This Instagram-Famous Abandoned Boat May Soon Disappear From California Shoreline

The already-dilapidated S.S. Point Reyes suffered more damage during the recent storms that pummeled the coast

Beached ship against night's sky
The S.S. Point Reyes has become a popular tourist destination and photoshoot spot. Halid Kalkan / 500px

For years, tourists and photographers have flocked to the S.S. Point Reyes, a dilapidated fishing vessel stuck in the sand at Point Reyes National Seashore in the California Bay Area.

But the iconic, Instagram-famous boat’s days may be numbered. It suffered damage during the winter storms that pummeled the state’s coastline in late December and early January—and now, national seashore staffers want to get rid of it.

“The National Park Service is aware that additional damage occurred to the vessel as a result of the most recent storms and tides,” according to a statement shared with SFGate’s Eric Brooks. “While we recognize that this is a local landmark and destination, the NPS is evaluating options to remove it safely.”

The timeline for removing the boat is “uncertain at this time,” adds a park official.

Though the vessel is often referred to as the “Point Reyes shipwreck” or the “Tomales Bay shipwreck,” it’s not really a shipwreck—though dozens of vessels did wreck in the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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Built in the 1940s, the S.S. Point Reyes first served as a launch vessel during World War II. Later, it became a salmon fishing boat and eventually got stuck in the mud in the late 1990s. Today, it’s beached near the town of Inverness in Tomales Bay, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean. The vessel is roughly an hour’s drive north of downtown San Francisco.

Over time, the decaying vessel became a popular tourist destination, particularly among photographers. Visitors have also contributed to its deterioration, including a possible photoshoot gone wrong that accidentally set the boat on fire in 2016.

At some point in the relatively recent past, the vessel appears to have lost most of its hull. A photo shared on social media also shows that much of the boat is now submerged underwater. Even in its current state, tourists continue to visit the vessel—which worries local first responders, reports the San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Cabanatuan.

“It’s completely falling apart,” Jim Fox, chief of the Inverness Volunteer Fire Department, tells the publication. “It’s much more dangerous than it used to be. As the fire chief, I would just as soon people not come out because someone’s going to get hurt.”

Storm systems that developed over the Pacific Ocean began causing coastal flooding and massive waves along the California coast in late December. Several people were injured and at least one person died as a result of the storms in Southern California, reports the Los Angeles Times’ Nathan Solis. The bad weather is also affecting local wildlife, including newborn elephant seal pups.

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