Abandoned boats are a big deal

Published 6:42 pm Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A while back, the Daily News covered an issue that has been a problem, and continues to be a problem today. The reason it continues to be a problem is because there is no clear resolution; there is no governing agency that either can or is willing to take responsibility for policing abandoned and derelict vessels in local waterways.

Those abandoned vessels aren’t very attractive, which, on the average day, is the main issue people may have with them. But these aren’t average days and tomorrow and the following days are not going to be average days either.

What happens with a boat left at anchor and subjected to a storm surge and tropical-storm force winds? What happens when those winds produce waves more suitable to sounds and oceans, not the Pamlico River?

Those boats break free of their anchors. Those boats become destructive forces that can take out infrastructure such as piers and bridges. They become battering rams powered by the force of the waves. Combined with a massive storm surge, the destruction could very well extend to structures one would not normally associate with boats. For example, several boats anchored on the Pamlico River off of Washington Park could break free of their anchors; with the predicted storm surge they could very well become threats to houses near Havens Gardens — to people’s homes.

That abandoned boats are a sad sight is not a big deal. That they can become, under the right circumstances, a nature-wielded weapon that destroys personal property, is.

A hurricane or tropical storm is bad enough. It does not need to be magnified by runaway boats and the irresponsibility of their owners.

Let’s hope it doesn’t take actual destruction of government or personal property to address this problem that exists across the waterways of Beaufort County.