Superstorm Sandy left its mark on land, but also in and under the waters near shore. After the storm, hundreds of small boats lay scattered, beached, and sunk around the bays and estuaries in the affected area.
Whose problem is that? Well, it's hard to say, the New York Times reported recently (see: "A Push to Clear Abandoned Boats From New York’s Waters," by Corey Kilgannon). City Marina manager Nate Grove told the paper, "“They are navigational, environmental and public safety hazards.”
"After Hurricane Sandy, the city had about 115 boats that posed immediate public safety hazards removed from waterways, he said. But many more remain. Mr. Grove put the tally around 600 citywide, but he said a precise count was unavailable in part because no single agency was responsible for taking them away," the Times reports.
But now, New York City has received some federal grant money to start cleaning up the abandoned craft. It's spending the money to hire Custom Marine, a salvage company based in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., and equipped with a military landing craft bought at a government auction. Custom Marine charges $2,000 or more to maneuver up to an abandoned craft, lower the landing craft's bow ramp, winch the wreck onto the barge, and take it away for disposal.
The relationship with Custom Marine and its owner, Dwayne Reith, is good for the city, marina manager Grove told the Times: “We now have a standing contract, an agreed-upon price list, saving time and money.” And Reith is also on standby in case of new wrecks, or in case storms move existing wrecks into new locations where they pose an emergency concern.
But some larger wrecks, such as two abandoned barges in Flushing Bay, are too much for the city to handle, the paper reports—and it's not clear whether they're located in a zone where the Army Corps of Engineers, which is better equipped, has jurisdiction, the Times reported.