Eyewitnesses complained of wreckage washing up on the rocks and sand in the area of Leo Carrillo State Beach as late as Tuesday afternoon, following a boat crash on Thursday morning, Sept. 19.
A California State Parks official said signs warning beachgoers of the situation were slated to go up later in the day Tuesday.
Multiple agencies were monitoring the shoreline from Leo Carrillo State Beach to the area of Sycamore Cove on Friday, Sept. 20, after a boat was wrecked in the area Thursday morning, but it was not until later in the weekend that complaints of wreckage began to surface. At least one surfer reported stinging eyes, possibly a result of diesel fuel that leaked into the water.
Concern was raised as early as Thursday over the possibility of hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel possibly leaking from the boat’s tank and washing up on shore of the state beach but, as of 2:45 p.m. on Friday, California State Parks Angeles District Acting Deputy Superintendent Jerry West confirmed there were no reports of diesel fuel anywhere on shore.
“[The vessel’s tank was] capable of carrying approximately 300 gallons of diesel fuel; we don’t know how many gallons it had aboard,” West described in a phone interview with The Malibu Times Friday. West reported California State Parks was working with assistance from the US Coast Guard, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and the US Department of Fish and Wildlife to monitor the situation. Lifeguards were also aware of the potential for contamination and were, West said, “making people aware” of the potential for diesel fuel reaching the beach. “We haven’t seen any sheen on the beach,” West reported. As of Tuesday, West reported, diesel had been reported, which created fumes detected by beachgoers.
“As far as the quality of the ocean waters, relative to safety for people to go in the water, as far as that’s concerned, because of the viscous nature of the diesel fuel, it will stick to rocks, it will stick to the kelp and so, especially at periods of low tide, when those elements are more exposed to sunlight and an off gassing occurs, there may be smells of diesel in the air,” he said. When asked about potential health risks, he reported after speaking to the Ventura County Environmental Health Department that there was “no immediate health risk to the public.”
The boat was wrecked Thursday morning. Preliminary reports, according to State Parks Supervising Ranger Lindsey Templeton, said the boat struck Harrison’s Reef. All passengers aboard were rescued by lifeguards with no reported injuries.
West said efforts to remove the remains of the vessel were slow going, with a large part removed Saturday afternoon. However, reports of wreckage on the beach continued into this week.