Brunswick County Commission considers proposed abandoned boat ordinance

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Brunswick County Commission tabled a proposed ordinance regarding abandoned boats Monday.

The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office is proposing a plan to discourage boat owners from abandoning their boats and leaving it up to the county to remove them.

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Captain Mose Highsmith said the ordinance would make abandoning a boat in county waters illegal.

“The main goal is to deter people from leaving boats that become the county tax payers’ problem to remove,” said Highsmith.

Highsmith said that was their goal when they began putting together the ordinance.

“They can have their boat docked for up to ten days as long as they’re on it. They can’t leave it for more than 24 hours,” said Highsmith.

Highsmith said after that time period deputies would be allowed to tag the vessel.

“If they don’t contact the sheriff’s office, then eventually it becomes an abandoned boat,” said Highsmith. “The offshore coast of North Carolina is known as the graveyard of the Atlantic, we don’t want Brunswick County to be known as the junkyard of the Atlantic.”

Highsmith said the proposed ordinance allows the county to either auction off or put the abandoned boat in the landfill. It also says if the owner is found they could face a lawsuit from the county for the cost of removing the boat from the water.

County officials said they don’t know when this ordinance will be on the commission agenda again. Highsmith said he was told the commission needed more time to look at the proposed ordinance.