Officials Frustrated by Abandoned Sunken Boats in Mid-Columbia
Benton, Franklin County officials, and Columbia Basin Dive Rescue as well as the Coast Guard, have been a little busy lately with sunken boats just left on the bottom of our rivers.
According to Coast Guard officials, at least three boats have recently been recovered from the waters of the Columbia and Yakima Rivers, and were apparently abandoned by the owners.
Columbia Basin Dive Rescue, the Coast Guard and county officials have had to spend considerable money and time resources recovering these boats, and they're not little rowboats, either.
Thursday morning, the Coast Guard spotted a sunken 18-footer that was raised and towed to Clover Island. Officials believe it may have just been abandoned, and the heavy rain recently caused it to go to the bottom.
Newstalk 870 reported in 2014 that new laws put in place by Attorney General Bob Ferguson are designed to deal with hundreds of derelict vessels that have been abandoned in Washington waterways. An Oregon man was charged and convicted in connection with an abandoned fishing vessel that sank in the Columbia near Finley.
Now, these laws mainly deal with larger vessels, but would still apply if these smaller boats leaked fuel or oil and contaminated the water. The owners could still face consequences for abandoning their boat.
Officials stress that owners do have new options and help in case they've got a boat they want to get rid of. New programs from the Department of Natural resources will help owners get rid of older decaying vessels that are no longer wanted.
It's far better, they say, than just letting them sink in the river, where the could cause navigation or other hazards to boaters and swimmers.