RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University (CVW) and the Virginia Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program are asking for help inventorying abandoned and derelict boats in the commonwealth.
CVW and CZM Program are partnering to inventory abandoned boats. They’re asking marinas and boaters to tell them when they’ve seen boats in such condition.
“Abandoned vessels pose imminent threats to coastal and inland waterways,” explains Katie Register, CVW’s executive director. “Abandoned and unclaimed vessels in waterways create navigation hazards, environmental risks, and economic impacts, which put humans and marine species alike at risk.”
Abandoning a vessel in Virginia is illegal, however, the high cost to dispose of a boat can lead owners to do so anyway.
10 On Your Side has recently covered several cases of abandoned boats in coastal Virginia. In those cases, other groups have pitched in to raise thousands of dollars to remove the boats and secure any environmental hazards.
Boats left to rot can leak harmful chemicals into the water and pose issues for navigation.
Since 2013, the U.S. Coast Guard has documented 170 abandoned and derelict vessels in Virginia waters.
Having a statewide inventory will help resolve the vessels’ threat to the waterways and coasts, according to Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University. The inventory won’t include boats abandoned on land.
To let boaters know the partnership is working to build a statewide inventory, they’re distributing flyers in marinas that ask boaters to use an online form to give the locations and other details about the boats.
“After we create a state-wide inventory, including photos or documentation of the vessels’ current conditions, we can work with authorities and stakeholders to prioritize which vessels to remove as soon as funding becomes available,” said Jeff Flood, coastal planner for the Virginia CZM Program.
“The most important information needed currently is an inventory of vessels in waterways as they are the most difficult to remove, and they pose the greatest risks to the environment and public health,” said Karen Forget, executive director of Lynnhaven River NOW which is a member of the Virginia ADV Work Group. “As this work moves forward, we will be addressing derelict vessels stored on land.”