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Monday, August 24, 2009

Turns Out San Francisco *Does* Participate in State's Sunken Boat Disposal Program. This Is Good, Because We'd Already Received, Spent the Money.

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge Some inconsiderate bastard left this boat to rot in the San Joaquin Delta - COURTESY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BOATING AND WATERWAYS
  • Courtesy of the Department of Boating and Waterways
  • Some inconsiderate bastard left this boat to rot in the San Joaquin Delta
Last week we reported that the administrator of the California's Abandoned Watercraft Abatement Fund told us that San Francisco does not participate in the state program. This came as shocking news to Fisherman's Wharf wharvinger Hedley Prince. After all, not only had he filled out the grant application to dispose of nine rotting, sinking, abandoned ships -- they state said "Yes." Prince was awarded $15,000 to remove and dispose of the boats, and, lo, it was done.

Mary Thomas of the state's Department of Boating and Waterways now tells us that the confusion was caused by San Francisco being recorded as "Port of San Francisco" on the state's list. So, yes, we are legit. And, no, the money won't have to be given back.

So far in fiscal 2009, the state has shelled out $311,000 to dispose of 70 sunken or partially sunken abandoned boats around California (and $111,000 in contracts with the City of Santa Barbara Harbor and Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department are still open). So while San Francisco's tally of nine boats represents a healthy chunk of the state's abandoned watercrafts, it turns out that the real aquatic graveyards of the Bay Area are to the north and northeast.

click to enlarge When you live in a houseboat, you have the opportunity to abandon your house and your boat in one fell swoop - COURTESY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BOATING AND WATERWAYS
  • Courtesy of the Department of Boating and Waterways
  • When you live in a houseboat, you have the opportunity to abandon your house and your boat in one fell swoop
This year, Contra Costa County has asked for the state's assistance to remove 40 derelict ships. Last year, when the state funded 90 percent of the removal costs for 157 boats, 61 were in Contra Costa. None were in San Francisco.

"The Delta is a huge dumping ground for vessels," notes Thomas.

But it's not the only place to ditch your sinking ship. Marin County's Richardson Bay also reported 40 abandoned ships this year after recording 45 last year. San Francisco's Prince says his counterpart in Richardson Bay, Bill Price, has "a full-time job" removing derelict ships.

And while none of the ships presents the logistical nightmares of the Wenonah, the World War II-era tugboat that sank off Treasure Island last week, Thomas does recall some doozies.

A few years back, an 83-foot cabin cruiser sank in San Joaquin County. Removing that hulk cost $47,850.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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