Marin County Boat Explodes in Richardson's Bay, Injuring Occupant

Bay City News

A 35-foot sailboat exploded on Sunday, injuring the man inside it before he was rescued by first responders off the Sausalito shoreline. 

Authorities are investigating the cause of the explosion, but they suspect that the Foulie Douce -- or tender madness -- was the victim of a propane gas leak as it sat in Richardson's Bay. Mark Culver, the occupant, was taken to a hospital for burns and minor injuries, but his current status Richardson's Bay Regional Agency Harbormaster Curtis Havel said he will attempt to contact Culver and discuss housing options, and that he is working with the Southern Marin Fire Protection District to help determine the explosion's cause. 

“Mr. Culver is very lucky to have survived," Havel said, noting that leaking propane is one of a mariner's greatest fears because it tends to pool in the bilge of a vessel, detonating the moment a spark reaches it. 

“It effectively acts as a bomb," Havel said.

The sunken Foulie Douce is a navigational hazard to other boats in the bay and threatens the environment because of the fuel, engine oil and other hazardous material on the ship potentially seeping out into the water, according to a news release. 

Because it represents a hazard Havel needs to begin the process of removing the wreckage as soon as possible, directing a salvaging company to take what remains of the ship out of the bay and tow it to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers debris yard where it can be "surveyed and properly abated," according to the release.

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