BoatUS Foundation opens $7.5m funding to remove derelict vessels

Derelict sailboat just outside Beaufort Harbor. BoatUS Foundation NOAA Grant to remove derelict vessels and fishing nets from Beaufort Harbor in Beaufort, North Carolina. November 2018 working with TowBoatUS Beaufort © BoatUS Foundation A derelict sailboat just outside Beaufort Harbour. Images courtesy of BoatUS Foundation

The Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS) Foundation has opened a call for projects to be funded as it examines ways to remove abandoned and neglected boats from the nation’s waterways.

The massive cleanup effort to remove abandoned and derelict vessels (ADV) from US coastal waterways and the Great Lakes is fuelled by a four-year, $10m grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, with funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Organisations are invited to apply for grant funding from 10 to 12 August to clean up their local waterways.

ADVs litter ports, waterways and estuaries nationwide and can cause major problems. These boats can crush or smother sensitive plants and corals, sink or move during coastal storms, threaten safe navigation, and contribute to economic losses.

Derelict concrete sailboats await transfer to the landfill on the TowBoatUS lot. BoatUS Foundation NOAA Grant to remove derelict vessels and fishing nets from Beaufort Harbor in Beaufort, North Carolina. November 2018 working with TowBoatUS Beaufort - photo © BoatUS Foundation
Derelict concrete sailboats await transfer to the landfill on the TowBoatUS lot.

Removing ADVs is a costly effort, often averaging more than $24,000 to remove a single boat, according to the foundation. For many communities, there may be no local funding for the removal of vessels, and navigating complicated funding programs can be challenging for communities with limited time or resources.

“We’re excited about building upon our years of experience with ADV removals,” said BoatUS Foundation director of outreach and grant programme director Alanna Keating. “This is a unique programme that is open to any organisation, nonprofit or for-profit, as well as local, state, territorial, tribal, and regional government agencies. Some of our focus will be seeking underserved or marginalised communities that don’t have the local resources to rid their shores of abandoned and derelict vessels.”

Nancy Wallace, director of the NOAA Marine Debris Programme, adds: “Abandoned and derelict vessels are a widespread problem across the United States. We are pleased to partner with the BoatUS Foundation to maximise our impact while reducing the accumulation of costly and damaging debris in our ports, waterways, and coasts.”

The goal of the BoatUS Foundation programme is to improve US. coastal and Great Lakes waters affected by ADVs and create a first-of-its-kind national online database to track ADV location and removal efforts.

BoatUS Foundation says that by removing the associated pollution, navigation and safety hazards ADVs can cause in waters for years, the 20-75 awardees of this grant programme will have a lasting, positive impact on the environment and our waters locally and nationally for years to come.

The foundation says priority will be given to projects that include input from and benefit tribal, underserved, or low-income communities; demonstrate strong community support; benefit marine animals and their habitats, local coastal communities, and/or local economies; and include local outreach and education activities directed toward the boating community and general public to prevent abandoned and derelict vessels.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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