In December 2016 the CRD Board directed staff to initiate and coordinate a consistent, regional approach to deal with abandoned vessels. In early 2017, the federal government also announced a 5-year Abandoned Boats Program (ABP) to support local initiatives to clean up coastal waters. CRD staff then organized several regional meetings, gathered information regarding vessels that appeared abandoned throughout our region, and applied for funding through the Abandoned Boats Program.
The Abandoned Boat Program has two components:
- The Education, Awareness and Research component funds public education projects aimed at raising awareness about boat owner responsibility, including proper end-of-life management practices. It also funds research on environmentally responsible boat design and recycling of end-of-life boats.
- The Assessment and Removals component funds boat removal assessments, and the permanent removal and disposal of abandoned and/or wrecked small boats.
In March 2018 the CRD learned that it will receive federal funding from both components of this program, including $50,000 to help increase public awareness about the environmental and safety risks posed by abandoned boats across the region.
With this funding, the CRD will be able to ask residents for help identifying derelict vessels and ultimately reduce the volume of abandoned boats littering our waterways in the future through responsible boat ownership education, including end-of-life best practices and recycling and disposal options.
CRD staff are working closely with municipalities, regional districts, Islands Trust and local First Nations to coordinate efforts that address abandoned boats under the federal ABP initiative, including this newly-funded education program.
In addition to the $50,000 grant, the CRD also learned that it will receive $10,400 in federal funding to assess the condition and removal costs of 10 vessels identified as abandoned in Tsehum Harbour on the Saanich Peninsula. These boats must be assessed by March 31, after which CRD staff will apply again to the ABP for funding to remove and dispose of them.
Additional applications for both assessment and disposal funding will be made on an ongoing basis as abandoned or derelict vessels are identified across the region.
To supplement the federal program, the CRD also approved funding to handle the disposal of marine debris associated with the abandoned boats (e.g., docking, ropes, and miscellaneous flotsam and jetsam).