Derelict Vessel Prevention Program expansion saves dollars, prevents pollution

San Juan County’s Derelict Vessel Prevention Program is being expanded throughout Puget Sound to combat the growing problem of derelict vessels in Washington waters. This program saves money and prevents pollution by identifying problem boats and connecting owners with community resources to help them properly handle the situation before the boats become unseaworthy and possibly sink.Example of a Derelict Vessel

“Prevention efforts are sometimes able to get owners to take responsibility for their vessels and solve the problem without further intervention from us,” said Joanruth Bauman, the Derelict Vessel Specialist from San Juan County. “That is the goal–through public education to decrease the incidents of derelicts in the first place, not just chase them after the fact.”

Derelict vessels are a big problem in Washington state—clogging and polluting waterways, as well as costing the public millions of dollars each year in clean-up efforts.Derelict vessel example 2

The Puget Sound Partnership has designated the San Juan County program as a Model Stewardship Program and provided a grant to the county to support their program and work with partners to develop prevention programs in King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County, Kitsap County, Jefferson County and Mason County.

“The Derelict Vessel Prevention Program is one of the more effective programs in Washington state,” said Sen. Kevin Ranker. “This program helps keep pollution out of our marine waters, removes visual eyesores from our beautiful vistas and saves hundreds of thousands taxpayer dollars by working proactively to prevent costly environmental disasters. I applaud the work of the Puget Sound Partnership to expand this powerful program. Our citizens, economy, and environment will all benefit.”

Read the full news release

How to help

Contact numbers for reporting derelict vessels or vessels of concern in the counties participating in the Derelict Vessel Prevention Program are listed below:

Jefferson             (360) 808-7171
King                      (206) 263-2582 or (206) 423-0160
Kitsap                   (360) 337-4605 or (206) 786-7627
Mason                  (360) 490-0605 or (360) 463-6406
Pierce (CHB)        (253) 383-2429 or (253) 383-2429
San Juan              (360) 472-1644
Snohomish          (425) 388-5401 or (425) 388-5402

For other counties please call the Department of Natural Resources’ Derelict Vessel Removal Program at (360) 902-1574 or email

What to report

  • Boats that appear to be illegally moored and have not moved in more than 30 days.
  • Boats that appear to be listing to one side or another.
  • Boats that have unusual quantities of growth of algae, moss, grass or plant material on them.
  • Boats that have not moved in some time and the bilge pump continues to run or goes on frequently to remove water from the hull.
  • Boats that appear to have leaking fluids like oil, fuel, or waste going into the surrounding water.
  • Boats that have severe external deterioration of paint, wood, or other materials.
  • Boats where residents are throwing waste or other materials into the surrounding water.
  • A boat drifts off from its moorage and out in open water, becoming a hazard to other boats and vessels.