The Abandoned Boats Project – a joint initiative between Keep Bermuda Beautiful [KBB] and the Bermuda Government — has removed 55 abandoned and derelict marine vessels from Bermuda’s waters since May 2022.
The project, which aims to clean up the local marine environment, reduce environmental hazards and minimise safety risks for boaters and others, has received tremendous support from the public.
KBB’s Project Lead, Amy Shillingford, said: “On behalf of KBB, we are extremely grateful for the support of our donors and project partners. The cost of extracting and safely disposing of the vessels already approved for removal exceeds $150,000, all of which has been generously funded by individual and corporate donations.
“The community’s passion for preserving Bermuda’s delicate marine environment and cleaning up environmental hazards caused by these sunken, rotting and beached vessels is truly heart-warming. Our community and our culture are so closely connected to the ocean. It’s only right that we each do our best to take care of it.”
Ms Shillingford continued, “Numerous residents have reached out to us to share their delight that these long-forgotten wrecks are being removed from local docks and bays. The removals not only enhance Bermuda’s beauty, but also make the water safer for boaters, swimmers and marine life.”
Over the past year, Government has provided approvals for the removal of 85 abandoned or derelict boats and other vessels identified through this project. Removing and safely disposing of nearly two-thirds of these vessels over the past seven months is a major achievement for the project team.
Ten of these vessels were removed from Stovell Bay at Spanish Point Park on Thursday December 15th. Several more were pulled from Duck’s Puddle around the same time. Other removals will continue throughout December and into the new year and it is expected that the remaining vessels will be removed by Spring 2023.
Additional surveys to identify more abandoned and derelict vessels will commence in the new year. This is expected to lead to additional removals after the notification and approvals process is complete.
KBB has also partnered with BEST [Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce] on the research phase of the project, which also involves collaboration with Bermuda Government. Together, we aim to proactively address the root causes of boats being abandoned or left in a derelict state.
This working group has been looking into how other jurisdictions deal with the issues associated with abandoned and derelict boats. Through this research, we are preparing a number of draft recommendations to be presented for Government’s consideration to potentially stop the problems before they start.
A spokesperson said, “KBB thanks the donors, project partners and others for supporting the Abandoned Boat Project. The project is a prime example of KBB’s mission to reduce waste, eliminate litter and beautify the island through action and education.
“Visit www.kbb.bm or call 799-5142 to learn more and get involved to make a difference in caring for the environment.”