People in Casa Loma and Kalamoir Park discovered the Spirit of Kelowna paddlewheeler partially submerged in Okanagan Lake on Sunday.
Casa Loma resident Joe Gluska was one of the first to spot it in the waters off Kalamoir Regional Park at 8 a.m., immediately notifying West Kelowna RCMP and West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater.
Gluska reported diesel fuel leaking from the 66-foot boat which has been moored there possibly as long as a year. "Diesel fuel is now well past the intersection of Campbell and Casa Loma roads," he said at 9 a.m.
"I hope there is something that can be done as it is polluting the lake." he told RCMP and the mayor. West Kelowna RCMP were unavailable for comment.
Judy, who declined to provide her last name, discovered the sunken craft while hiking the park's waterfront trail with a friend later in the morning.
"The pseudo-paddlewheeler that's been parked there for months has capsized and is on its side. There's about two-thirds of it underwater. I was kind of surprised but it sits there unattended so... The wind was very strong earlier this morning, gustier earlier," she said.
Local resident Joe Kyle, also hiking the waterfront trail, said the paddlewheeler may have been moored there since the fall or winter of 2012.
"That's pretty wild. Wow," he said as he took photos. "There's always been one or two houseboats sitting down in here."
Captain and owner Doug Mayzes could not be reached for comment Sunday but told The Daily Courier when it was launched in June 2012 that he spent several years and nearly a half-million dollars building it almost from scratch.
At that time, he hoped to start offering tours by the Canada Day long weekend. but was having issues getting the required inspections.
The colourful, multi-decked Spirit of Kelowna has a retro appearance, like something that might have cruised waterways long ago. However, its hull is from a U.S. Navy boat, and its modern amenities included a full galley, comfortable seating for up to 75 passengers, and details like curved staircases, brass lanterns and French doors.
Mayzes, a third-generation commercial fisherman who has been working in and around boats since he was a kid, built the Spirit of Kelowna largely on his own with the assistance of a naval architect and a marine engineer.
Plans were to have three public sailings a day, departing from the city-owned dock near The Sails at the base of Bernard Avenue. The boat was also going to be available for charter cruises.