Stranded boat falls through the cracks

Roadside attraction: This boat has been abandoned and sitting off of the northbound side of Flatbush Avenue, between Nick’s Lobster Restaurant and Kings Plaza, since Hurricane Sandy hit in October.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Flatbush Avenue’s newest roadside attraction — an abandoned motorboat — could be there to stay.

The boat that super storm Sandy deposited off the north-bound side of the well-trafficked thoroughfare near Nick’s Lobster Restaurant just falls through the cracks, according to a maritime expert.

“It’s like an abandoned car in an empty lot,” said Anthony DiLernia, founder of the Maritime Technology Department at Kingsborough College and the New York State Representative to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

“If it’s a hazard to navigation, and it’s floating, then the NYPD or the US Coast Guard will remove it from the navigable channel and tie it to a dock or marina some place,” said DiLernia. “But if they don’t have any hazard to navigation, or the environment, they’re a very low priority level to have them removed. It’s an eyesore, but not much else.”

The State Department of Environmental Conservation said it wasn’t their problem, and they weren’t sure who would bother tracking down the vessel’s captain, according to spokeswoman Lisa King.

“That’s not something that DEC does, and I’m not quite sure who would track down the owners of those boats,” said King.

Mill Basin has its fair share of derelict ghost ships jutting out of its inlets, but it’s hardly the only sea-side neighborhood whose captains have abandoned ship. Kingsborough Community College in Manhattan Beach has several boats, assumed abandoned, butting up on its property.

“We’re working on the same issue right now,” said DiLernia. “We have a few at Kingsborough, and what we try to do is contact the owners and tell them to remove it. If they don’t after a certain period of time, we tell them we’ll charge for storage and then seize the vessel.”

Seizing the ships might sound severe, but chances are, if there was anything worth salvaging, their owners would have come calling long ago.

“You could salvage it if you want, but it’s not really worth anything,” said DiLernia.

“It’s abandoned, it’s a vessel adrift, but no one wants it, because it’s not going to be worth more than the original cost of the vessel.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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