Abandoned boats find a taker

In conjunction with the NNYPD’s Harbor Unit, Councilman Jimmy Vacca recently led a clean up effort that removed approximately 25 beached boats from the City Island and Rodman’s Neck shoreline. - Photo by Walter Pofeldt

After a struggle to find an agency to support his efforts to clean up the Bronx shoreline of beached boats, Councilman Jimmy Vacca finally gained a hand from the New York City Police Department’s Harbor Unit.

Specifically targeting City Island and the nearby shores of Rodman’s Neck, through assistance from NYPD Borough Commander Thomas Purtell, Vacca said the agency was able to remove approximately 25 abandoned boats from the local waterways.

“It’s been a bureaucratic nightmare trying to get most of these boats removed,” Vacca said, explaining that no city, state or federal agency was willing to take responsibility for the many miles of New York’s shoreline.

Unfortunately, he added, with the skyrocketing price of gas, and climbing insurance rates, boaters find it much more affordable to leave their boats behind for someone else to claim.

Vacca said of the boats removed, none could be traced back to their owners, leaving them property of whoever deemed them a hazard.

Concern sets in with warmer weather resulting in more swimmers and boaters consistently entering the waterways. With sunken and beached boats throughout the area, there’s a drastic increase in probable accidents, Vacca said.

Thanks to recent efforts from the NYPD he added, “They stepped up to the plate. Now the waterways will be much less obstructed.”

The cleanup came just one month after Edgewater Park co-op manager John Walker had a 30-foot sunken sailboat removed from waters nearby.

It was the fourth boat to have washed up along the shoreline in the last five years and after contacting various agencies, Walker states it was Dockmasters, a company that contracts from the Department of Small Business Services, that finally lent him a hand.   

Walker credited the councilman for helping him reach out to Dockmasters last month, but worried about others facing similar circumstances. 

Noting that he had a truck and crew help him rid his property of the boat once Dockmasters brought the vessel to the surface, Walker said of those without such manpower, “What’s [a homeowner on City Island] going to do with a beached boat?”

Vacca hopes to have some answers. 

The councilman plans to continue work on legislation that will allocate responsibility for the New York coastline.

“It’s very important to us that our shores be kept free of debris and other dangerous impediments,” said Vacca. 

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