San Juan County’s Derelict Vessel Program seeks community support to minimize environmental impacts of neglected boats

Submitted by San Juan County.

San Juan County’s Derelict Vessel Program strives to minimize the impacts of derelict vessels throughout the county. By working closely with the public, local authorities, and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the program seeks to address and mitigate the problems caused by abandoned, forgotten, or neglected boats. The County asks that residents and visitors work together to minimize the harm derelict vessels can cause to our communities and to our marine environment.

In an emergency:

If you see a vessel that is sinking, adrift, or releasing pollutants into the water, Call 9-1-1.

The Derelict Vessel Program has successfully mitigated multiple threats posed by derelict and abandoned boats, thanks in part to the responsive support of local contractors including Towline Marine Assist, LLC -TowBoatU.S.

Over the past four years, San Juan County has led the response to and removal of 25 vessels. These efforts are costly and partially funded by the Department of Natural Resources through the State’s boat registration fees.

The following data was collected over the past four years:

In 2019, two vessels were removed from Eastsound and Friday Harbor, costing $17,648.

In 2020, 10 vessels were removed from Friday Harbor (five), Roche Harbor, Mosquito Pass, Blind Bay, Sylvan Cove, and West Sound costing $154,840.

In 2021, four vessels were removed from Friday Harbor (three) and Eastsound costing $71,660.

In 2022, four vessels were removed from Haro Strait, Blind Bay, Aleck Bay, and Obstruction Pass costing $124,857.

In 2023 through May, five vessels have been removed from West Sound, Roche Harbor, Blind Bay, Friday Harbor, and Fisherman Bay costing $60,000.

In a joint effort between the County’s Sheriff’s Office and the Derelict Vessel Program, 14 marine patrols have been conducted since March 2021. Five boats identified in patrols as neglected or abandoned have since been removed from the water and the County is currently monitoring 30 vessels of concern.

The County asks the public to help identify potential derelict vessels before they require a costly response and removal.

In a non-emergency:

Please reference: Contact San Juan County Derelict Vessel Program: 360-370-0555,

Additional resources are available:

1. View the Derelict Vessels in San Juan County VIDEO to find out the harm these derelict vessels can cause:

2. Do you own or know someone who owns a potentially derelict boat? To participate in the Turn-in Program please refer to the Application at: