New rule regulates abandoned boats on the New River in Jacksonville

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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Towns across the east are dealing with a problem — abandoned boats, left in their waterways for years.

Tuesday night, Jacksonville city council members sounded the all-clear on a plan to regulate forgotten vessels.

The ordinance asks boaters to move their vessels every ten days, have active boaters registrations, and keep the craft off shorelines.

Boats not within those guidelines will be tagged, like how police tag cars left on the side of the road.

A vessel owner then has ten days to move or fix their boat, depending on their case.

In another ten days, if the owner doesn’t respond, and doesn’t move the boat, the vessel would either be removed or relocated.

“It’s going to be a case by case basis, as you’ve seen with the vessel, all of them are
very different. We have different sizes, they’re in seperate states of disrepair, some
of them will be easier, just asking for a current registration, others may be a larger
endeavor, for the city to take in the future,” said Maddie McCann, Jacksonville water quality technician.

Already about 15 boats have been identified as abandoned or derelict on the New River in Jacksonville.

They lack registration and anchor lights and are already in disrepair or are sinking.

City workers say the state wildlife resources commission and coastal federation have two boats from the New River on their list for removal.

Without this ordinance, the boats are threats to the aquatic life, a navigational hazard, and danger during storms.

The next step involves city officials contacting boat owners, and identifying which vessels must be taken care of first.

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