Oregon Working to Remove Abandoned Vessels

August 18, 2022

Yachting Journal

(Photo: NOAA)

The Oregon State Marine Board, through its Certified Clean Marina Program, is working to increase the number of abandoned and derelict vessels they can remove over the course of a year.

With support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, the Oregon State Marine Board, through its Certified Clean Marina Program, will remove unwanted abandoned vessels from marinas while they are still securely moored and afloat in an effort to minimize the hazards and high costs associated with responding to future abandoned and derelict vessel situations. The long-term goal of the project is the creation and enhancement of partnerships between the Oregon State Marine Board and Clean Marina facility managers and staff for the purpose of working collaboratively toward a future with fewer abandoned and derelict vessels contributing to harmful marine debris.

Derelict vessels on the Oregon coast are nearly all located in estuaries and embayments, where fragile estuarine habitats are critical habitat for two listed species of salmon, as well as provide nursery and feeding habitat for green sturgeon, flatfish, sharks. Often by the time a vessel is removed, it has already spent considerable time in the environment, breaking apart, leaking fuel and oil, and creating hazards. Some of these hazards include risks to safe navigation, damage to the surrounding habitat, and economic impacts, such as the cost of removal.

To help with the removal of abandoned and derelict vessels before they sink, the Oregon State Marine Board will administer the Abandoned Vessel Removal Assistance Program (AVRAP), which will work with marinas to remove and dispose of abandoned and derelict vessels while they are still afloat, reducing impacts to the environment. To be eligible for vessel removal assistance through AVRAP, marinas must be current participants in the Marine Board’s Certified Clean Marina Program and must commit to enhanced management practices to reduce the chance that other vessels in the marina will become abandoned in the future. The combination of proactive and reactive elements of this project make it the first of its kind in Oregon. The project team envisions removing up to approximately 50 small recreational vessels in the first year of the program.