Like a funeral as derelict boats destroyed in California

Lost Coast Outpost. By Andrew Goff.

“I'd like to save that mast! Get those turnbuckles off of it!”

Mariner Leroy Zerlang barked orders to his crew as they readied the ship for demolition at the dry dock in Fields Landing. The Wakan, grounded and laid on her side on the oil-soaked pavement, was stripped of any salvageable parts while she waited to be crushed and and moved, piece by piece, into a giant nearby dumpster by the steel arm of a large excavator.

The Wakan was one of four derelict and/or abandoned vessels set to be destroyed Wednesday morning by Zerlang and Zerlang Marine Services. Like the others, the ship had been docked for an extended period locally without anyone paying its dock fees.

According to Zerlang, The Wakan's journey to her final resting place was an unfortunate one. She was the dream boat of a local man who built her from scratch. But after a divorce and losing his job at the pulp mill the owner moved away to seek work. Like all of the boats laid to rest Wednesday, Zerlang made sure to bless The Wakan one last time.

“This is a sad day,” Zerlang said. “His whole soul was in this boat. This is like a funeral.”

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