NK couple’s crabbing vessel nearly sinks; now unusable

If it wasn’t tied up to the dock, Duran George’s 26-foot gillnetter boat would have sunk during a recent storm.

But he rushed down there and with the help of other Suquamish Tribe members, the Coast Guard, family members and others it was only submerged, and they were able to save it.

“We would have lost it” if they had waited until after the storm, said George’s wife, Brittany Beckmark.

She said the motor only had seven hours on it when they bought “The Geezer” two years ago. But it’s ruined now. Also, “The inside of the cab is torn up; it took on lots of water,” Beckmark said.

They think even though it had new batteries they must have died so the bilge pump didn’t work. Mattresses and storage bins were coming out the window. “They pulled dead birds out of the boat, too,” Beckmark said.

George has lived in Suquamish his entire life, and Beckmark has lived in North Kitsap since she was 15. They have been together for five years, and have five children between them, ranging in age from 15 years to 15 months. Beckmark was with their youngest at Mary Bridge Hospital in Tacoma overnight Dec. 1 as he had Respiratory Syncytial Virus.

“When it rains it pours,” she said.

George has been fishing and crabbing since he was 16. He was just getting ready to take the nets off and start crab season. In the past he’s worked in Alaska, California and Oregon, but he’s been sticking closer to home in recent years because of their youngest. “He wanted to be here for the baby,” Beckmark said.

She said they really didn’t know about boat insurance. “We’ll definitely look into it now,” she said. She said George has a smaller boat he’s going to put a motor on so he can put his “crab pots in the water to try to make a little money,” Beckmark said.

She has been a barista at Viking Brew in Poulsbo for eight years. “I’m a good barista, but I can’t support” the family, she said. So her boss, Sara Womack, has started a GoFundMe page.

“Horrible time of year to lose their money maker,” Womack says on the page, adding she hopes folks can help them enough so they can even afford Christmas for their children. To help go to gf.me/v/c/9xzd/fishing-vessel-sunk-causing-family-loss-of-income