Sunken and abandoned boat at Kirkland’s Marina Park (Photo Credit: King County Sheriff’s Office)

Sunken and abandoned boat at Kirkland’s Marina Park (Photo Credit: King County Sheriff’s Office)

Abandoned boats in waterways are a ‘regional challenge,’ says King County Sheriff’s Office

Spokesperson says expensive and time-consuming boat recoveries happen about 20 times a year.

People are abandoning their poorly cared-for boats in the Puget Sound and nearby lakes — and getting them out is difficult and expensive, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.

On Jan. 13, KCSO’s Marine Rescue Dive Unit responded to a 36-foot Chris-Craft boat built in 1962 that had sunk into the waters of Kirkland’s Marina Park following the windy conditions of the mid-January windstorm.

Sgt. Rich Barton said the sheriff’s department responds to incidents of abandoned and derelict vessels about 20 times a year. Many boat owners realize the cost of owning a boat — and leave their vessel unattended and uncared for.

He said demographically, individuals that abandon their vessels are often people who cannot afford boats, or perhaps purchased a cheap used boat without realizing the cost of maintenance, fuel and moorage.

Barton said taking these vessels out of the water can be very expensive and time consuming, as the 36-foot boat left at Marina Park took 10 days to recover at a cost of more than $20,000.

One of the largest boats KCSO has helped recover was a 150-foot trawler, according to Barton.

“The problem is ongoing and will never stop,” Barton said. “We just want people to take responsibility.”

Vessels abandoned by negligent owners and left to the elements can also be an environmental hazard because boats often contain fuel, oil and human waste.

According to Barton, the 36-foot boat that sunk in Marina Park leaked roughly 16 quarts of oil into the water, an unhealthy amount for the marine environment.

Barton said the Department of Ecology and the Department of Natural Resources get involved with the safe clean-up and containment of hazardous chemicals when abandoned boats sink into the waterways.

KCSO Media Relations Officer Sgt. Tim Meyer said abandoned vessels remain a “regional challenge” for law enforcement and regulatory agencies.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

This screenshot from Auburn Police Department bodycam footage shows an officer about to fire his weapon and kill dog on May 13, 2022.
Auburn police shoot dog, and owner claims it wasn’t justified

See videos of attack as well as bodycam footage of officer firing at dog.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Diane Renee Erdmann and Bernard Ross Hansen. Photos courtesy of FBI
FBI arrests Auburn couple after 11-day manhunt

The couple was previously convicted for fraud and skipped sentencing on April 29.

Screenshot from Barnes and Noble website
Cover art of books that KSD Librarian Gavin Downing says have been under fire: “Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts),” by Lev A.C. Rosen, “If I Was Your Girl,” by Meredith Russo, and “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” by George Matthew Johnson.
Kent middle school librarian wins intellectual freedom award

Gavin Downing refused to keep ‘silence in the library’ amid attempted book banning and censorship.

t
Kent elementary school teacher accused of using racist language toward student

River Ridge Elementary instructor placed on administrative leave by Kent School District.

FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Dozens of King County Sheriff’s Office employees left jobs instead of getting vaccinated

This added on to the existing number of vacancies in the department.

Most Read