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Boat Cleanup Continues Along Lakefront

Cleanup of submerged boats continued Friday on Chicago's lakefront.

Cleanup of submerged boats continued Friday on Chicago’s lakefront.

Mike Puccinelli Mike Puccinelli
Mike Puccinelli serves as a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Friday was Day Two of the clean-up from the ferocious storm that battered Chicago’s lakefront Wednesday night.

The wave action revealed the battered nose of a sunken boat — one of nine vessels still lying at the southern end of Monroe Harbor. Masts now dot the surface like giant headstones in the wake of this week’s windstorm. 

Mike Sivak knew it was bad when he felt it Wednesday night from inside his 38th-floor apartment.

“When you’re that high up, you can actually see, when the wind’s blowing hard enough, the water in the toilet going like this,” Sivak, making a choppy gesture, told CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli.

It’s Jack Manley’s job to remove $1 million worth of boats from Lake Michigan. He says the storm was one of the worst he’s seen in his 50 years on the job at Chicago Marine Towing & Salvage. 

“It’s definitely on the short list,” he said.

Friday, his divers put booms in place after consulting with the U.S. Coast Guard, which had a team on the scene. 

“We want to make sure the dive teams that are going down are doing it follow regulations. We want to make sure they do it safely and nobody gets hurt doing it. We also want to make sure any pollution that comes from these vessels is contained,” marine science technician Brenden Otjen said.

The divers then surveyed the wreckage from underwater to see what they will actually have to deal with when a 40-ton crane is brought in over the weekend. 

“This is going to be a fairly complicated job because some of the boats are stacked on each other, under water,” Manley said.

Sivak says he usually takes his boat out of the water earlier in the season to avoid this type of disaster. 

“It teaches everyone a lesson,” he says.

The cleanup could take as long as a week.