Commercial drone sailboat lands on Sugar Beach in Kihei: Maui now

Commercial drone sailboat lands on Sugar Beach in Kihei: Maui now

The 46-foot commercial fishing sailboat Ka Imi Kai broke away from its anchor or mooring in Mā’alaea Bay and came to a halt on Sugar Beach in Kīhei. PC: Cammy Clarke (11.30.23)

During rainy weather sometime around midday Wednesday, a 46-foot commercial fishing boat named Ka Imi Kai broke loose from its anchor, or mooring, in Mā’alaea Bay and slowly drifted more than a quarter-mile before landing on Sugar Beach in Kīhei.

More than 24 hours later, the nearly 50-year-old vessel (a double-masted sailboat) remained grounded while tourists floated in the water 30 yards to the north while others walked the beach, many stopping to take photos of the unusual sight.

“I saw the boat on the horizon when it was anchored, and then I noticed it was here,” said Jackie Barrera, who moved to Maui three weeks ago from Alaska. “I’m worried about the boat and its owners. I’m worried that the owners don’t know. I hope they find out soon and come and save the boat.”

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Vancouver resident Nick Percival, who was vacationing with his family, said he saw the boat on Wednesday as it was drifting toward shore.

“One guy told me the anchor they had didn’t fit and just broke off,” Percival said.

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources’ communications division did not have an immediate response to the incident. The Department of Boating and Ocean Recreation handles landings.

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The boat appeared to be anchored in an area that was primarily sand with some rocks.

The Ka Imi Kai was built in 1975 and is currently registered, according to the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Information Exchange.

But its hull was covered in marine growth, and had apparently not been used recently. It was either moored or moored among about 15 to 20 private and commercial boats in Maalia Bay.

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The boat was leaning about 45 degrees to its starboard side, with the water passing over the gunnel (the top edge of the side of the boat) in the 1- to 2-foot-high shore break.

Information about the owner was not immediately available. There wasn’t much online about the boat.

But there was a Facebook post from 2013 that said Ka Imi Kai was a commercial fishing vessel based in Honolulu that had fresh catches for sale at $2.50 per pound at Pier 28.

(tags for translation) Coast Guard

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