Viewer gives man 29-foot sailboat after Oakland estuary sweep destroys his vessel

There's a  happy update to last week's sweep of the Oakland estuary where Timothy Cramer's vessel - and home - was destroyed.

An anonymous viewer, who saw KTVU's story, has given Cramer a  29-foot sailboat.  The boat has no motor and no sails, but Cramer said he is grateful for the generous gift. He said  he plans to buy an outboard motor and return to his slip in Benicia. Cramer had been living in his car since a backhoe demolished his boat, which was illegaly anchored in a cove along the estuary.

"I'm tickled pink," he told KTVU. 

Last Wednesday, Cramer was on his 33-foot sailboat anchored in a cove along the Oakland estuary near Coast Guard island. He said he had been fixing the vessel so he could sail it up to Benicia where he had a slip at a marina. He says an Oakland police sergeant approached him, told him the sailboat needed to move, but gave him one day to move the boat.

An hour later, Cramer says he came back from an errand to find Alameda police towing the boat away.

When he finally tracked it down, he says he was shocked to see a backhoe had punched a hole through the deck and was loading pieces into a Dumpster to be taken away.

Alameda police say they'd been asked by Oakland police to assist in a sweep of the estuary, removing derelict, abandoned, or unsafe boats from the water that had been tagged weeks or months before. 

Cramer says his boat had been tagged last month after it had drifted in the estuary. He says he'd moved it from a private dock to the cove by the April 20 deadline.

He says it was federally registered with the Coast Guard and shouldn't have been towed. A Coast Guard official confirmed the registration, but says the law does not require local agencies to notify them.