Keuka Maid on the move, not welcome anywhere

At about 6:00 pm Monday night, the Keuka Maid, a 107’ long three tiered 100 ton public dinner cruise vessel arrived under its own power at the North end of Keuka Lake in the Town of Milo where it grounded itself on a sandbar in its attempt to be beached at the Sarasin’s Restaurant property 301 Lake St Penn Yan owned by Robert Pfuntner of 1705 Lake Street, Elmira NY also the owner of the Keuka Maid. The vessel was piloted by Edwin Briggs, with Captain Robert Hicks, Jr. and deck-hand helpers Ms. Gerry Briggs and Calvin Hinson, all from Steuben County. Pfuntner hired Hicks two weeks ago to ready the vessels engines so it could come to Penn Yan.Sheriff’s Deputies had been alerted earlier that the vessel was headed to Penn Yan and deputies were waiting at the shoreline to greet it.However the vessel grounded approx 300 feet from shore. Sheriff’s marine patrol and deputies boarded vessel for inspection. It was newly registered as of October 20, 2010 as pleasure vessel.The pilot’s intent was to beach it at the Sarasin’s lakeshore. However the lake was too shallow given the vessels draft and determined to be a hazard to navigation where it was parked in the lake along with its length it extended well over 400 feet into the lake and was also a hazard to the egress of the outlet and interfered with the navigational safety buoys. Sheriff Spike ordered the vessel to terminate unsafe operations pursuant to Section 49C of the NYS Navigation Law and ordered it escorted back to Hammondsport where it came from as a “safe harbor” to dock the vessel at as it could not remain where it was in the lake as it could obviously not make it into the Sarasin’s beach area. Due to the shallowness of the North end of the lake there is no place to dock it without it creating a hazardous condition. Accompanied by Sheriffs Deputies the boat which travels at 3 mph made its way South again to Hammondsport and emergency arrangements were made for diesel refueling, etc. Meanwhile the Town of Urbana dock site has been blocked by the town with a work barge to prevent the Maid from docking so it has to be left elsewhere in this approximate location. Investigation continues and several navigation law charges including misdemeanors pending further investigation by Sheriff’s Marine Patrol.

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