‘This is my home’: Kingston man’s makeshift sailboat home sinking in Lake Ontario

WATCH: After a Kingston man's fifth wheel burned down, he says he chose to move into a sailboat that he found on Kijiji for free.

It was a sight rarely seen in Lake Ontario — a man bailing water out of his sailboat as it slowly sank.

But in the case of the Kingston, Ont. man on board, this small vessel is more than just a boat.

“This is my house. It has a small kitchen, toilet — it has pretty much everything,” said Mike Tobin after carrying his belongings from the sinking boat to shore.

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Tobin says he was forced to find another residence after his camper trailer burnt down a few months ago. He then turned to Kijiji, where he stumbled upon a free sailboat.

“I just thought this is a place I could live in during the summer,” said Tobin, while watching his boat slowly fill with water.

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He then said, “I need to find a snorkel or something so I can get under the boat and fix the hole.”

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On Monday morning, Tobin’s boat was seen sailing into Collins Bay, without a sail or motor, near Pride Marine Corp., and to the surprise of one of the employees, Tobin was inside.

“I saw it come into the bay and I got into one of our boats to assess the situation and realized there was a guy in the boat paddling the boat and it wasn’t abandoned,” said Mike Sears, the location manager for Pride Marine.

WATCH: (Aug. 9, 2018) Autonomous Canadian sailboat crossing the Atlantic

Autonomous Canadian sailboat crossing the Atlantic
Autonomous Canadian sailboat crossing the Atlantic

Tobin managed to rest the boat along the rock wall that separates Bath Road and Lake Ontario. Transport Canada arrived Monday afternoon to speak with Tobin and discuss his next steps to move the boat to a proper dock.

Transport Canada confirmed that the boat had no fuel aboard so there was no risk of it spilling into the water.

READ MORE: UBC’s autonomous sailboat drifting in the Atlantic after mechanical failure

Tobin says he spoke with the Coast Guard on Saturday and assured them that the boat was being brought to a dock, but says the leak quickly progressed and water started pouring into the cabin on Sunday morning, causing him to run aground.

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The Coast Guard has informed Global News that police are now involved.

As for Tobin, he says the recent chain of unfortunate events won’t weigh him down. He plans to move in with his father until he finds another home of his own or is able to fully fix the sailboat.

“I always say no matter how bad you got it, there is always someone else who is worse off than you are,” Tobin said.

More information to come on the status of the boat. 


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