While many folks in the Lake Norman area were sleeping in this past Sunday, Sergeant George Brinzey, members of the Cornelius fire department and a crew of volunteers rose at dawn to pull a sunken boat from the waters around Pointe Regatta.
The vessel, a 21-foot motorboat, had been in the cove for at least two years, and had been the subject of dozens of calls to the Cornelius Police Department. Callers thought that the boat may have recently sank, and that perhaps people had drowned, Brinzey said. “Now if we get a call about a sunken boat out there, it will be legitimate.”
But Brinzey says the project of removing the boat was about more than just reducing the number of distress calls received by the Cornelius Police, it was also about removing an eye-sore for the lake community.
“It’s about shoreline beautification,” Brinzey said. “It’s no different than removing an old broken down car from the side of the highway.”
The old vessel was also emitting small amounts of petroleum so it was also about protecting the environment, he continued.
Police say the boat came to be there after its owner abandoned it after taking on too much water.
“It had so many leaks in it,” said Brinzey. “They just never came and got it … It was abandoned.”
The process of removing the boat took up the entire morning, and proved to be much harder than the volunteers expected.
Still, the boat was removed, and waters around Regatta Pointe were made clean again.
But Brinzey was quick to point out that the job couldn’t have been done without those who volunteered their time. Brad Hewitt of Towboat U.S., Derek Queen, Dave Rochester and the Cornelius Fire Department proved to be the backbone of the operation, he said.
“We couldn’t have done the job without their support and the support of the community,” Brinzey said.