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Sea lions sink sailboat

SEPT. 15 — A group of about 15 large sea lions recently climbed aboard a sailboat in Newport Harbor in Newport Beach, Calif., weighing it down so much the boat began to take on water, and sank.

Jerry Dunlap, of Garden Grove, Calif., reportedly paid $3,500 to have his 37-foot 1910 sailboat, Razzle Dazzle, pulled from the bottom of the harbor. The 63-year-old contractor says he spent more than a year remodeling the $24,000 boat, which had been secured to a mooring.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. … I don’t know if I feel like working another two years to get a boat to work,” Dunlap says in a news report. While there apparently was no structural damage to the boat, Dunlap’s radios, radar and electrical system were ruined, a news report says.

Newport Beach residents have been complaining since May after a number of sea lions moved into the harbor. It’s been reported that barking sea lions keep people awake at night, and that one sea lion tipped over a mother and her child while they were sitting in their kayak.

It’s also common for sea lions to climb aboard boats and sunbathe on the decks. To stop this, some boat owners have strung wire and milk carton barricades around their vessels, a news report says. Others have placed lawn chairs upside down on their swim platforms.

Harbor officials are reportedly considering using underwater firecrackers, predator sounds, scarecrows, and hiring someone to walk around banging a stick on the docks to help “shoo away” the sea lions. Town officials are also considering asking the City Council to make feeding sea lions illegal, a news report says.

Jason Fell