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Old 04-08-2013
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Are abandoned boats a big problem in the U.S?

Hello everyone,
I am from Denmark (Europe) and over here, we are starting to see abandoned boats in our marinas.
Typically smaller (but up to around 30') GRP boats from the 70'es.
They leave the marina/Club with several problems, besides taking up Space and leaving a sad impression on the Whole harbour.

How is this in the U.S. is it a major problem, and if so, have you found any good ways to deal with it?
I guess that like here, it is not easy to just take ownership of someone elses boat, even though he/she is dead or just don't care about it anymore.
And if you get ownership, what do you do with it?
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: Are abandoned boats a big problem in the U.S?

I have to snap some pictures in the boat yards full of sail and powerboats that have not moved in 15 to 20 years

And the gravel yards on town line road full of powerboats that will never see the water again as well as the ones in driveways here and there

The best time to see reality is late May early to early June at which point nothing else is getting launched

The problem with all the boats is the cost to bring it back to life exceeds the value by a large amount and the cost for a boatyard to take possession and pay for disposal is much higher than leaving them in a pile in the corner
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: Are abandoned boats a big problem in the U.S?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommays View Post
I have to snap some pictures in the boat yards full of sail and powerboats that have not moved in 15 to 20 years

And the gravel yards on town line road full of powerboats that will never see the water again as well as the ones in driveways here and there

The best time to see reality is late May early to early June at which point nothing else is getting launched

The problem with all the boats is the cost to bring it back to life exceeds the value by a large amount and the cost for a boatyard to take possession and pay for disposal is much higher than leaving them in a pile in the corner
Exactly. They are no longer "boats" they are boat shaped rubbish.

I recently watched an episode of "Shipwreck Men" on TV which is yet another reality series. They followed a few different tow/salvage companies in FL. I watched what they went through to recover a 34-36' trawler than had been allowed to run aground and sit derilect for years. It was defintely an expensive proposition to haul the boat off the beach, tow it to be hauled out and trucked for demolition. However, I was surprised at how quickly it was then rendered into landfill sized pieces, by smashing it with a tractor blade in a purpose built bay to keep everything contained until time to scoop it in to a dumptruck for dispoasal. Much quicker than chainsawing into managable bits.

I think it would make sense to have some sort of facility to strip the salvageable parts and dispose of boat carcasses at some of the larger boat yards to reduce the logistical challenge and cost of disposing of boats that have outlived their usefullness. Some owners might be willing to foot the bill to eliminate the ongoing storage costs and it would reduce the cost of disposing of derelicts removed by marinas or state agencies.
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: Are abandoned boats a big problem in the U.S?

Unfortunately it is. I doubt the economic situation in the last 5-8 years has really helped, either.

The yard we just got out of was filled with them and some of them are really large. I swear there was a 60 ft powerboat that looks like it had been sitting there for years without ever being touched. There were a number of smaller sailboats that are in the same situation and that's just in the yard, not the marina next door.

It's not JUST boats though. Walk around your local airport, car shop, a few back yards, and you'll find airplanes/cars/power boats/motorcycles/whatever that have been derelict for 20+ years and absolutely no hope of returning from their condition. I never came to a conclusion as to why people allowed it to happen to objects that were, in some cases, bought for serious money and left to rot. The best theory I've come to is that people become emotionally attached to the object or the idea of that object, buy it, then refuse to let go when they no longer care enough to maintain it or lose the ability to maintain it (finances, physically, etc). They keep holding onto the idea of getting back out there and sailing or restoring the boat, but never actually do it. As time goes on, it gets worse and all of a sudden the work and $$ involved just isn't worth it anymore and she lies forgotten in the yard.

Then there are folks that buy it for novelty and never really take care of it or know what they are getting into. I looked at one Albin Vega last year with real interest. The guy that owned it was a very nice gentleman, but he had let the boat go over the past few years. The forces of neglect showed hard, high moisture readings in the deck, hull delamination, cockpit sole had rotted, just about everything you wouldn't want to find on a boat you were buying. It became an instructional point for me actually being able to see these things in person rather than in pictures or descriptions. It's sad to say, but the boat needs to be scrapped.

It's a sad thing, but I've determined it's a result of human traits. The number of rotting/derelict boats in the marina is going to increase as time goes on, so at this point it becomes less about reducing the number and more about how do you get rid of them cheaply to free up space.
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: Are abandoned boats a big problem in the U.S?

I wonder why so few old boats are offered 'free to a good home'? You could salvage a lot of stuff from them.
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: Are abandoned boats a big problem in the U.S?

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Originally Posted by krisscross View Post
I wonder why so few old boats are offered 'free to a good home'? You could salvage a lot of stuff from them.
I've not evaluated this, but I often wonder if the cost of disposal would exceed the value of what I'd get off the boat.

There are a few yards around here that do salvage stuff and have a yard full of booms, railing, masts, and so forth from salvaged boats. I imagine the cost/value for an individual wouldn't be high, though.
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: Are abandoned boats a big problem in the U.S?

Seems like the the biggest cost item would be transportation. A lot of stuff can be sold for scrap metal value if nothing else. An aluminum mast alone would bring a lot of coin, same with lead ballast. Cutting up fiberglass is quite easy.
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: Are abandoned boats a big problem in the U.S?

Yes, expensive problem.
The Log Newspaper | California Boating & Fishing News - L-A--County-Sheriff-s-Department-Gets--67-000-for-Derelict-Vessel-Disposal
The Log Newspaper | California Boating & Fishing News - State-Senate-Bill-Would-Foster-Free-Vessel-Disposal
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: Are abandoned boats a big problem in the U.S?

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Originally Posted by Shinook View Post
I've not evaluated this, but I often wonder if the cost of disposal would exceed the value of what I'd get off the boat.

There are a few yards around here that do salvage stuff and have a yard full of booms, railing, masts, and so forth from salvaged boats. I imagine the cost/value for an individual wouldn't be high, though.
The problem is the disposal of the fiberglass. The landfills in our area have become quite expensive, and actually discourage individuals from bringing in loads of trash. We pay by the weight of the material with a hefty minimum, and I seriously doubt if I could break even...
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: Are abandoned boats a big problem in the U.S?

The other issue for boatyards, is that some states make it harder than others to take ownership than others. Then you have all the various fees and expenses involved, in some places it can require a trip to the local courthouse and court fees.
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