Darren Byler files Two Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuits Against the Coast Guard and the City of Kodiak for the Illegal Sinking of the M/V Wild Alaskan

The 110’ F/V Shaman a Bering Sea Legend was just recently, intentionally sunk by the City of Kodiak, Alaska. The vessel was purchased in 2006 by Darren and Kimberly Byler from then owner, Dan Mattsen. The Byler’s took possession of the vessel at Fisherman’s Terminal in Seattle, Washington and relocated the vessel to Alaska. The Byler’s modified and remodeled the vessel for the Research, Exploration and Long-Range Charter Industry. From 2007-2014 Darren and Kimberly Byler were at the top of their game with this boat and renamed the vessel “Alaskan Leader”. The Byler’s provided Alaskan Hunting, Sportfishing, Sight Seeing, NOAA Research, Katmai Coast Bear Viewing and Discovery Channel Film Charters with the vessel which brought  them significant success and notoriety in the Charter Industry.

In 2014, Darren Byler stated that his charter business bookings were down as was the economy, at that point Byler came up with an edgy idea to rename the vessel “Wild Alaskan” and provide an Adult Entertainment Charter with Topless Dancers to the local Kodiak Fishing and Coast Guard Population. Byler states, “This was a Constitutionally protected Entertainment Venue and I should not have had any problems while running a tight ship.”

110’ M/V Wild Alaskan anchored in the Kodiak Channel photo credit Kodiak Daily Mirror


USCG Lt. Sarah Ann Lovette Photo Credit Kodiak Daily Mirror

As Byler has been quoted in many media interviews over the years, “This is nothing personal, it is just business.” “Our business was wildly successful” and “I didn’t invent this and it has been around for a while.” Unfortunately, for Byler the local authorities which included City of Kodiak Officials and local Coast Guard Officials were not as excited about Byler’s Entertainment Venue as the local Fishing Fleet was.

In fact, on day three after Byler opened the Wild Alaskan Entertainment Venue to the public, Lt. Sarah Lovette from the local Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment shut down Byler’s charter for an alleged overloaded water taxi, expired life rafts and EPIRB on the Wild Alaskan. USCG Lt. Sarah Ann Lovette Photo Credit Kodiak Daily Mirror

As I have looked into these allegations by the Coast Guard, I discovered there is no record of any proof of a violation, citation or any fine given to Byler for the alleged overloaded water taxi violation. My investigation has also revealed that by law Byler did not need life rafts or an EPIRB inside the three-mile limit as the Wild Alaskan was anchored in the Kodiak Channel within a three-minute water taxi ride from the Kodiak Boat Harbor. Byler stated, “I had plenty of auxiliary safety vessels tied up around the Wild Alaskan that by Coast Guard regulations legally took the place of life rafts.” Unfortunately, for the Byler’s this false narrative of a vessel without proper safety equipment and an overloaded water taxi allegation that turned out to be false made National News all over the Country.

On September 19, 2014 law enforcement authorities got together and met at the Kodiak Police Department to set-up and execute an undercover “sting” for Byler and the Wild Alaskan, which included: State Troopers, Federal Coast Guard Agents, FBI Agents, a Local Prosecutor, Kodiak Police Officers and ABC Undercover Law Enforcement. After a night of partying on the Wild Alaskan, spending $800.00 each of City of Kodiak money on alcohol and lap dances while soliciting illegal activities, the agents left empty handed that evening and found that Byler, the Entertainers nor his crew were breaking any laws. See undercover sting report in Document
Dump #3 on the Sinking of the Wild Alaskan Facebook Page.

USCG CGIS Special Agent Aaron W. Woods Photo Courtesy Facebook

After the failed sting of the Wild Alaskan Federal Court indicate US Coast Guard Lt. Sarah Lovette demanded of Byler to create and produce sewage disposal records that by law Byler did not need to keep or produce for the sole purpose to be turned over to Coast Guard Special Agent Aaron W. Woods to be used against Byler in a secret criminal investigation. See Document Dump #4 on the Sinking of the Wild Alaskan Facebook page and court documents recently filed against the Coast Guard
in Anchorage District Court.

On the morning of December 9, 2014 Special Agent Aaron W. Woods along with several FBI Agents raided the Wild Alaskan in the Kodiak Channel near the Kodiak Boat Harbor. Byler claims, “that after 7 hours of ransacking his boat with AR15’s the disgraced Federal Agents left my boat that day with egg on their faces…” “and they had to settle with a phony poop charge allegation to save face for the hundreds of thousands of dollars that they wasted of the taxpayer on this outrageous stunt”. See details of the Boat Raid in Document Dump #5 on the Sinking of the Wild Alaskan Facebook page.

In December of 2014 Darren Byler was ultimately arrested for a non-violent sewage discharge allegation and claims that he made false statements on a sewage log book that by law he did not need to have, produce or maintain. Byler claims, “Special Agent Aaron W. Woods made false statements to a Grand Jury to obtain the indictment against him.” Upon arrest, Coast Guard Agent Aaron W. Woods put Byler in chains on a Coast Guard C130 flight to Anchorage from Kodiak for his arraignment costing the US Taxpayer $30,000.00 each way based on hourly operating costs for a C130 Hercules for transport fees just for Byler. Byler stated, “I offered on several occasions if indicted to fly myself to Anchorage for my arraignment on a commercial airline. Special Agent Woods was not having it. He wanted to parade me around in chains on the Air Station Kodiak Tarmac solely to feed his over blown ego.” Byler stated, “Agent Aaron W. Woods is just another corrupt Federal Agent that was trying to be a big shot in this case and make a name for himself at my expense.” Byler also claims in Court Documents that he was not given ear protection for the flight leaving Byler with permanent hearing damage from what Byler calls, “a ridiculous stunt”.

Darren Byler Shackled-Up to be Transported on a C130 Unprecedented Treatment by Federal Agents for a Non-Violent Blackwater Discharge Allegation Photo Courtesy of USCG

Captain Kimberly Byler

In December of 2015, Byler was convicted of discharging Blackwater from a vessel and one count of false statements to the Government for what Byler claimed to be a simple mistake in a sewage logbook that by law he did not need to maintain or produce. Byler’s wife Kimberly was found not guilty. Byler claims that the entire conviction was based upon evidence tampering and felony perjury as Byler posts evidence of in Document Dump #10 on the Sinking of the Wild Alaskan Facebook page. Just recently in 2022 Darren Byler filed a 10 Million Dollar Lawsuit against the United States Coast Guard, Special Agent Aaron W. Woods, Special Agent Timothy Jans and (Ret.) Lt. Sara Lovette. See Court Documents posted on the Sinking of the Wild Alaskan Facebook page as the litigation is ongoing at the time of this article.

Darren Byler is no newcomer to skippering boats in Alaskan Waters as he has been a Professional Mariner for the past 40 years. Byler started running commercial fishing boats at the age of 19 with many years of commercial fishing under his belt before he got into the chartering business in the year 2000.

Darren Byler age 19 Skippers the F/V Outrigger on Kodiak Island with a deck load of fish.

After Byler went through the legal process in Federal Court with the Coast Guard in what Byler called “an ill got conviction based on fraud and felony perjury.” As if it could not have gotten any worse for the Byler’s, it did. In November of 2017 Darren Byler had to enter the Kodiak Boat Harbor for the first time with the 110’ M/V Wild Alaskan as his anchor cable broke while anchored up in the Kodiak Channel during a windstorm. Byler claims he was unconstitutionally denied entry into the Kodiak Public Boat Harbor for no legitimate reason “other than the fact that City Officials still had a grudge against me for my past Entertainment Charters.” See Document Dump #11 on the Sinking of the Wild Alaskan Facebook page for details. At the point of denial to stay in the Kodiak Boat Harbor until Byler’s new Buyer of the vessel showed up, Byler stated, “I tried to pay for one year’s worth of moorage in advance while offering the City of Kodiak insurance coverage for the vessel but was still denied.” Byler states he will be posting a cell phone video of the City of Kodiak refusing to take payment for a years’ worth of moorage on his Facebook
page in a future document dump. At that point, Byler says he refused to leave the public boat harbor until the new Buyer of the Vessel arrived to take possession of the Wild Alaskan. Byler said, “he had no idea that the City of Kodiak was capable of what happened next.”

“At my age of 62 with white whiskers, I have developed a zero tolerance to government fraud and corruption.”—Darren Byler, M/V Wild Alaskan

Forty-Seven days later, Byler’s boat was seized by Kodiak Harbor Officials the very same day Boat Buyer Robert Maw came to Kodiak to take possession of the vessel and pay all outstanding Harbor Fees that the Harbormaster would not accept payment from Byler for. I have personally read this documentation in a Robert Maw email posted in Document Dump # 12 it was quite compelling. Byler claims he had a verbal dispute with Kodiak Mayor Pat Branson the evening before the vessel seizure at the local Safeway in Kodiak. And that his boat was seized by a “corrupt mayor that took my boat and livelihood away without legal authority”. Byler also claims the orders to pull the vessel out of the water was given to Kodiak City Manager Mike Tvenge and ultimately ended up with Kodiak Ex-Harbormaster Lon White. Darren Byler also claims that others within the City are also aware of this fraudulent fact such as certain members of the Ports and Harbors Advisory Board that will “soon be coming forward to verify this fact”.

City of Kodiak Mayor Pat Branson and City of Kodiak City Manager Mike Tvenge
Photo Credit City of Kodiak

After three years of Byler trying to reclaim the Wild Alaskan from the City of Kodiak Shipyard, Byler claims City Officials and Cooper Curtis, Owner of Highmark Marine Fabrication, LLC without authority removed approximately $250,000.00 worth of personal belongings, equipment and aftermarket custom deck buildings from the Wild Alaskan. Byler claims the bar was the most beautiful, cleanest bar in Kodiak. Byler says, “this is felony theft and there is no other way to look at it.”

Photo of Interior New Bar Addition on aft deck of the Wild Alaskan

The City of Kodiak then went on to tow the vessel 75 miles offshore and sank her in 6,000 feet of water where the boat will never be seen again nor will it be possible to dive on. Byler Claims that City Officials committed several Federal Felonies by lying to the Environmental Protection Agency to obtain a permit to sink his boat. Byler has now posted the actual permit application he received through the FOIA Process and other documentation proving there were other “alternatives” in the Federal Statutes rather than the City being allowed to sink the vessel. Byler has posted this compelling evidence in Document Dump #14 on the Sinking of the Wild Alaskan
Facebook page. Byler has also posted Documents on the same page that proves City Council Member John Whiddon was the Business Developer for NWFF. Further, Byler claims, whistleblowers have come forward with the information that at least one other City Council Member works at NWFF that signed off to the Coast Guard that the hazardous materials had been identified from the vessel before sinking her. Byler claims this was all an inside sham and the vessel was not properly scuttled and that properly scuttling the vessel would have cost the City at least a one million dollars. Byler also claims the boat went down with all the hazardous materials on board and he will now be able to prove this fact when he gets subpoena and deposition power. See Document Dump #23

Wild Alaskan Sinks 75 Miles Offshore Kodiak Island in 6,000 Feet of Water
Photo Credit Tugboat Makushin

Just recently in 2023 Darren Byler filed a Ten Million Dollar Lawsuit against the City of Kodiak and certain City Officials for the illegal sinking of the Wild Alaskan. See Court Documents in Document Dump #21 on the Sinking of the Wild Alaskan Facebook page. Both the Coast Guard Lawsuit as well as the City of Kodiak Lawsuit will be ongoing for the next several months and possibly years.

2015 Photo of Darren Byler and his
daughter at the time that USCG
were trying to put him and his wife
in Federal Prison over an alleged
blackwater discharge

Byler claims that both the Coast Guard and the City of Kodiak conspired with each other in the small town of Kodiak to drive him out of business, put him and his wife
in Federal Prison while leaving their young child without parents and ultimately sunk his boat all over political and personal animosities and motivations.

Before publishing this article, I reached out to both the Coast Guard and the City of Kodiak for comment and both declined comment on this matter. I will be following this story closely with future articles and updates.

All Document Dumps can be reviewed on this page. >click here to read<

Article by Investigative Journalist John Beck, Maritime Justice


4 Responses to Darren Byler files Two Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuits Against the Coast Guard and the City of Kodiak for the Illegal Sinking of the M/V Wild Alaskan

  1. Laura Wachholtz says:

    Wow, what an article and very well written.
    Soynds like there’s a lot and I mean A LOT of people that need to be held accountable AND prosecuted.
    I don’t blame the Bylers in the least for suing, may they prevail.

  2. Jim l Farmer says:

    Best of luck MR. Darren

    Bit of luck and you’ll cash out. I’d Love to watch the mayor write you a big fat check.

    Takes a story like this to put overzealous government types in check.

    Sad part about story is that citizens of Kodiak have to foot the bill.

  3. Gene ( Buddy ) Lueders says:

    I’m outraged you are going through this. We have come to expect Swamp-like behavior from DC but, when local government starts singling out businesses like this we’ve got real problems. So sorry you’re going through this brother.

  4. sam says:

    I believe him about the harbor master not allowing him to Moore in a windstorm, it’s happened to me plenty of times. We were unable to drop anchor due to hurricane force winds, when we tied to the dock the harbor master yelled at us to “f*ck off”. When we asked where we were supposed to go in this storm he shouted that it wasn’t his problem. When we tried to plead with him he barked loudly “if you’re not gone in 10 minutes the troopers will be called and you’ll be charged with trespassing. The harbormaster is a psycho.

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