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Environmental Stewardship News

Posted on: June 23, 2023

County’s Derelict Vessel Program Seeks Community Support to Minimize Impacts of Neglected Boats

Environmental Stewardship

SAN JUAN COUNTY, WA. June 23, 2023 – San Juan County’s Derelict Vessel Program strives to minimize the impacts of derelict vessels throughout the county. By working closely with the public, local authorities, and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the program seeks to address and mitigate the problems caused by abandoned, forgotten, or neglected boats. The County asks that residents and visitors work together to minimize the harm derelict vessels can cause to our communities and to our marine environment.

In an emergency:

If you see a vessel that is sinking, adrift, or releasing pollutants into the water, Call 9-1-1.

The Derelict Vessel Program has  successfully  mitigated  multiple threats posed by derelict and abandoned boats, thanks in part to the responsive support of  local contractors including Towline Marine Assist, LLC -TowBoatU.S. Over the past four years, San Juan County has led the response to and removal of 25 vessels. These efforts are costly and partially funded by the Department of Natural Resources through the State’s boat registration fees. 

Year

No. of Vessels Removed

Locations

Costs

2019

2

 

East Sound

Friday Harbor

$17,648

 

2020

10

Friday Harbor (5)

Roche Harbor

Mosquito Pass

Blind Bay

Sylvan Cove

West Sound

$154,840

2021

4

Friday Harbor (3)

East Sound

$71,660

2022

4

Haro Strait

Blind Bay

Aleck Bay

Obstruction Pass

$124,857

2023 thru May

5

West Sound

Roche Harbor

Blind Bay

Friday Harbor

Fisherman Bay

$60,000

In a joint effort between the County’s Sheriff’s Office and the Derelict Vessel Program, 14 marine patrols have been conducted since March 2021. Five boats identified in patrols as neglected or abandoned have since been removed from the water and the County is currently monitoring 30 vessels of concern.

The County asks the public to help identify potential derelict vessels before they require a costly response and removal.

In a non-emergency:

Additional resources are available:  

  1. View the Derelict Vessels in San Juan County VIDEO to find out the harm these derelict vessels can cause to our community and our marine environment, and what you can do to help prevent this. (youtube.com/watch?v=QYvUmuWpZBc
  2. Do you own or know someone that owns a potentially derelict boat? To participate in the WA Department of Natural Resources Vessel Turn-in Program please refer to the Application at: dnr.wa.gov/programs-and-services/aquatics/derelict-vessels/vessel-turn-program

About San Juan County’s Department of Environmental Stewardship   

San Juan County’s Department of Environmental Stewardship is responsible for solid waste, marine resources, clean water, cultural resources, and climate and sustainability work.  The department offices are located at 1609 Beaverton Valley Road, Friday Harbor, WA 98250. For more information about San Juan County’s Department of Environmental Stewardship, visit www.sanjuanco.com/839/Environmental-Stewardship.

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