An environmental nonprofit that uses its 23-foot boat to patrol Commencement Bay for pollution, troubled vessels and wildlife has been forced into dry dock.
In a Facebook post Saturday, the advocacy group Citizens for a Healthy Bay said its boat had developed a sudden need for engine replacement and asked for donations to help defray the cost. Melissa Malott, the organization’s executive director, said the boat went out of commission in February after taking some students on a tour of Commencement Bay.
The group puts about 1,400 miles a year on the boat, which it acquired in 2010, Malott said.
Although Citizens for a Healthy Bay had begun saving money to replace the engine, its sudden failure caught the group without enough cash on hand to cover the $21,000 bill.
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The group requires a boat with a large engine because of the range of its work in Commencement Bay, she said. This has included watching for pollution, making first responses to distress reports and, in 2015, towing a humpback whale carcass, Malott said.
“If we had a little tiny boat engine, we would not be able to do that,” Malott said, “and because we’re the only environmental boat in the South Sound, we get calls with all kinds of requests.”
As of mid-afternoon Tuesday, the Citizens for a Healthy Bay boat-repair funding page on Crowdrise had raised $1,215 toward covering the boat repairs, which are expected to be complete this week. Its goal is listed as $20,000.
Malott said the group had raised several hundred more dollars outside of the website campaign, but remained thousands short of covering the repair bill to get its boat back onto Commencement Bay.