Skip to main content

No boat, no clothes

OCT. 24 — A Michigan man whose boat drifted away from him not far from shore on Lake Michigan walked several miles in his underwear to report the incident.

The man was forced to leave his 24-foot sailboat Sept. 18 when he had engine trouble and a fouled prop, according to a report in the Ludington Daily News. The engine quit about 15 feet from shore — 10 miles north of Ludington — so the owner stripped down to his underwear and jumped into the water to remove a sail line from the propeller shaft, according to the report.

However, he couldn’t get back on board. He made it ashore and walked four miles, soaking wet and half-naked, before flagging down a ride to the Coast Guard station in Manistee, Mich. The Coast Guard reportedly searched for his boat but couldn’t find it.

After four days adrift, a Leland resident spotted the sailboat, towed it in and chained it to a dock, saving it from running up on nearby rocks, according to the report. The owner was thrilled when he heard his boat had been found but not about the price tag for getting it back. The Leland man told the owner he wanted $1,000 for its return, claiming he could have charged him the full value of the boat — around $6,000 — according to maritime law.

Upset about the amount, the owner reportedly drove to Leland, paid the money and took his boat home. He had contacted Michigan State Police about filing criminal charges against the finder, according to the report, and was considering taking the man to small claims court if police didn’t press charges.

— Elizabeth Ellis