EVERETT — Six old and abandoned boats in Everett are nearing their final days in local waters.
Snohomish County’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has placed legal notices on four derelict vessels — three in Steamboat Slough with a fourth at the Everett boat launch, and the city of Everett has claims for two more that are beached at Howarth Park.
If the owners don’t take responsibility in the next 30 days, they’ll lose custody and the boats will be removed.
For the county, the four boats they’re seeking custody of are part of an annual effort by the Surface Water Management division and local Marine Resources Committee, a citizen advisory group that helps identify the problem boats.
Left untouched, the boats can take up critical marine habitat, spill harmful pollutants into the water and cause navigational woes for passing boats and kayakers, said Elisa Dawson, a Surface Water Management planner and member of the Marine Resources Committee.
Each year, the committee and its partners — which include the state departments of Ecology and Natural Resources, cities of Everett and Marysville, Tulalip Tribes and local law enforcement — get together to determine which abandoned boats should be removed within the county’s budget of about $100,000.
This year, the county’s main focus is hauling away the Confusion, a 53-foot cabin cruiser that sank near the 10th Street boat launch.
Its location in a high-traffic area makes it a nuisance for boaters, as well as kayakers going to and from Jetty Island, Dawson said.
The other three boats are among several abandoned on the banks of Steamboat Slough.
“Getting these vessels out of there not only helps the habitat and reduces pollution, but also just makes the estuary more beautiful, and that’s important for us, too,” Dawson said.
Once the county takes custody, contractors will have until December to remove the boats.
When that’s complete, the county will go to the state Department of Natural Resources to be reimbursed for the projects.
Meanwhile, the city of Everett on Friday was set to take custody of one abandoned boat at Howarth Park, and will get ownership of another on Monday.
The Everett Police Department is leading the effort to remove the vessels, with the help of the Department of Natural Resources.
There’s no timeline for when that could occur, though.
Going forward, the Marine Resources Committee hopes to expand its removal program with grants for additional funding.
Those dollars are being put into action with these projects, Dawson said.
“I really appreciate how much everyone in the estuary is working together right now to try and deal with these derelict vessels,” Dawson said. “All of us have the goal of trying to see it cleaned up.”
This article has been updated to say the county’s Surface Water Management division is part of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, not the Public Works department.