still there?

    • There is rumor that Chipper B may be removed this week. Whether the plan is for the Town or Ed to take care of it, I do not know but am curious. Ed’s second boat Buttered Side Up was also still ashore last I checked. The third sailboat was removed weeks ago but I believe there is a fourth sailboat that is a concern. Details are limited but it seems that it was abandoned at anchor out in the harbor a few months ago and it will be the next boat to wash ashore / potentially cause some damage.

  52. Why hasn’t the town had it taken away before it becomes and environmental disaster???
    Town should require any vessel moored in its harbor to be “ sea worthy “ and “ insured “ with the town of Westport named as beneficiary

  53. Adrian J Little

    Let’s revisit this

    “Bill Boyd… Staples 66 | September 10, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Reply
    Perhaps someone has lost their home.. or their property….why this tone?

    Ed Train | September 10, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    So, no. Not at all. Don’t worry about your pocketbook on this one.”

    So here we are 3 months and several storms later and this eyesore and pollution threat is still on the beach – just higher up the beach.
    So, if we, the taxpayers of Westport, are not to “worry about our pocketbooks on this one” who is removing it..?

  54. As predicted, Mr. Trainwreck has done absolutely nothing about removing either of his two beached derelict boats. Three months and counting…..