Fishing boat founders on shore

The peace and calm of a private beach north of Oak Harbor was disrupted Thursday night as horns were sounded, flares were fired and firefighters rushed to the scene.

All this commotion was a result of a 30-foot commercial fishing boat that washed ashore on Surfcrest Beach, a private beach nestled between Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and Deception Pass State Park.

Sarah Rowe, a resident of Surfcrest Beach, opened her door facing the beach and noticed the boat coming closer and closer to shore.

“I saw how close the boat was and thought something was wrong,” Rowe said.

When she heard a siren sound from the boat and flares shooting off, she called 911 and firefighters from Island County Fire District 2 responded.

It turned out that the boat’s pilot, 81-year-old Tacoma resident Alfred Carlson, steered it too close to the shore.

When he heard the waves breaking on the shore, he hit the throttle and turned left. Unfortunately, the boat struck the bottom and the waves kept pushing him ashore.

“I should have backed out,” Carlson said.

He and another fisherman spent the night on the beached vessel and spent the next morning trying to dig the ship out.

Later in the afternoon, the commercial fishing ship, Marjie, was towed back to sea.

While stranded, residents from nearby homes tried to make the fishermen’s stay more comfortable.

Rowe delivered coffee and doughnuts in the morning, while another neighbor dropped by with a tray of food at lunchtime.

Throughout the day, people wandering along the beach would stop by to look at the vessel and talk with Carlson.

He said he is probably going to take his boat to Anacortes for repairs. He said it needs a new propeller, at least.

Although he doesn’t know how extensive the damage is, he hopes to be fishing again by the end of next week.

“It’s fixable,” Carlson said. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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