13 boats wash ashore on Naval Base Coronado

CORONADO, Calif. -- Military officials are searching for the owners of 13 boats that washed ashore on Naval Base Coronado during the rainstorm earlier this month.

The unclaimed boats include several sailboats and larger vessels as well as smaller ones.

Navy officials told FOX 5 the boats were likely moored at Zuniga Point and were cut loose during recent storms. The search now begins for the owners.

"Some of these boats have the registration numbers chipped off or scraped off or the folks we do contact are no longer the owners it’s very difficult for us to try and find them," said Slentz.

Officials said if the owners are not found, it will make cleaning up difficult.

"The legal requirements are that we have to try and make contact with the owners," said Slentz.

Navy officials say it's imperative the boats be removed from the beach by Feb. 15, when nesting season begins for some protected species that uses the beach as a habitat.

"That's the nesting season for the Snowy Plover," said Slentz.  "Any of these boats out here can serve as a perch for raptors, we need to make sure we clear the beach of so that we can protect the birds and the chicks that hatch later on."

Slentz said with every storm, comes a new wave of boats.

"Each one of these is about $10-15,000  of our money that we don’t really have a budge for and so it becomes a cost to the base," said the Captain.  "We are spending quite a lot of money, it was a lot at one time to get 13 come ashore, over 30 in 2017, so it adds up."

"When the boats are not removed,  directly impacts the base's ability to meet our mission of supporting and training America's heroes,'' Coronado base information officer Sandy Duchac said.

The base can be contacted at 619-545-7418.