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Boat readied for Great Loop tour sinks at Grand Haven marina

Becky Vargo • Jul 3, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Spring Lake residents Doug and Gwen Noren had two new motors installed on their 28-foot Harbercraft boat and were provisioned to take off on a Great Loop tour next week.

Now the British Columbia-built aluminum vessel is in dry dock at Camp and Cruise in Marne, being inspected for what might have caused it to sink at the Grand Haven Municipal Marina early Saturday, Gwen Noren said.

Police responded to the marina at around 3 a.m. Saturday when a neighboring boater reported the vessel sinking at its slip. Nobody was on the Norens’ boat at the time.

“We were out in it on Friday,” Gwen said. “It was fine.”

She said it was a shock for them to come to the marina and see the 2006 boat listing, with one side sitting on the bottom of the channel. 

Gwen said they called in TowBoatUS to get the boat out of the water.

“They used air bags to raise it out of the water,” she said. “A diver went down and put those on.”

The boat was out of the water before noon Saturday, according to a witness. It was towed to the launch and put on a trailer before being taken to a mechanic.

“We still don’t know what made it sink,” Gwen said Monday afternoon.

Gwen said both the Sea Town workers and the U.S. Coast Guard checked the boat and didn’t see anything that caused it to sink.

The Norens say they are disappointed that they won’t be able to leave on their trip as planned. But they will still do the trip — if not this year, then probably next year, Gwen said.

According to the America’s Great Loop Cruisers Association, The Great Loop is a circumnavigation of the eastern U.S. and part of Canada. The route includes the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, the New York State Canals, the Canadian Canals, the Great Lakes, the inland rivers and the Gulf of Mexico. 

The Great Loop is a minimum of 5,250 miles, but depending on which route choice and which side trips you take, it can be extended to include thousands of more miles. Most Loopers report their Great Loop trip to be in the 6,000-mile range.

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