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The City Will Now Dispose Your Unwanted Boats

The New York City Parks and Recreation department officially opened its Office of Marine Debris Disposal and Vessel Surrendering on Monday.
NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue, center.

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation on Monday announced the creation of the new Office of Marine Debris Disposal and Vessel Surrendering. 

This new office will keep New York City's waterfront clear of marine hazards like derelict boats, creating a safer environment for boaters, waterfront enjoyers and marine life, according to a press release.

The office is also launching a vessel turn-in program through which New Yorkers can directly surrender their unwanted boats, proactively addressing vessels before they become derelict. 

NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue, NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Deputy Commissioner Keith Kerman, New York City Council Member Joann Ariola, Council Member Selvena Brooks-Powers, Council Member Inna Vernikov, CUNY Kingsborough Community College Interim President Suri Duitch, and community members gathered Monday to celebrate the opening of the office by crushing a boat recovered from the waterways following Hurricane Sandy.

"Throughout our city's history, the New York City waterfront has been critical to our prosperity, environmental health, and natural beauty – and today, we're taking a new step forward in caring for this vital natural resource,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. "With this new office and innovative vessel turn in program, we are protecting our shoreline from floating risks and sunken hazards, benefiting the people, flora, and fauna that rely on a healthy and clean waterfront. Our work caring for our city's natural spaces doesn't stop at the water's edge, and this new program underscores our commitment to maintaining safe, healthy spaces that New Yorkers can take pride in and enjoy.”  

There are more than 800 derelict boats located along the 520 miles that make up New York City's shoreline. When these vessels become abandoned, they pose serious risks to navigation, property damage and public safety.

Abandoned derelict vessels can also be extremely harmful to marine habitats and ecosystems as they leak oil, fuel and their fiberglass hulls leach large amounts of microplastics into the water. 

The new office will also launch a vessel turn-in program, which will assist members of the public who have no other means of responsibly disposing their vessels. Proactively removing vessels before they end up as floating risks or sunken hazards is one of the most effective measures for protecting the public and the natural environment, according to the news release. 

The Office of Marine Debris Disposal and Vessel Surrendering was created in accordance with Local Law 46 of 2023 and is funded through 2025 thanks to $1 million from Mayor Eric Adams.