When a Boat is Abandoned in Your Marina or Boatyard – What Can You Do?

This is a common problem when customers realize their yard bill exceeds the value of the vessel they’ve been unable to sell. For the marina, there are two stages to the abandoned boat problem — first is acquiring ownership; second is disposal. Getting ownership is straightforward under the Abandoned Boat laws, providing a non-judicial remedy to acquire title. It’s disposing of an end-of-life boat that is difficult. Considering current IRS rules on charitable donation programs, donating the vessel only makes sense if it is valuable. Meanwhile, transporting a valueless boat to a landfill is expensive and a waste of increasingly scarce landfill space.

Professor Nixon has been working on this problem and developed a technical solution for transforming the waste fiberglass. A pilot program is underway in Rhode Island to study the logistics, costs, and long-term feasibility for the solution. Early indicators are that such a program could work with the support of local governments, members of the marine trades and boat owners themselves.
Dennis Nixon, Rhode Island Sea Grant and University of Rhode Island Professor

Professor of Marine Affairs Dennis Nixon has served as the Director of the Rhode Island Sea Grant Program since July 2013.  In that role, he leads a multi-million dollar research and education program devoted to using scientific knowledge to improve the management of Rhode Island’s coastal waters.  Prior to that, he served for four years as the Associate Dean for Research and Administration at the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, where he was responsible for the administration of the 200+ acre campus, pier, and the 185’ Research Vessel Endeavor.  He served the previous 8 years as the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the College of the Environment and Life Sciences, also at the University of Rhode Island.   He has been a faculty member at the University of Rhode Island for the past 40 years, teaching courses in the area of marine and coastal law.  He is particularly proud of the thousands of former students now working in marine industries, government, law and science.
A marine lawyer by training, he is a member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States and the Rhode Island Bar.  He is the Secretary and General Counsel for the Point Club, a fishing vessel insurance cooperative he helped found 30 years ago. He is one of the three founders of the International Marina Institute, which provides educational programs and certification for professionals in the marine industry around the world.  Under a grant from the National Science Foundation, he is also the legal advisor and risk manager for the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System, and has been providing advice to all of the US academic research vessel fleet for the past 28 years.  He has lectured on marine law topics in 27 states and 26 countries on 6 continents.  He is the author of over 50 articles and the casebook Marine and Coastal Law, first published in 1994 and released in a second edition in 2010.