STILLWATER, Minn. — The owner of a sailboat frozen in the St. Croix River north of Stillwater had never been sailing, had never captained a boat and had never been to the St. Croix before this fall.

Mark Olson said he and his ex-fiancee bought the 26-foot white-and-blue fiberglass 1977 Pearson sailboat and a small dinghy for $1,500 in September after responding to a Facebook ad.

Unfortunately, a boat trailer wasn’t included.

“The plan was that we were going to learn how to sail it a little bit and then get it off the river and store it someplace else,” said Olson, 45, of Chisago City. “But things escalated, and it never ended up happening, and now I have a boat that is out on the water frozen.”

The boat is moored on the Minnesota side of the river near the Boomsite Landing in Stillwater Township.

A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer and a Washington County sheriff’s office deputy were called to the area Sept. 27 after a tip about a “boater who had sunk a small boat near the Boomsite Landing,” according to police reports.

When the officers arrived, they found Olson “just getting done getting all the water out of his boat,” the report states. “(He) had a sailboat tied up to the dock also.”

Olson told officers that he had just purchased the small boat and the sailboat and “did not have any experience boating and does not know who sank the small boat,” according to the report.

Officials got another call about the boat on Nov. 8 and again contacted Olson, said Sgt. Kyle Schenck of the Washington County sheriff’s office’s water, parks and trails division. “He said they were still trying to locate a trailer and people to help them remove it,” he said.

After another call came in Monday, officers went to the scene and found Olson “trying to break through the ice with a rowboat, which was not successful,” Schenck said.

Officers thought the department’s airboat might be able to break through the ice and “help them break it free and make a path to the Boomsite,” Schenck said. “But it’s sitting in about 3 inches of ice right now. I don’t know if our airboat is going to break through that.”

Even if the ice can be broken, Schenck is concerned.

“It’s pretty shallow in that area, and that sailboat has a skeg on the bottom,” he said, referring to the stern of the keel. “I don’t know how they would get that up to the Boomsite before bottoming out. It actually looks like the boat is resting on the bottom right now.”

Minnesota does not have a formal program for addressing abandoned or derelict watercraft. If the boat sinks, however, and is not removed within 30 days, the owner is subject to a civil penalty of two to five times the cost to remove, process and dispose of it.

Olson said Wednesday that he has gotten a trailer and plans to try to chisel the boat out of the frozen river on Friday morning.

“It’s going to get up above freezing, and I’m hoping it will thaw out enough where I can get the boat out of there and get it on the trailer,” he said. “But I don’t know … because this is the first time I’ve ever had to deal with anything like this.”

Olson, who works at the Target distribution center in Fridley and studies computer science at Metro State University, said he would welcome any help from experienced boaters.

“That would be very, very much appreciated because I’m really terrible at doing those kinds of things,” he said. “I really get myself into situations sometimes, I know.”