Isle of Wight County targets derelict boats

Published 11:05 am Wednesday, November 29, 2017

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

RUSHMERE — Isle of Wight County has been trying to get boat owners to remove their vessels from Tyler’s Beach boat harbor.

The county sent notification letters out to owners to relocate, but not everyone has been quick to comply, according to County Administrator Randy Keaton.

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“Some of the people, we’ve had trouble getting acknowledgment they’ve received their letters,” said Keaton to the Board of Supervisors at its November meeting.

The next step is to place orange stickers onto the remaining crafts “to formally notify” owners to move, said Keaton, “and then in that period of time we’ll start removing some of these vessels that are sunk or otherwise inoperable.”

Newport District Supervisor William McCarty asked whether the cost of removing the crafts would fall on the county.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

County Attorney Mark Popovich said that ideally, the expenses would be charged to the last registered owner of the boat being removed. However, a complication is that some of the boats docked do not have registration numbers on them, so there is uncertainty as to ownership, according to Popovich.

“We may have to ‘eat it,’” Popovich said of the cost of removing the boats, but noted that if Isle of Wight steps up enforcing the permitting rules and regulation of the harbor, the county won’t have to deal with an issue like this in the future.

Keaton said the issue is comparable to someone dumping trash on county property. Some of the ships, he said, will have to be broken up and hauled away in a dumpster.

As of Monday, one dock was a disorderly sight, a veritable graveyard of watercrafts, most of them chipped, rusted and half submerged under the muddy shore, seemingly abandoned long ago. The right-side dock facing the water bears the brunt of the wreckage, at least 15 decaying vessels clustered up against it, with faded names like “Mary Ann,” “Miss Barbara L,” “Nikki J,” and “Brown eyed girl” adorning their sides. Trash was strewn about their insides, wires and engines exposed.

The parallel dock is more active and considerably more organized, watermen finishing up a day’s work as the sun began to set Nov. 27.

The county has already identified possible contractors to extract the abandoned vessels from the dock, according to Keaton.

“If we’re going to do it, we’re going to do several at a time, rather than one at a time,” Keaton said of removing the boats.

The county budgeted $180,000 in its Capital Improvement Plan for developments at Tyler’s Beach this year.

The current annual user fee for the Tyler’s Beach Boat Harbor is $250, and includes use of electricity at the harbor.  {/mprestriction}