Abandoned boats and vessels pose environmental risks and create hazards for navigation. On February 10, 2021, NYC Parks Chief of Waterfront and Marine Operations Nate Grove and City Council Member Mark Gjonaj removed the first of three abandoned boats from the Pelham Bay Park shoreline.
Pelham Bay Park is the City’s largest park property with a 13-mile saltwater shoreline. The area is home to a multitude of plant and animal life. These abandoned boats pose a threat to the area and the environment by washing onto shore. The boats may become dislodged during weather events and pose threats to property by causing navigation issues. Over 350 boats have been removed over the past five years and around 600 abandoned boats remain. Due to the removal of serial numbers and the lack of a requirement to have boaters insurance in New York, the owners of abandoned boats have been difficult to track to pay for the removal. The removal and disposal of a single boat costs around $7,000.
This removal was made possible by a $20,000 allocation from Council Member Gjonaj and a $3,000 allocation from the Department of Parks and Recreation. New Yorkers who spot abandoned boats on public land or water can report the location of the boat for removal by calling 311.
Council Member Mark Gjonaj stated, “In addition to protecting the environmental integrity of our shoreline and removing dangerous obstacles from those traversing our waters, removing this abandoned vessel also increases our storm resiliency. The health of our parks and shoreline are inextricably linked to the health of our community at large.”
NYC Parks Chief of Waterfront and Marine Operations Nate Grove stated, “As the stewards of 160 miles of shoreline, more than 30% of the city’s total shoreline, we are acutely aware of the environmental and public safety hazards derelict abandoned vessels and other marine debris pose. We are pleased to play a lead role in addressing these issues and appreciate the support of Council Member Gjonaj in this effort here today.”
By: Patrick McNeill (Patrick is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)