Project Seeks to Inventory Abandoned Boats – Smithfield Times

There is a high number of derelict and derelict vessels (ADVs) in Virginia’s waterways. To achieve an accurate inventory of ADVs, Clean Virginia Waterways at Longwood University (CVW) and the Virginia Coastal Zone Management (CZM) program are teaming up to address the issue and are asking marinas and boaters to share information about abandoned boats.

“Abandoned vessels pose imminent threats to coastal and inland waterways,” said Katie Register, CVW’s executive director. “Abandoned and unclaimed vessels in waterways create navigational hazards, environmental risks and economic impacts, which endanger humans and marine species.”

Although it is illegal for boaters to abandon their vessels in Virginia, there are limited and costly options for owners to dispose of their unwanted boats, prompting some boaters to abandon their vessels.

The Virginia Coast Guard Sector has documented 170 ADVs in Virginia since 2013. Having an up-to-date inventory of statewide ADVs in Virginia is the first step in resolving possible threats to the environment, especially for Virginia’s coasts, lakes and inland waterways.

Clean Virginia Waterways distributes flyers to Virginia marinas to publicize the statewide inventory. People who know of abandoned boats in the water are asked to use an online form to provide the current location of the vessel and answer additional questions about the boat (length, color, name, etc.). The inventory will not include boats abandoned on land. The online form for reporting abandoned boats is available at

“After creating a statewide inventory, including photos or documentation of current vessel conditions, we can work with authorities and stakeholders to prioritize which vessels to remove as soon as funding becomes available. “said Jeff Flood, coastal planner for the Virginia CZM. Program.

Some derelict vessels may actively leak harmful chemicals into the aquatic environment or may pose serious threats to the safe navigation of boaters and other members of the public using that body of water, so it is important to identify and to withdraw these boats as soon as possible. mentioned.

“Virginia CZM and its partners are working on solutions that will lead to the prevention of abandoned craft,” he added.

The Virginia CZM program and CVW partnered in 2021 to form a Virginia ADV Task Force to address the growing problem.

“The most important information needed right now is an inventory of vessels in the waterways because they are the hardest to remove and they pose the greatest environmental and public health risks,” said Karen Forget, executive director. of Lynnhaven River NOW, which is a member of the Virginia ADV working group. “As this work progresses, we will deal with abandoned ships stored ashore.”

The Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC) at William & Mary Law School recently published an article titled “Derelict and Abandoned Ships in the Commonwealth:

How to Improve Virginia’s ADV Program,” downloadable from the VCPC website. This science-based legal and policy analysis provides guidance to Virginia policymakers, government officials, and business and nonprofit leaders on the complex issue.

For more information, visit

Earnest A. Martinez