SR&R Responds to Capsized Sailboat on the Intracoastal Waterway

SR&R was once again called on by the United States Coast Guard to respond to a recently abandoned and capsized sailboat. Concerned about the environmental impact of the leaking oil and fuel from the inboard diesel engine, the Coast Guard tasked us with accessing, removing, and disposing of the fuels before they could get out into the delicate marsh nearby. After performing a late afternoon site assessment, it was determined that the best course of action would be an early morning, high tide approach. The following day we were on scene shortly after daybreak for the clean up. After boarding the vessel, we quickly removed all fuels and lubricants and packaged them for transport and disposal. The vessel was then moored and secured, awaiting recovery of the vessel itself by the owner at a later date.This is an unfortunately common event on the ICW. Older boats often get abandoned or stranded, allowing the potentially hazardous materials onboard to enter the environment. Fuels, lubricants, aerosols, chemical cleaners, and lead acid batteries are just some of the things we routinely remove from these vessels. And while the Coast Guard can enforce the removal of anything onboard that might damage the environment, they cannot enforce the removal of the vessel itself. This is ultimately left up to the owner who may or may not ever remove it. This is why so many coastal towns have sunken shrimp boats dotting their coastline. While it’s unfortunate to see these vessels lingering on as maritime landmarks, at least they’re only an eyesore and not a danger to the sensitive marine environment that makes coastal NC such a wonderful place to live.

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