What Happens To Abandoned Boats


Boats are striking vessels, both due to their magnificent nature and the array of uses they bestow to people. Like all things, however, they wear out, rendering them out of service. While some boats are given a sense of new life by being recycled and repurposed, most of these watercraft are abandoned at the end of their journey or left to rust into oblivion. Here, discover the reasons behind the neglect and the fate of abandoned boats.

Abandoned Boat, Derelict Boat

Boats through out history have become derelict or abandoned due to different reasons. The most common cause is financial hardship. Owners often confront expensive costs on boat repairs or have a vessel that is diminishing in value or lost its appeal. As they can no longer afford or wish to care for them, they decide to jilt these boats away. Thus, also preventing any fee worth thousands of dollars for the disposal.

These owners are even crafty, as they often alter or file off registry names and numbers to leave themselves and boats untraceable. Plus, they abandon boats on crowded harbors to mask the “neglect” or lay them ashore on creek banks, treating those areas like dumping grounds.

Whichever reason or method of abandonment, these derelict vessels create various serious problems to the environment, such as pollution and water quality degradation. Fuels leaks and materials deteriorate, causing the contamination of the water.

Abandoned Boat drifted ashore

Moreover, abandoned boats pose safety and navigational hazards for responsible boaters by blocking away the waterways. Not to mention that they can also damage if they shove any public or private property while adrift or hit any underwater structure when they sink. And lastly, forsaken vessels also affect the aesthetic appeal of the area.

Though there is no national data on the number of abandoned boats, authorities are worried that the issue will continue to grow in the years to come with financial stress and unemployment rates also keep on increasing. With that, several have already created laws against derelict boats to prevent them from getting a flotilla of these abandoned vessels in the future.

For instance, Oregon has an abandoned and derelict vessel (ADV) program under the Oregon State Marine Board. The law gives the authority to OSMB to investigate, remove, store, salvage, and dispose of abandoned boats from state waters and lands. However, it does not cover those vessels left on private property, which needs to undergo a different procedure governed by the abandoned property laws. Nevertheless, under the ADV program, the derelict boat’s last title owner will be held responsible for all the expenses brought by the removal, seizure, storage, and disposal of the vessel.

Wrecked boat on land

Getting a boat entails a lot of responsibility. If you have one, you can do lots of ways so you won’t need to “desert” them in the future, which can cause massive problems to the surroundings, property, and people or lead to even heftier penalties.

Ensure that your boat is journey-worthy and is always in good working condition, free from marine fouling and corrosion. Have it hull cleaned at least once every year using non-abrasive material, and change the boat zincs. If you have extra money to spend, consider getting insurance, which can be pretty handy in the event of accidents or unexpected repairs.

Derelict boat ashore

If your boat has lost its appeal for you, you can sell it in the secondhand market and find someone who might still prefer the vessel. Should you get a deal, ensure that the boat will be going to a responsible owner and secure the ownership transfer. That way, you can save yourself from any accountability if the new owner abandons the boat down the road.

Lastly, plan the end-of-life of your vessel. You can check out different boat disposal options, including properly throwing its hazardous materials, recycling its metals and other valuable parts, or bringing it to a salvage shop or landfill for proper dumping.

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