Ditched and Dangerous: First of several abandoned boats pulled from local waters after successful fundraising campaign

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Following a 10 On Your Side investigation, donors and determination have propelled a Virginia Beach man to his first stop on what he hopes will be an ongoing mission. He wants to get rid of abandoned boats. The wreckage, fuel and chemicals aboard threaten boaters, swimmers, sea life and water quality.

One of several abandoned boats is now up and out of the water.

For months, the 36-foot cabin cruiser sat in First Landing State Park – a threat to boaters, swimmers, and a nearby oyster farm. Tuesday, it embarked on its final voyage to the 64th Street boat ramp at the end of a tow line.

“The removal and disposal has been pretty straightforward,” said Mike Provost in a Tuesday afternoon interview. He recently started the non-profit Vessel Disposal and Reuse Foundation. “We had a great team of volunteers, so it went as planned. We got aboard, patched the leak, de-watered the craft and towed it to the ramp, and then just drug it up the ramp.”

10 On Your Side has covered Provost’s quest to remove several abandoned and derelict boats. This is his first success. Provost launched a GoFundMe campaign to get rid of the boat that was marooned in Back Bay in First Landing State Park. More than 60 people responded, including one anonymous donor with a boatload of cash.

“They provided nearly half the cost. We ended up raising nearly $11,000, which was essentially the minimum threshold for getting it done,” Provost said, as he was able to design a removal plan that cost less than his original fundraising goal of $18,000.

Provost also thanked corporate sponsor Wasserhund Brewing, as well as Concrete Creations and Patriotic Excursions for donating time and equipment.

The former pleasure craft is estimated to be from the 1980s, and dead ahead – the landfill.

“There’s some metal that we’ll be able to scrap – the engines and some of the components, etc., but the fiberglass hull is pretty limited on what you can do with it,” he said.

Since 10 On Your Side’s special report aired in November, additional media have picked up on Provost’s campaign, including an interview with National Public Radio set to air next week.

“WAVY was the first one to respond and provide a platform to spread this important message, and I’m very appreciative to WAVY for the assistance,” Provost said.

He led us to several more abandoned boats, some in the restaurant area surrounding Lynnhaven Inlet, and more than a dozen left to rot in the North Landing River near Pungo.

“This process, if I’m being honest with myself, has ignited a passion inside of me and I’m not gonna stop.”

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