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Boating for everyone, almost

Published on June 19th, 2019

After we reported how a drunk, homeless man took a $400K sailboat for a joy ride on Lake Michigan, here’s a statement from the boat’s owner:

Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan (SEAS), a Sheboygan based, non-profit organization, suffered an unfortunate incident, and setback for its summer programming on Saturday, June 15th in the Port of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. SEAS’ vessel named the “NorthStar”, a 40 foot Tartan 4000 sailboat was stolen.

This boat is used to teach long distance sailing to youth and adults in the community that are interested in learning offshore sailing skills. On early Saturday morning, an employee of SEAS went to the lakefront to set a mark for sailboat races that were going to occur later in the morning. He noticed that NorthStar was missing and called a fellow SEAS employee to see if she had taken the boat out.

The employees determined that no SEAS employee or authorized person had removed the boat from its slip. After this determination was made, a call was made to the Sheboygan Police Department, and to the Coast Guard. After the SEAS employees described the missing vessel, the Coast Guard realized that they already had the missing vessel in their custody.

The Coast Guard towed in the boat, and a suspect was taken into custody by the Sheboygan Police Department. After investigating the boat’s condition, the Coast Guard released the boat to SEAS and it was returned to its dock.

The suspect’s ability to take the boat is remarkable given the difficulty of starting the boat and the complicated trip out of the harbor. Contrary to some reports, NorthStar does not have keys that could be left in the vessel. Instead, starting the boat is a three-step process that takes places in two different locations. The suspect’s ability to start the boat and navigate out of the harbor was indeed extraordinary.

SEAS is a community organization dedicated to expanding public access to boating and teaching boating skills. SEAS provides access for the adaptive and cognitively disabled communities as well as for youths and adults interested in community boating. SEAS also holds year round boating programming for the general public.

The mission of SEAS is “Boating for Everyone”, and is premised on providing boating opportunities for the general public. However, this unfortunate occurrence isn’t quite what the organization had in mind with respect to “Boating for Everyone.”

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