VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Another abandoned vessel has popped up in Broad Bay in Virginia Beach, this one near First Landing State Park.
It is no surprise that Mike Provost, who founded Vessel Disposal and Reuse Foundation (VDRF), is on it and making plans to remove it.
10 On Your Side has been covering this effort for more than a year now.
On his top running boat, Provost took us to the site of the most recent abandoned vessel.
There is a living area, kitchen supplies, entertainment area and a place to sleep.
Provost said from his experience: “The owners of these vessels are usually in a bad financial condition, tough mental condition, and they are left with no option but to ditch their boat.”
The new boat that appears abandoned came into Broad Bay four days ago, it’s a Carver vessel, about 30 feet long, with a fly bridge.”
The boat’s name is Family Pride, but Family Shame may be more appropriate.
“I have been told there may be a Newport News connection, but the owner has absconded to Indianapolis,” Provost told us as we stood on the Family Pride.
There is no doubt that Provost will have a tough challenge,
“This vessel is in excess of 20,000 pounds, so I am going to need a barge, a crane, push boat, a crew of six people, we will need to hoist it up with a crane and put it on a barge.”
Provosts’ success is undeniable. He has helped remove 21 vessels since December 2021 using no government dollars, all volunteer contributions, but he has now applied for a new vessel removal fund of $3 million administered by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.
“The Vessel Disposal and Reuse Foundation has applied for $269,000 to pay for the removal of 18 vessels in Virginia Beach.”
With the potential of a VMRC cooperation, Provost is encouraged he will be able to remove even more vessels from the waterways.
“We have a great opportunity to be partners right now. I look forward to working with them and receiving state funding. We can have an even greater environmental impact.”
Provost also wants boat owners to turn in a vessel instead of abandoning it.
“Right now, I have 1,200 signatures calling for the establishment of the Voluntary Turn in Program to give owners the opportunity to turn in vessels instead of abandoning them.”
WAVY has spent a lot of time reporting the huge successes Provost has made in showing one man can make a difference.
“So, the exposure WAVY has given VDRF has been incredibly important. It has helped get the message out. It is helping bring in new donors and corporate sponsors and we really couldn’t have done the job without WAVY 10.”
WAVY asked the VMRC to send us a statement about the new program that was funded by order of the Virginia General Assembly and made possible by efforts from Delegate Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach).
“The Virginia Marine Resources Commission was selected by legislation as the administrator of abandoned and derelict vessel removal funds. This funding is to address the large marine debris issue of abandoned and derelict vessels in the waterways of the Commonwealth. VMRC has created an ADV grant program manual, application process and website to administer these funds for issuance to localities. VMRC is requesting proposals from localities to reimburse or pay for the removal of ADVs that present a navigational, environmental or safety hazard to our public waterways. We are working closely with localities to complete our first pilot agreement for the removal and disposal of over 25 vessels and look forward to meeting the needs of other localities to assist with these waterway hazards.
For more information, please contact Rachael Peabody at Rachael.firstname.lastname@example.org or our agency website at https://mrc.virginia.gov/advgrant.shtm.VMRC statement