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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Chesapeake / Central US east coast > Chesapeake Bay
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Old 07-20-2010
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Abandoned Boats litter MD waterways...

Saw a boat in Fairlee Creek last weekend on the shore abandoned...sad sight indeed





From the Baltimore Sun Paper:


Abandoned boats litter Md. waterways, with few resources to remove them

Owners overwhelmed by upkeep, and difficult to track down

"This is dumping on waterways enjoyed by Maryland residents and wildlife," he said. "We should all take it personally when someone infringes on our environment. A responsible owner takes care of the boat from beginning to end, including proper disposal."

In Middle River, Miller and others have repeatedly pinpointed locations for state and county officials hoping those hulks might be hauled away.

"The county has really dropped the ball with these boats that have been problems for years," Miller said.





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A letter to Miller from the county Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management says, "We understand these vessels present a negative aesthetic impact to the community. Unfortunately, they have been a low priority for removal."

"It would only take one strong storm like Hurricane Isabel to push these old boats out into the channel," Miller said.

The county keeps several contract haulers on call and pays an average of $5,000 to remove a derelict boat, Croswell said. But costs go up if a contractor has to bring in cranes and barges. Some boat materials can be recycled, but many of the sodden remains end up in landfills — which accept only small craft that are stripped of engines and hazardous materials.

There are few options for disposing of larger boats.

Miller and Ken Higgins, seasoned boaters who cruise the rivers and creeks in eastern Baltimore County, know where owners have abandoned ships or cast a power cruiser or sailboat adrift to slowly spill its contents into waters where others fish, crab and swim.

"This is not just sad — it's an embarrassment for the boating community," said Miller.

Higgins, who lives on Sue Creek, can easily navigate his 20-foot Scout in the narrow waterways, many surrounded by newly constructed upscale waterfront homes. He can give the location, dimensions and make of most abandoned watercraft.

"I can name at least a dozen just around Middle River," he said.

Rick King, fellow Middle River resident and boater, called the growing number of derelict vessels outrageous.

"They won't let a junk car sit on the road, but a sunken boat can hang around for years," he said. "There are a lot more junked cars than boats."

Miller has lived in his home at the headwaters of Middle River for 12 years, and for nearly all that time he has battled the derelict boat issue. Most of his neighbors on the river are responsible owners who keep well-maintained boats at their piers. Many local residents swim in the shallower end of the river. The waterlogged beams of those three abandoned boats a few hundred yards away could break apart and create havoc for boaters and swimmers, he said.

"Where are the resources to rid the waters of these eyesores and hazards?" Miller asked.

Despite all his lobbying, he does not see the problem ending any time soon.

"This problem has gone on for years," Miller said. "People go into boating on a shoestring without realizing what the upkeep is."



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Last edited by T37Chef; 07-21-2010 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 07-20-2010
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That's really sad. There were some boneyards on land around Deltaville where boats went to die, but I've never seen derelicts in any of the places I've visited on the Chesapeake.

That's why I was pretty upset with the boat that was abandoned down in SC. I have seen many derelicts in SC waters and I don't even have access to a boat there. Just walk the boardwalk in Georgetown SC and you can probably see 4 or 5 within site of the dock. I hate seeing that in my home State and am sad to hear about it starting to happen up here.
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Old 07-21-2010
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Shaun,

What in gods name were you doing in power boat heaven last weekend?
Donna refuses to let me turn in that creek except in October. Last time I was in there I was reminded what Sodom and Gomorrah must have looked like.

Dave
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Dave,

LMAO, I guess IF you go there when its stormy (we were there two weekends ago, remember Saturday into Sunday was rainy and windy) the PB's stay away for the most part . I cant believe I'm saying this but we actually really enjoyed our raft up there. We anchored in about 5 feet of water as far from Great Oaks Tiki Bar as we could. By Sunday afternoon though the drunk PB's started to show up but we were on our way home by 16:00 BTW, we didn't choose Fairlee, our raft up partner did since they got a late start out of Middle River and with the wind conditions out of the West Worton probably wouldn't have been a good choice.

Also, the bottom where we anchored was pretty nice, firm mud with lots of clams, unlike near the inlet where its more silt and kinda gross.
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Old 07-21-2010
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Speaking of this, what ever happened to Distant Star?

Well my day really sucked.
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It would seem that Baltimore and Mary Land (a place which is usually ept and eager to make a buck) are missing an opportunity here. If they'd make an effort to start tracing boats...and even if the HIN is destroyed, they could start by just looking at their own records to see who forgot to renew a registration and then asking where that boat went.

Add a little forensics, confirm who owns a boat, and start by slapping 'em with violations for dumping, polluting, and endangering. They should be able to stick some $10-20,000 in state and federal fines on every "dumper". Once word of that got around, I'd bet things would change.

But of course, it's easier to do nothing, and apparently the folks who live their haven't motivated the folks who are supposed to be doing things like this.

Chef, do you vote there? Know any other voters there? It should be easy enough to convince the critters that they can get good publicity AND ease the budget crunch if they get off their asses and do a little work for you.

Mary Land, the home of "school speed zones" in three places where there are no schools or children--just because they can double speeding fines in a school zone.

What's the penalty for dumping a boat in a school zone, I wonder?
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