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Monday, April 2, 2012

Old Ferry Boat Scrapped

A previous post on this blog told about the ferry boat San Diego moored near Rio Vista. The San Diego was built in 1931 and used until 1969 to ferry passengers between San Diego and Coronado. From 1974 to 1994, she was in the Pacific Northwest, first being used as a ferry in Puget Sound, and then being considered for conversion to a paddlewheel excursion boat.

In 1994 the San Diego made her way back to California and was towed up the Sacramento River. She was supposed to be converted into a restaurant but caught fire during conversion. The ferry eventually was moored at Decker Island and abandoned to rust away on the river.

If you went looking for the San Diego and couldn’t find it, here’s why: I forgot to provide any route directions in that post. I corrected that mistake, but don’t go chasing after a view of the ship, because it’s no longer there.

The San Diego, in her final years
During the years that the ship was left unattended, vandals and the elements took their toll, and the San Diego became destined for the scrap heap. Shawn Dake, at maritimematters.com, signals her end:

"By 2011, the California State Lands Commission became the final owner of the ferry and their goal was not preservation. Part of their mission is to clear the California Delta of derelict vessels and the San Diego certainly qualified as one. The interior was a mess with little of her original features remaining. All brass and anything else of value was gone. A hodgepodge of drywall from the various attempts at refurbishment blended in-harmoniously with what remained of her original woodwork. A shell of her former self, there was almost nothing left to save. The San Diego had died long ago; now it was only a matter of disposing of the corpse."

On March 1, 2012, the vessel was towed into the Bay Ship and Yacht Company in Alameda, not far from where she was originally built 81 years earlier. Dismantling began on Friday March 9; within a week, nearly all of her wooden superstructure was gone. The steel hull was cut to fit into dry dock, where destruction of a symbol of the past was completed.

If you care to read more the San Diego, a good, well-illustrated article is "San Diego Scrapped in Northern California," by Shawn Dake (March 30, 2012), at http://maritimematters.com/2012/03/san-diego-scrapped-in-northern-california/

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