Several derelict boats removed as part of clean-up initiative in Jamaica Bay – QNS.com
Several wrecked boats were recently removed from Jamaica Bay, as part of an initiative to clean up the waterway.
Councilman Eric Ulrich and New York City Parks Department Senior Director Nate Grove were joined by Councilwoman-elect Joann Ariola and community volunteers at Howard Beach on Friday, Dec. 10, where a barge contained three derelict boats recently recovered from Jamaica Bay.
The most recent removal is part of an ongoing battle to clean up the waterways of Jamaica Bay and New York City. Time-limited Ulrich has helped fund the initiative for the past three fiscal years, with $65,000 raised this year to remove abandoned boats from Howard Beach and Broad Channel waters.
“We all have a responsibility, at all levels of government, to keep our environment clean, clean up our waterways and improve the quality of life in our communities, and this funding pays for just that,” said said Ulrich.
He noted that the current contract is to clean five boats in the area, including three on a barge behind officials at Friday’s press conference.
The last boat located at Hamilton Beach will be removed on December 20 of this year.
Abandoned boats are considered one of the biggest problems in the city’s waterways, which pose a host of ecological, transportation and safety risks. Ships are usually abandoned when owners can no longer afford to maintain them, leaving them to drift in Jamaica Bay instead of being properly retired.
Dan Mundy, vice president of Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, said that while they sometimes find abandoned boats and report them, there is “no one in charge of this work” in the city government.
“We have to make it someone’s job. It’s worth it. It needs to be done,” Mundy said. “It’s just a big achievement that we achieve just before Christmas.”
Ariola has pledged to continue funding the effort when she takes office next year.
“We all talk about quality of life. When we think of quality of life, we think of litter and graffiti and such, but we have quality of life in the integrity of Jamaica Bay,” Ariola said. “We are a coastal community and we need to continue this program so that we can remove abandoned boats from our bay.”
She said she planned to introduce legislation to increase fines for anyone who throws a boat into the water in or near Jamaica Bay.
“Only until it starts to hit them in the pocket will it end,” Ariola said.
Ariola also said she plans to hold sanctioned dumping events where people can dispose of their boats responsibly and legally.
Roger Gendron, president of the New Hamilton Beach Civic Association, noted that the boat that will be retired Dec. 20 has been in Hamilton Beach since Super Hurricane Sandy hit the area.
“It has been nothing but an eyesore and a concern because if it were to come loose from where it is attached it would now block off the northern end of Hawtree Basin,” Gendron said. “It’s a huge, huge relief to know this is going to be fixed and after 10 years I know people who live on the water…can’t wait for this day to see this boat come out of there.”