boat, which left Catalina Island around midnight, bound for Newport
Beach, Ginther said. The two fell asleep during the crossing and
awoke to noises of the vessel crashing into rocks at 1:30 a.m.
"By then it was too late -- the vessel was already aground,"
Ginther said. No one was injured.
Anton did not notify anyone about the crash until 5 a.m. when he
called Vessel Assist, a San Diego-based salvage company, Ginther
The salvage company notified the U.S. Coast Guard, which in turn
contacted local authorities. The Harbor Patrol and State Parks
Lifeguards then responded to the crash, Ginther said.
Removing the boat from the rocks was a delicate task that took
most of the day Monday.
"It's stressful work; there's a lot of boat there," said Robert
Butler, president of Vessel Assist.
The salvage crew waited until high tide to pull the boat off the
rocks and into the water. Due to heavy damage to the boat's hull, the
crew took precautions to prevent the boat from taking on water on the
way into the harbor, Butler said. The vessel was outfitted with
pumps, and Butler said that divers would travel with the boat,
plugging holes during the journey.
"Rocks and fiberglass -- just a bad combination," Butler said.
Butler estimated the salvage efforts would cost the owner "tens of
thousands" of dollars.
Harbor Patrol sheriff's deputies took an accident report, and it
is possible a citation could be issued, Ginther said.
Boating accidents resulting from the unsupervised use of autopilot
have occurred before in the area. Autopilot is a helpful tool, but
someone on the boat has to be watching where the vessel is headed,
"It [autopilot] doesn't know there's an object in the way," he
* LAUREN VANE covers public safety and courts. She may be reached
at (714) 966-4618 or by e-mail at o7lauren.vanef7o7@latimes.