WESTERLY — Police are attempting to contact the owner of a small boat that washed up on East Beach early last week.
Westerly police have identified Gary F. Trahan, 60, of 881 Shennecosset Road, Groton, as the owner of the 24-foot sailboat, according to Capt. Shawn Lacey.
Since identifying Trahan as the owner on Monday afternoon, Lacey said police have repeatedly called to notify him about the boat and ask him to remove it, but they have not reached him yet. Groton police will visit Trahan’s house as a next step.
Trahan could not be reached for comment by press time.
“We’ll make every attempt to track him down,” Lacey said, explaining that Trahan may simply be unaware of his boat’s current location. “Usually, if someone’s boat washes up, they want it back, because it has some value.”
Lacey said the boat appeared to be intact and seaworthy.
Members of the U.S. Coast Guard first reported the boat adrift in the waters by Block Island, but were not required to take action since it posed no hazard to other boats in the area. A few days later, it washed up on East Beach by Atlantic Avenue.
There is no state procedure for disposing of abandoned boats, but town ordinances require owners to remove their abandoned or washed up vessels. If police make contact with Trahan and he does not remove his boat within a week, the department can issue a summons for him to appear in court, Lacey said.
If Trahan does not respond, the responsibility for the boat falls to the police department.
Lacey recalled a similar incident in 2010 in which an abandoned sailboat lay beached on Napatree Point for over a year. Westerly police contacted and subsequently issued a court summons for its owner, who did not appear for his scheduled court date, and was arrested on a warrant.
Westerly police, along with the town of Westerly, volunteers from Clean the Bay, the Westerly Ambulance Corps and the Frank Hall Boat Yard all worked to dispose of the boat, sawing it into pieces and hauling it to the transfer station.
Lacey said he hoped the department can avoid the time and expense that removing Trahan’s boat would require.
“It’s just a matter of tracking him down,” he said.