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Abandoned Vessels
Delta Abandoned Vessels
Abandoned vesselAbandoned vessels in the Delta are a major problem for everyone as they create navigation and environmental hazards. Consider the pollution that comes from one abandoned boat that sinks - oil, fuel, antifreeze, and many synthetic and often toxic materials the boat itself is made of. Not only do these harmful substances destroy fish habitat and our drinking water quality, but the blight and dangers that come from sunken boats put boaters at great safety risks.

Legal penalties are substantial for those caught abandoning a boat -- including stiff fines, liens on your property and possibly jail.

Solutions to Abandoned Vessels
Please don't donate or sell a boat that is in a poor state of disrepair; instead have it removed from the water. Donated or recently sold boats in poor condition often become abandoned and sink. If you do sell your vessel, make sure it is transferred to the new owner. You could be held responsible for potential penalties - even if you filled out the release of liability.

The Best Approach Recommended by the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Marine Patrol
  1. Remove the vessel from the water. Check with your local dump or transfer station. They often take boats if the hazardous materials are removed.
  2. If you do not have the means to remove and haul the vessel to a dump or transfer station, contact your local sheriff marine patrol. A new law is the works (AB 1950) that could help you get rid of that unwanted boat by "turning it in to your local sheriff for disposal". Call your local marine patrol for more information.

In the Water Action to Deal with Abandoned Vessels in the Delta
Abandoned VesselThe Contra Costa County Sheriff's Marine Patrol has been in the abandoned vessel removal business since 1997 and without their diligent work the Delta would be littered with hundreds of sunken vessels. A new local ordinance has proven to be pivotal in their efforts to institute legal measure that facilitate the removal of abandoned vessels in Contra Costa County.

Other counties are also in the process of adopting similar ordinances (including San Joaquin, Sacramento, and Solano Counties) to ensure there is a regional and shared approach to abating the impacts of abandoned vessels.

Report abandoned or sinking vessels in the Delta to your local marine patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard (at Rio Vista).

Photos by Betty Yee

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