RICHMOND, Va. - A lot of boats have been abandoned in Virginia's waterways. Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University (CVW) and the Virginia Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program are partnering to address this issue by asking marinas and boaters across the state to share information about abandoned boats.
In February, News 3 told you about neglected boats left to rot in our waterways in Virginia Beach, creating not just an eyesore, but also environmental and safety concerns. The Vessel Disposal and Reuse Foundation (VRDF) took action to get the derelict vessels cleaned up, hosting a fundraiser to raise money needed to remove four boats from the Lynnhaven River.
“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,” she continued.
While it's illegal for boaters to abandon their vessels in the Commonwealth, there are limited and expensive options for people to dispose of their unwanted boats, which contributes to the problem.
The United States Coast Guard Sector Virginia has documented 170 abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) in Virginia since 2013. According to CVW, having an updated statewide inventory of ADVs in Virginia is the first step to resolving possible threats to the environment, especially to the Commonwealth's coasts, lakes and inland waterways.
The organization is currently giving out flyers to marinas around the state to raise awareness about this inventory. If you're aware of abandoned boats in the water, you're encouraged to fill out this online form.
After the creation of a statewide inventory, which would include photos or documentation of the vessels' current conditions, the organizations will be able to work with authorities and stakeholders to prioritize which vessels to remove as soon as funding is available, says Jeff Flood, coastal planner for the Virginia CZM Program.
The Virginia CZM Program and CVW partnered in 2021 to form a Virginia ADV Work Group to address this growing problem.