Resident voices concerns with abandoned boats

Published 11:12 pm Saturday, July 6, 2013

Belhaven-area resident Richard Hamilton wants the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners to help him in his effort to remedy the problem of abandoned boats in waters around Belhaven.
Hamilton brought his concerns to the board during its meeting last week. He provided the board with photographs to illustrate what he calls a major problem.
“About 20 years ago, we found a perfect tract of land down on the Pungo River on a little tributary called Jordan Creek. Some of you probably know it. It’s a good fishing place, but don’t tell anybody that,” Hamilton said. “We’ve enjoyed it the whole time we’ve been here. … We do have an issue that’s becoming — it has existed the whole time — it’s becoming worse the last several years. … That’s the issued of abandoned boats, abandoned vessels. There are seven abandoned vessels in Jordan Creek. That’s a creek that’s only about two miles. It’s not a big creek. It’s fairly wide and shallow. These vessels are an eyesore. They’re a nuisance.”
Hamilton said the abandoned boats pose a pollution problem because when they sink their engines will leak fuel and oil into the water. He also said none of the abandoned boats are registered.
Local bills approved by the N.C. General Assembly for Dare and Brunswick allow those counties to prohibit the abandonment of boats in their waters, Hamilton told the board.
“So, those two counties are the only two that have that authority. Maybe we ought to think about adding Beaufort (County) to it. I’ve contacted Sen. (Bill) Cook, and he said it’s a little bit too late in the session. They’re rushing to closure right now. It’s an issue that I think we can look at over the next year. … He’s interested in it,” Hamilton said. “I just wanted you to be thinking about it. I will be back in touch with you. I hope we can move toward some sort of resolution for this problem.”
The board took no action after Hamilton’s remarks, and board members made no statements about the issue.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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