Traverse City — A sunken boat in Grand Traverse Bay will be raised from the depths in coming days, but a doctored version of its image raised eyebrows during the recent holiday weekend.
A doctored version of a photograph of the sunken boat purported to show one of the boats which sank Saturday in Texas’s Lake Travis as part of a boat parade in support of President Donald Trump. Apparently not everyone realized it was a fake.
Some, though, immediately recognized it as the boat that has rested at the bottom of Grand Traverse Bay for nearly three months.
Todd Elsenheimer, the boat’s owner, said he took “some ribbing” about the doctored image of his sunken boat going viral online as a way to troll Trump supporters.
“It’s very frustrating, but what can you do? It’s typical fake news. People are going to do that sort of thing,” Elsenheimer said.
He said the sunken boat is expected to be salvaged within the next week, with plans involving lift bags being attached and inflated to raise the vessel from the bay. Somebody may even want to buy the boat once it’s back from below, he said.
“If it’s salvageable, hopefully we can get the engine running again,” Elsenheimer said. “If somebody wants it for a project.”
State officials said any debris in the Great Lakes or on other state-owned bottomlands must be removed.
“This applies to watercraft, vehicles, snowmobiles, fishing shanties or other objects that may end up in the surface waters of the state,” said Nick Assendelft, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.
Meanwhile, Elsenheimer said he’s not surprised somebody co-opted an image of his sunken boat to create an internet joke.
“It is what it is. People are going to do things with whatever they can find on the internet,” Elsenheimer said.
Dusty Klifman is the diver who made the original image — a still shot of an underwater video he recorded. He gave the Record-Eagle permission to publish both still and video images of the sunken boat in early July.
Klifman — an avid diver and photographer — went looking for the sunken vessel after it sank June 19 when it took on water during a family outing.
Elsenheimer and nine others aboard the boat were rescued from the water that day by a U.S. Coast Guard diver, with the help of a nearby good Samaritan boater.
Klifman could not be reached this week about the online use of a doctored version of his copyrighted image. His photography and videography business is called Blueyes Below.
But the image certainly garnered plenty of online attention in the last several days, being shared both by local Traverse City area residents and others nationwide.
Newsweek reported Monday in a story with a headline “No, the Sunken Trump Boat Parade Photo Is Not Real” that Florida Rep. Shevrin Jones, a Democrat, was among the more high-profile people to share the image on Twitter with a comment about the symbolism of the image. He followed up his initial Sunday tweet with another social media post on Monday.
“I’ve heard from *a lot* of people asking about this pic! It’s obviously photoshopped but the symbolism remains. How anyone can support this president after nearly 200K Americans unnecessarily lost their lives on his watch is beyond me,” Jones wrote on Twitter.
A spokesperson for the Travis County sheriff’s office in Texas told the Associated Press “several” boats sank Saturday while taking part in a parade in support of President Donald Trump.
“We responded to multiple calls of boats in distress, several of them sank,” but there are no reports of fatalities or injuries and investigators have not determined how many boats sank on the lake near Austin, according to sheriff’s spokesperson Kristen Dark.
There were no reported injuries or deaths.
Dark said the cause was under investigation, but there was no indication of an intentional act.
Lake Travis is about 12 miles northwest of Austin.
Associated Press contributed to this article.