Abandoned, sunken boats a costly problem in Baldwin County waterways

Baldwin County

BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — There’s a big problem in Baldwin County waterways and you may not realize it before it’s too late.

“Right now there are about 38 different identified derelict vessels that are really hazards to navigation around Baldwin County,” said Senator Chris Elliott, who’s working with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to push for funding to remove these sunken vessels.

This week Senator Elliott and ALEA took a boat ride to survey some of the hazards.

“It may be a foot under water at some time and it may be a foot out of the water sometimes depending on the tide, but you couldn’t see that if you were running across it on a jet ski or a sailboat, or even a small center console,” he added.

He says it’s a dangerous situation that needs to be corrected soon.

“You know a sailboat with just the mast sticking out of the water that in the right light you may never see the mast or any of the standing rigging and that could be really dangerous. There’s a vessel out in Perdido Bay where it’s pretty much just the transmission and the engine to what was a pretty large wooden vessel at one point,” said Elliott.

He tells WKRG News 5 a law was passed years ago, but it didn’t provide much funding to help get these boats out of the water. He’s hoping that’ll change in the next budget.

“Once that happens ALEA can start getting bids on removing these vessels and getting them out of the way,” he said.

Senator Elliott estimates it’ll cost about $100,000 a year to keep the waterways clear.

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