Michael Penn

Michael Penn

Fight against derelict boats may cost boat owners

To help harbormasters identify and clean up derelict boats, the Alaska Legislature is considering a new fee on boats longer than 24 feet.

The Alaska Senate voted last Thursday 18-2 in favor of Senate Bill 92, which requires unregistered boats over 24 feet long to have title documents. It also levies fees on barges and requires the registration of federally documented boats. Federally documented boats would not be required to have a title.

A title would cost $20 and last for life; registration would cost $24 and last for three years. For a barge, registration would be $75 and also last three years.

If also approved by the House and signed into law by Gov. Bill Walker, it would be a first step toward addressing the problem of abandoned boats along Alaska’s coasts, said its lead sponsor, Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna.

“This bill will help us with a process for dealing with the issue,” he said, speaking to the full Senate Thursday. “It is a dramatic improvement of the derelict vessel problem in the state of Alaska.”

The bill does not address the issue of derelict vessels already abandoned on Alaska’s rivers, creeks and bays.

“It doesn’t fix the problem,” said Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka.

Stedman was one of two senators to vote against the bill on the Senate floor. Removing the hundreds of derelicts on Interior rivers alone will cost “tens of millions” of dollars, he said Monday.

For example, lifting the tugboat Challenger from Gastineau Channel may have cost as much as $1.7 million, money that — fortunately for the city of Juneau and the State of Alaska — came from the federal government. If the tugboat had run aground instead of sinking, the CBJ may have had to pay.

To read the rest of this Juneau Empire story, click here.

Juneau Empire File Don Statter Memorial Boat Harbor in Auke Bay in July 2015 as visitors wait to board whale watching vessels and fishing boats are double and triple parked along the floats.

Juneau Empire File Don Statter Memorial Boat Harbor in Auke Bay in July 2015 as visitors wait to board whale watching vessels and fishing boats are double and triple parked along the floats.

More in News

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Homer City Council candidate Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Traffic moves north along the Sterling Highway shortly after a fatal crash closed the highway for several hours Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. The state is seeking federal funding for a project aimed at improving safety along the Sterling Highway between mileposts 82.5 to 94, or between Sterling and Soldotna. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
State looks to federal funding for Sterling Highway project

The project is aimed at improving highway safety between Sterling and Soldotna.

Ethan Benton (left) and Laura Walters of Kodiak win the vaccine lottery for the Alaska Chamber's week one vaccine lottery giveaway "Give AK a Shot." (Screenshot)
State names winners in 1st vaccine lottery

A Valdez and Kodiak resident took home checks for $49,000 each.

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion
A podium marks the beginning of a StoryWalk at Soldotna Creek Park on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. The project was discontinued in August due to vandalism.
Vandalism ends Soldotna library program

The StoryWalk was made possible by a $2,500 donation from the Soldotna Library Friends.

Juneau Empire file
The Coast Guard medevaced a 90-year-old suffering stroke-like symptoms near Ketchikan aboard a 45-foot response boat-medium like this one, seen in Juneau, on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.
Coast Guard medevacs man from yacht near Ketchikan

The 90-year-old suffered symptoms of a stroke.

James Varsos, also known as “Hobo Jim,” poses for a photo during the August 2016, Funny River Festival in Funny River, Alaska, in August 2016. (Peninsula Clarion file)
‘Hobo Jim’ opens up about recent terminal cancer diagnosis

Varsos was named Alaska’s official “state balladeer” in 1994.

Most Read