UPDATE: Mike Provost of the Vessel Disposal and Reuse Foundation told 10 On Your Side that all five abandoned boats that were scheduled for removal the week of April 18 are now gone. Provost says special thanks go to H & H Marine Salvage for their work on this project, and to the donors of VDRF. No federal, state or local money was involved.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – With some cracking and creaking, a houseboat that has been sitting in Lynnhaven Inlet for years made its final departure Tuesday afternoon.
It sank just a few feet away from the deck at Dockside restaurant, and customers are saying “bon voyage” to the eyesore.
“[The ambiance] is absolutely going to improve. I always looked at that boat, and I thought ‘Can’t somebody get that thing up?’” said James Tuthill, who says he comes to Dockside with his wife Cheryll just about every week. “It’s an eyesore, really. At least it was, not now.”
It marks the third wreck pulled from the water for Mike Provost and his Vessel Disposal and Reuse Foundation. He has spearheaded a campaign to get them out of local waters.
“We’re gonna scrap the metal, and that just varies by boat, but usually we get several thousand pounds of metal, and then the fiberglass and everything else will be landfilled,” Provost said.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation says abandoned vessels pose several threats to lakes, bays and river systems.
“Chemicals, oils, things that are on the boat that may contaminate the area. That could disrupt the shellfish and the fish in the area,” said senior scientist Chris Moore.
Provost has gone to local and state authorities but got little support.
Donations and discounted labor and equipment are carrying most of the load. He sees the abandoned boats as a blight.
“They are sort of like graffiti. If you don’t clean them up, they just multiply. So we‘ve got to get these things cleaned up as soon as they appear,” he said.
“It takes initiatives like this, sometimes started by one person, in order for abandoned boats to be removed and these efforts to be successful,” Moore said of Provost’s efforts.
The barge and crane will remain in the area throughout the week. Provost is working with H&H Marine Salvage of Portsmouth. The plans call for the removal of five boats overall in the area, but Provost says about 170 more remain in Virginia.