BoatUS Gets Grant to Remove Abandoned Vessels from U.S. Waterways

Abandoned & Derelict Vessel (ADV) - stranded or wrecked sailboat in waterway

Some abandoned vessels have been languishing in waterways for decades, becoming increasingly hazardous as they deteriorate. (Credit: BoatUS Foundation)

by | Jun 11, 2024

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Nationwide Effort to Clean Waterways

The Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS) Foundation has announced a significant initiative to address the issue of abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) in U.S. coastal waterways and the Great Lakes. With a four-year, $10 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, supported by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the foundation seeks qualified, diverse, and experienced organizations to submit projects for funding.

Organizations interested in participating in this nationwide cleanup effort must submit a letter of intent between June 10 and August 12. The initiative targets the removal of ADVs, which pose various environmental and economic challenges.

Environmental and Economic Impact of ADVs

ADVs litter ports, waterways, and estuaries across the country. These neglected boats can damage sensitive ecosystems, threaten navigation safety, and incur significant removal costs, often averaging over $24,000 per vessel. Addressing this issue is a substantial challenge for many communities, particularly those lacking local funding and resources. The BoatUS Foundation’s grant program aims to alleviate these burdens and facilitate cleanup.

Inclusivity and Community Support

The program is open to many applicants, including nonprofits, for-profits, and local, state, territorial, tribal, and regional government agencies. A key focus is engaging underserved or marginalized communities that lack the resources to tackle ADVs independently.

The foundation’s Director of Outreach and Grant Program, Alanna Keating, emphasized their extensive experience in ADV removals and highlighted the program’s inclusivity. This initiative provides an opportunity for a diverse array of organizations to participate in enhancing the nation’s waterways.

Nancy Wallace, Director of the NOAA Marine Debris Program, expressed enthusiasm for the partnership with the BoatUS Foundation. She noted the widespread issue of ADVs and the collaborative effort to reduce debris in ports, waterways, and coasts.

The initiative plans to create a first-of-its-kind national online database to track the location and removal of ADVs, enhancing transparency and coordination in cleanup efforts.

Objectives and Goals

The primary objective of the BoatUS Foundation program is to enhance U.S. coastal and Great Lakes waters by removing ADVs and establishing a national online database to track their locations and removal efforts. By mitigating the pollution and hazards associated with these vessels, the grant program aims to deliver a lasting positive impact on both local and national environments.

Applicants are required to submit a letter of intent addressing key aspects such as:

  • The specific body of water targeted for debris removal
  • The project’s purpose and planned steps for execution
  • Anticipated environmental and community outcomes
  • Integration of diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion
  • Project budget and expected expenses
  • Necessary authorizations and permits

Priority Considerations

Priority will be given to projects that benefit tribal, underserved, or low-income communities, demonstrate strong community support, positively impact marine animals and habitats, support local coastal economies, and include outreach and education activities to prevent future ADV occurrences.

By fostering community involvement and providing essential funding, the BoatUS Foundation’s ADV removal initiative promises to significantly improve the health and safety of U.S. waterways for years to come.

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