Don’t Neglect Your Boat

Boats can age too. Maintain your boat’s fitness and don’t let it wreck your retirement

By Ear to the Ground – From the Washington State Department of Natural Resources website

neglected sailboat

The love affair between people and their watercraft is legendary. Thousands regularly bring their vessels to the shores of Puget Sound and the lakes of the state to work and play—with ski boats, sailboats, touring craft, fishing vessels and more. Many families have worked hard to develop waterfront properties—with permanent or vacation residences. With them have come their watercraft, many of which are moored on buoys along these waters.

This neglected sailboat (pictured in 2009) broke free from its buoy and ended up beached and destroyed after a winter storm. Photo: DNR

Now the baby boom generation and their parents are getting a bit older, and they may not get out on their watercraft as often as they used to.

DNR’s Derelict Vessel Program has found an increasing number of inadvertently neglected vessels moored on buoys along the shoreline. If not tended-to on a regular basis, they are in danger of breaking their moorage during fall storms, sinking due to rot, or swamping as the fall and winter rains manage to get into once-secured covers. Even self-bailing boats will sink if seagulls fill the scuppers with shells.

West SeattleDeliverance’ broke its mooring in a 2006 storm and broke up on a beach in west Seattle. Due to the shallow beach angle, it cost $15,000 remove. Photo: DNR

This is a shame, for not only would these treasured boats be missed by the owners, their families and friends, but they are a risk to the health of watery submerged habitats. Breaking moorage lines or filling with rainwater can lead to the boat washing ashore or sinking, leaking oil and gas, or other hazardous materials and fouling the waters. In addition to environmental damage, a wrecked board can cause financial damage to the family that now has to pay for it to be removed, along with possible fines for causing a pollution event.

But of course it’s not just the ‘baby boomers’…. all vessel owners need to be responsible in the ongoing care of their watercraft.

We urge families to take responsibility for caring for the vessels, so that they don’t become abandoned or derelict. And if a boat is to be left moored to a buoy during the winter gales, double check the mooring, remove gas tanks or other materials when not in use, and generally make everything ship shape for the cooler months ahead.

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Originally posted 2016-01-18 03:52:26.

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