Commercial fishing sailboat grounds on Sugar Beach on Maui
November 30, 2023, 5:41 PM HST
* Updated December 1, 8:57 AM
During rainy weather sometime midday on Wednesday, a 46-foot commercial fishing sailboat called Ka Imi Kai broke loose from its anchor or mooring in Māʻalaea Bay and slowly drifted more than a 1/4-mile before grounding on Sugar Beach in Kīhei.
More than 24 hours later, the nearly 50-year-old ketch (a double-masted sailboat) remained grounding as tourists floated in the water 30 yards to the north and others walked the beach, many stopping to take pictures of the unusual sight.
“I watched the boat out on the horizon when it was moored, and then I noticed that it was here,” said Jackie Barrera, who moved to Maui three weeks ago from Alaska. “Iʻm worried about the boat and the owners. Iʻm worried the owners donʻt know. I hope they find out soon and come and rescue the boat.”
Vancouver resident Nick Percival, who was vacationing with his family, said he saw the boat on Wednesday when it was drifting toward shore.
“Some guy told me the anchor they had out there was not proper and it just snapped,” Percival said.
The communications department of the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources did not have an immediate response about the incident. Its Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation handles groundings.
The boat appeared to be grounded in an area that was primarily sand with some rocks.
The Ka Imi Kai was built in 1975 and has an active registration, according to the US Coast Guard Maritime Information Exchange.
But its hull was encrusted with marine growth, and it appeared to not have been used recently. It was either anchored or moored among about 15 to 20 private and commercial boats in Māʻalaea Bay.
The boat was listing about 45 degrees to its starboard side, with water going over the gunnel (upper edge of the boat’s side) in the 1- to 2-foot shore break.
Information about the owner was not immediately available. And not much was on the Internet about the boat.
But there was a Facebook post from 2013 that said Ka Imi Kai was a commercial fishing vessel based in Honolulu that had fresh caught ahi for sale at $2.50 per pound at Pier 28.