On Stranger Tides | Cuban refugee boat washes up on Sligo beach

A strange metal boat that washed up on the shores of Cliffoney beach in County Sligo turned out to be a homemade Cuban refugee boat that remained afloat for an incredible 4000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Barnacle-encrusted boats found on the beach in Sligo

The strange metal boat, rusted and covered in barnacles, caught the eye of Gordon Fallis as he was walking his dogs along Cliffoney beach in Sligo.




The rusted metal frame was partly covered in yellow tarpaulin, water bottles and expanded foam were used for buoyancy and a car engine was connected to a broken propeller.

It was incredibly weather beaten from its time at sea

To find out more about this curious boat, Fallis posted photos to a Facebook group ‘Lost at Sea’. A man from Florida got in contact and said he the design looked similar to Cuban chug, a homemade boat used by refugees trying to get into America. A look at the labels on the water bottles underneath confirmed that it came from Cuba.

According to Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a retired oceanographer, this is the first time such a vessel has been recorded washed up in Europe.

About the Author

Ann Robinson

Has a passion for coastal heritage and maritime history. Loves sharing the best of the Irish coast online. Contact me ann@coastmonkey.ie or follow me on Twitter @AnnRobinson22