Submerged vessels and boats pushed onshore could create longterm problem in south Baldwin County

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ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WKRG) — Boats are scattered like toys across south Baldwin County making it not only hard to navigate but creating a dangerous mess, too.

“Many of them are leaking fuel and oil. The Coast Guard has been great in responding specifically to Sportsman’s Marina area in Orange Beach and have boomed that area off,” said Alabama State Senator Chris Elliott.

Some boats are submerged in the water while others are resting on land.

“Those that will linger up on land or those that are sunken and uninsured may take up to a year to get the funding in order to get them out of the way,” said Elliott.

He’s been touring the damage across Baldwin County this week. He’s also shared photos of the vessels with WKRG News 5. Alabama law doesn’t require owners to carry insurance on their boat right now and Senator Elliott says that will likely create problems in the coming months.

“We’ll see more and more boats not being removed. My challenge is to make sure we’ve got the money, either coming from the Feds likely through NOAA or through the state,” he added.

Elliott says Hurricane Sally was a different kind of force on the coast than what locals are used to. He believes cleanup could last a while.

“These boats did not break free. They were still tied to whatever they were tied to and pulled the pilings right out of the ground. I think that has a lot to do with storm surge and with the duration of the storm,” said Elliott.

The City of Orange Beach is urging boat owners to fill out a form on their website to help them keep track of these particular vessels. You can fill out the form here.

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