There is something horrific about a sunken boat. It just rubs me the wrong way, and saddens me too. I grew up in New England, a place where a derelict boat is a rare sight. Every once in a great while you may come across a vessel washed up on shore, but never one that is washed up on shore and abandoned for what looks like years. We started seeing them in Alabama. Not a lot. Maybe one or two. Storm damage, we reasoned. Must be. But when we got to Florida not a day went by that we didn’t see at least a dozen.
They are everywhere. In the anchorages, the mooring fields, docks, and even in the marinas. They line the shore, marring its beauty.
In most states, boats must be titled just like cars, they have hull identification numbers similar to vehicle identification numbers, and they must be registered and display registration numbers and a dated sticker, also like cars. Ownership can be easily traced.
In a perfect world, the authorities would contact the owner and order them to deal with it. But what if they can’t deal with it?
It’s such a shame. No wonder so many residents of the state of Florida are against anchoring in open waters.
I was talking to a fellow boater about this problem. He pointed across the waterway to a small sailboat that was half underwater.
“When I was younger, that was my dream boat. Not that particular sailboat but one exactly like it. I saved for many years until finally I was able to buy her. It was a banner day in my life and I enjoyed her for many years. I actually sold it to buy this boat. I look out my window and see that poor vessel just wasting away out there. Part of me is outraged. There must be someone out there who could take that beautiful boat and return it to sailing condition. Look. It still has all of its rigging.”
He was upset. I could see it in his eyes. How could you not care? I don’t even live here and I care too. Maybe changes in the laws are needed. I don’t know. I don’t have the answer, and until there is one, I’m afraid derelict boats will remain part of the southern waterway scenery. SOCOBO 4/27/18