State Stuck with Bill When People Ditch Boats

SEATTLE (AP) —  Washington state law requires owners of abandoned or derelict vessels to pay the full costs of removing or disposing of the problem boats, but owners rarely do.

Since the Department of Natural Resources began a program to rid state waters of potentially dangerous vessels in 2003, vessel owners have only repaid about $28,000. That’s less 1 percent of the total $8.3 million owed in the past decade.

A handful of boat owners are currently on payment plans for roughly $161,000. The state agency is actively billing nearly $2 million in recovery costs from others. They’ve also sent nearly $3.4 million through the collections process.

The state has removed more than 500 boats since the program began in 2003. But there are currently about 150 on the state’s watch list.

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