Farewell, SV Hot Potato

Yesterday, around 1:45 pm the SPD returned to where the (assumed) abandoned sailboat was temporarily anchored.

Thanks to BD neigbhor, Jeri, for sending us this photo of the “SV Hot Potato” being towed away by the SPD.
sv hot potato

Voyage of the sv Hot Potato

Making headlines for the second straight day on BDB, folks on the 5000 block of Beach Drive woke up to the un-named/registered 26 foot sailing vessel anchored out in front of their views.



You ask how you could be so blessed to have this blue tarped boat swaying near your buoys?? Seems it was towed there by what looked like the Seattle Harbor Patrol! We first noticed the sailboat several days ago anchored out front of Weather Watch Park but recently noticed it was leap frogging south about a hundred yards or so during every flood tide. Here’s how it unfolded yesterday…

1:00 PM – The head honcho of BDB makes a call to the Coast Guard to alert them of an unsecured vessel. They pass her onto Seattle Harbor Patrol which in turn passes the buck to King County which in turn tells her to contact the Coast Guard… well, see a pattern here? Nobody wants responsibility to tow or secure the boat.

6:15 PM – The 26′ “Hot Potato” floats off it’s anchor heading out towards the shipping channel

8:00 PM – Near miss! A container ship heading north almost sends Hot Potato down to Davy Jone’s locker for good.

Approx 9:15 PM – A patrol boat with blue lights flashing is seen towing said vessel southward towards which we thought might be Des Moines or Tacoma.

Some good news for our Beach Drive neighbors is that 2 notices have been neatly taped to the aft cabin of Hot Potato. One of which reads Notice of Intent to Obtain Custody. It’s one of the first steps in disposing derelict vessels in an environmentally responsible way and, not to mention, allows time for the rightful owner to step forward.

(b) Before taking temporary possession of the vessel, the authorized public entity must make reasonable attempts to consult with the department or the United States coast guard to ensure that other remedies are not available. The basis for taking temporary possession of the vessel must be set out in writing by the authorized public entity within seven days of taking action and be submitted to the owner, if known, as soon thereafter as is reasonable. If the authorized public entity has not already provided the required notice, immediately after taking possession of the vessel, the authorized public entity must initiate the notice provisions in subsection (1) of this section. The authorized public entity must complete the notice requirements of subsection (1) of this section before using or disposing of the vessel as authorized in RCW 79.100.050.


In other news, wouldn’t you think they could find a more visible location for this sign?




Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Do you know the owner of this sailboat?

This 20 – 25 foot sail boat (similar to a Thunderbird style boat) appears to be drifting.

aug 8 boat 2

We first noticed this boat closer to Weather Watch Park. We are not sure if it broke anchor or is dragging anchor. The boat is currently off the shores of Emma Schmitz View Point (approx 4600 Beach Drive).
aug 8 boat

A couple of notices have been posted on the vessel, which appears to be unoccupied.  If you, or someone you know, is the captain of this boat, please let them know it’s gone adrift!

aug 8 boat 3
The authorities have been notified.

Tribute to a Beach Drive yacht that served her country


What better time than opening day of boating season to look back at a local legend? The Schmitz family yacht named Sans Souci II was 50′ long and weighed in at 8 tons. Built in 1907, she would’ve been 107 years old today! The following photo appears to be during an opening day parade between 1907 to 1917.


After a decade of pleasure use, she was drafted into service by the navy and renamed the USS Sans Souci II.

Sans Souci H, a wooden boat built during 1907 by Frank Tregoning’s yard at Seattle, Wash., was enrolled in the Naval Coast Defense Reserve on 15 June 1917 following United States entry into World War I; delivered to the Navy on 9 July 1917 by her owner, D. G. Schmitz of Seattle; and commissioned on 1 August 1917, Chief Boatswain’s Mate R. W. Capps, USNRF, in command.

Assigned to local duty within the 13th Naval District, Sans Souci II operated on patrol duty from Seattle until September 1917. She also served, briefly, as a tender to Philadelphia (Cruiser No. 4), the receiving ship at Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash., during late 1917. Sans Souci II resumed patrol duty in Puget Sound, frequently operating with, or alternating with, SC-300, until 23 December 1918. She then remained inactive until decommissioned on 7 February 1919 and was struck from the Navy list the same day. Ordered returned to her owner on 26 March 1919, Sans Souci II remained on yacht registers into the early 1930′s.

This rare photo, courtesy of the fine folks at The Log House Museum/SWSHS, show her freshly decommissioned and still in uniform…


Circa 1919, anchored in front of the Schmitz family estate (mansion in background) which is now known as Mee-Kwa-Mooks Park on Beach Drive SW

Soon after decommissioning, this WWI veteran resumed her duty as a pleasure yacht. Here she is in of my favorite photos entertaining some beach Drive residents in their groovy roaring 20′s swimwear…


 Photo courtesy of Log House Museum/SWSHS book “West Seattle”

If some evening you’re awakened by a deep rumbling off the shores of Beach Drive, just might be the ghost of the Sans Souci II making way towards Alki Point!




 Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Are you missing a kayak?

UPDATE 9:50 AM: The kayak is being retrieved by the SPD.



There appears to be a submerged kayak floating off the shores of Emma Schmitz Park this morning.

kayak kayak_002

The Seattle Police Department has a boat that just happens to be in Port Orchard, that will be checking this out. The Coast Guard has been notified as well.

Argosy Christmas Ships Cruising by West Seattle tonight

Quick reminder: the Argosy Christmas Ships will be stopping by Manchester and Salties on Alki tonight. With our nice clear weather, we should have a nice view from our homes or you can go down to Salties to enjoy!

PS: If you have holiday photos of your Beach Drive homes or pets, please feel free to share them with us! Happy Holidays!

Could be a wild ride!

I was a bit surprised to see a few boats still on their moorage buoys this afternoon. Past Septembers have been pretty mild as far as wind & waves but this one’s a different story. Tonight’s forecast of an all out storm fits weather patterns in November thru February rather than a summer month.

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Tall ship riding the out going tide & the pic of the week

Caught up with the Hawaiian Chieftain square rigger on it’s way from Port Orchard to Kirkland where she’ll be fixing her canons on the Lady Washington! Carillon Point Marina will host the two traditional sailing vessels for mock battles and ship tours thru Sept 2nd.



And here is our pic of the week taken by Ron Sterling across the street from Lowman Beach. The controversial Murray CSO Control Facility is in full swing…


 Say goodbye to this 1926 duplex and the other long-standing houses along the strip.


Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog 




Big bottom fishing bust happening off Beach Drive

A frequent visitor to the south Alki “Rock Pile” reef appears to be suspected for illegal fishing. The authorities have been rafted up for at least an hour searching and confiscating what must be illegal fish. This has been a regular stop for this boat over the last couple of years.

DSC_0888The boat registration appears to be from Oregon

With a view from my telescope, I can see handcuffs being put on a couple of the men and a telephones being passed between the 10 fishermen/women/children and the authority. Might be a language barrier. Poles have been confiscated and paperwork passed out.

The bottomfish rules for Area 10 are as follows…


DSC_0904Several fish have been thrown to the gulls. We may be reading about this on a poaching enforcement site soon!


Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

New rest-stop for seals installed off of Beach Drive SW

As a neighbor and I were tracking down the impending giant herd of pink salmon, we noticed that the old buoy off of Alki Point mysteriously disappeared while this new one near Lincoln Park magically appeared!


This new scientific research buoy installed by King County Natural Resources & Parks will be measuring all kinds of data regarding our local water quality.  A member of the water quality team kindly sent us this info:

A  new marine buoy was successfully deployed on July 30th off of Point Williams (West Seattle) in Central Puget Sound by staff of the King County Environmental Laboratory’s Field Science Unit. The buoy is anchored at a depth of approximately 550 feet.   An in situ water quality monitoring system is contained on the buoy and consists of water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll, nitrate, and depth sensors that collect data measurements every 15-minutes. The sensors are suspended below the buoy at a depth of about 1 meter.  Data are sent via a cell-phone in near real-time to the County’s marine mooring webpage where the public can access the data.  The webpage can be found at https://green.kingcounty.gov/marine-buoy/default.aspx

This in situ water quality monitoring system is one of four systems of this type that collect high temporal resolution data that are used to evaluate daily, and sometimes hourly, variability in Puget Sound marine waters.  The data are integrated into the County’s monthly marine monitoring program in order to provide a more comprehensive picture of marine water quality dynamics.


She also stated that this new and improved float is a replacement for the buoy that was located off of Alki Point. Apparently the Alki buoy had a pretty tough time weathering our recent winter storms. This new model is much beefier and will hopefully hang for it’s five year stint as stated on it’s Application for Use.


researchbouyThis photo from Natural Resources appears to be working with the old Alki buoy. The newer version off of Lincoln Park is said to be much easier to maintain “With the new and improved design, they just have to lift up a cable and change a connection—WAY better and safer.”


The nice folks at the DNR followed up with a live link to the science buoy:  http://www.ysieconet.com/public/WebUI/Default.aspx?hidCustomerID=165  He said “Just mouse over the green dot on the proper location and you will get the most up to date data.  Click on the dot and you can view graphs and download data. Note that the Seattle Aquarium unit provides very interesting data.  You can compare the 1 meter data to 10 meters, which often times shows huge discrepancies due to the fresh water coming out of the Duwamish River.”

 The gentleman that maintains the DNR buoys also wanted to leave his phone number (206-684-2323) if anyone notices if the light on top stops flashing or any other obvious damage that can lead to a navigational hazard. Boarding or approaching a state owned buoy too closely is illegal.

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog