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Old 04-11-2009, 06:15 AM
1,126 posts, read 2,500,177 times
Reputation: 567


MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — Boat owners are abandoning ship.
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Brett Flashnick for The New York Times
Gary Santos, a Mount Pleasant, S.C., councilman, checks a state notice on a forsaken sailboat.

They often sandpaper over the names and file off the registry numbers, doing their best to render the boats, and themselves, untraceable. Then they casually ditch the vessels in the middle of busy harbors, beach them at low tide on the banks of creeks or occasionally scuttle them outright.
The bad economy is creating a flotilla of forsaken boats. While there is no national census of abandoned boats, officials in coastal states are worried the problem will only grow worse as unemployment and financial stress continue to rise. Several states are even drafting laws against derelicts and say they are aggressively starting to pursue delinquent owners.
“Our waters have become dumping grounds,” said Maj. Paul R. Ouellette of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “It’s got to the point where something has to be done.”
Derelict boats are environmental and navigational hazards, leaking toxins and posing obstacles for other craft, especially at night. Thieves plunder them for scrap metal. In a storm, these runabouts and sailboats, cruisers and houseboats can break free or break up, causing havoc.
Some of those disposing of their boats are in the same bind as overstretched homeowners: they face steep payments on an asset that is diminishing in value and decide not to continue. They either default on the debt or take bolder measures.
Marina and maritime officials around the country say they believe, however, that most of the abandoned vessels cluttering their waters are fully paid for. They are expensive-to-maintain toys that have lost their appeal.
The owners cannot sell them, because the secondhand market is overwhelmed. They cannot afford to spend hundreds of dollars a month mooring and maintaining them. And they do not have the thousands of dollars required to properly dispose of them.
When Brian A. Lewis of Seattle tried to sell his boat, Jubilee, no one would pay his asking price of $28,500. Mr. Lewis told the police that maintaining the boat caused “extreme anxiety,” which led him to him drill a two-inch hole in Jubilee’s hull last March.
The boat sank in Puget Sound, and Mr. Lewis told his insurance company it was an accident. His scheme came undone when the state, seeking to prevent environmental damage, raised Jubilee. Mr. Lewis pleaded guilty last week to insurance fraud.
While there are no reliable national statistics on boating fraud, Todd Schwede, an insurance investigator in San Diego, said the number of suspicious cases he was handling had roughly tripled in the last year, to around 70.
In many cases, he said, the boater is following this logic: “I am overinsured on this boat. If I make it go away so no one will find it, the insurance company will give me enough to cover the debt and I’ll make something on the deal as well.”
Lt. David Dipre, who coordinates Florida’s derelict vessel program, said the handful of owners he had managed to track down were guilty more of negligence than fraud. “They say, ‘I had a dream of sailing around the world, I just never got around to it.’ Then they have some bad times and they leave it to someone else to clean up the mess,” Lieutenant Dipre said.
Florida officials say they are moving more aggressively to track down owners and are also starting to unclog the local inlets, harbors, swamps and rivers. The state appropriated funds to remove 118 derelicts this summer, up from only a handful last year.
In South Carolina, four government investigators started canvassing the state’s waterways in January. They quickly identified 150 likely derelicts.
“There are a lot more than we thought there would be,” said Lt. Robert McCullough of the state Department of Natural Resources. “There were a few boats that have always been there, and now all of a sudden they’ve added up and added up.”
In January, it became illegal in South Carolina to abandon a boat on a public waterway. Violators can be fined $5,000 and jailed for 30 days.
“We never needed a law before,” said Gary Santos, a Mount Pleasant councilman.

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Old 04-11-2009, 09:34 AM
Location: Ocean Shores, WA
5,081 posts, read 13,485,733 times
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My heart bleeds for these poor souls who can no longer afford their luxury yachts.

We had better give them some bailout money quick before they have to give up their top hats and diamond studded walking sticks.
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Old 04-11-2009, 09:38 AM
Location: San Diego
39,581 posts, read 35,469,549 times
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I don't feel sorry for the people that bought over their heads with houses nor with expensive vessels. Boohoo
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Old 04-11-2009, 03:42 PM
48,508 posts, read 87,646,427 times
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If you could salvage those boats and dry dock them tehy would be worht a fortune when the deamnd comes back after the recession.Like te SUV when gas prices dropped people will go right back to buying them except those that are ruined by the recession that is.Same thing happened in teh 70's.
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Old 04-11-2009, 08:31 PM
69,360 posts, read 58,059,098 times
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You'd think they'd donate them to a non profit for a tax write off or something.

Anyone thinking of leaving their boat.. pm me I'm looking for a nice one, way below market value..
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Old 04-11-2009, 08:43 PM
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
35,848 posts, read 45,994,259 times
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Happens every time there's a downturn.
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Old 04-12-2009, 12:13 AM
Location: Heartland Florida
9,324 posts, read 24,557,068 times
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They dumped a boat close to my home. I am so tempted to pull the Diesel engine for my generator to be ready for hurricane season.

If they want to sink their boat why don't they just do it in the open ocean? A few miles offshore in a thunderstorm and the problem is solved. Also a fuel leak can turn a boat into an inferno in no time.
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Old 04-12-2009, 12:50 AM
27,235 posts, read 55,630,458 times
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The problem is there is no good way to dispose of most boats.

Local marina had a few that were abandoned. They used a lift to bring a few onshore and then cut them up into small pieces and used a tractor to compact before placing in dumpsters. They also had to deal with the hazardous materials separately.

The cost was 3 to 4k per boat and these were small boats. I think they stopped because there were environmental issues that came up.
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Old 04-12-2009, 07:44 AM
Location: USA
3,966 posts, read 9,756,361 times
Reputation: 2215
I would gladly take one of their hands and sell it to my dad, he needs a good fishing boat.
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Old 04-12-2009, 08:04 AM
Location: Where the sun likes to shine!!
20,544 posts, read 27,456,387 times
Reputation: 88763
That's what happens when people live beyond their means. If you can't pay cash for the "extras" than you shouldn't have them.
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