Shipwreck at Bolinas Point, Point Reyes Peninsula

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Date: May 17, 2005
Contact: John Dell'Osso, 415-464-5135

Christopher M shipwreck on Bolinas Point

A 65 foot power boat, the Christopher M, ran aground on the reef at Bolinas Point on Saturday night, May 14th. The owner had just purchased the boat in Stockton and was transporting it to Alaska. The wooden boat was built around 1955.

The owner departed San Francisco Saturday evening and the vessel developed problems three miles off of Duxbury Reef. The owner notified the U.S. Coast Guard but the vessel grounded before the Coast Guard could reach him at around 9:00 PM. The Bolinas Fire Department, Marin County Sheriff’s Office, and the Point Reyes National Seashore rangers responded to and rescued all four people who were on board, including three adults and one child. Due to a swift response by those on board and responders, no one suffered injuries.

Over Sunday and Monday, several agencies including the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Fish and Game, NOAA Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and Point Reyes National Seashore attempted to stabilize the vessel and assess how to remove hazardous fuel, oil, batteries and other materials from the vessel. Approximately 700 gallons of diesel fuel were released into the inter-tidal zone as the vessel began to break up. Efforts by the Coast Guard and Parker Diving Service reduced the fuel spill as much as possible.

Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and Point Reyes National Seashore are also determining what damages occurred to the natural resources of the inter-tidal area from the hazardous materials and battering from the vessel breaking up. The preliminary estimated cost to remove the entire vessel from the reef is around $80,000 because of access limitations and the biological sensitivity of the area. The vessel was not insured.

Bolinas Point is a very significant, coastal habitat of California and an important inter-tidal, long-term monitoring site is located there. Partnerships for Interdisciplinary Studies for Coastal Oceans (PISCO), NOAA and Point Reyes National Seashore have identified more than 100 species of inter-tidal organisms, PISCO has noted that the site is one of the most biodiverse sites that they monitor from Baja to Alaska. Additionally, a small harbor seal haul out and Brown Pelican roost are located at Bolinas Point near the grounded vessel.


Last updated: February 28, 2015

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