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Abandoned Boat


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Aug 14, 2023 - An abandoned boat can be defined as a vessel that been left unattended on state, federal, or private waters and lands. Abandoned boats may also be considered as derelict when obstructing waterways, causing pollution or otherwise endangering people and the environment.


Although abandoned boats may be subject to federal enforcement when derelict, they are for the most part governed under state level jurisdictions. Each has it's own set of rules and regulations on dealing with such matters. This includes procedures for those abandoned on private property. This means that private citizens are not allowed to simply take possession and make use of a boat without due process whether abandoned on their property or anywhere else.


Abandoned boats disposed of by governmental agencies are generally sold at auction. However, most states have procedures for private citizens to dispose of and/or gain title to boats abandoned on their own properties.


Those interested in an abandoned boat should contact an enforcement agency for the respective jurisdiction. Property owners disposing of abandoned boats should strictly adhere to any applicable regulations in order to avoid potential conversion liabilities from an owner of record.

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Aug 14, 2023 - Page revised.

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