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Old 10-21-2010, 11:46 AM   #1
jcaulkins
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whats the law on sinking a boat intentionally?

im sure there is maritime law/ state law/ fed law etc. that states you may not sink a boat intentionally, but i dont know it off hand so here is my situation

a friend of mine wants to buy a trailer but the one he is interested in will only be sold if the buyer also takes the old boat sitting on it. Can he legally tow the boat out to sea and intentionally sink it? is there a process to go through to clean the boat of all oil (motor parts) and harmful material before sinking? is there a cert. process he can go through to do this?

my friends idea was to clean boat - completely remove all parts leaving only the fiberglass hull - tow it out to sea (as far as needed 1000+feet deep) and shoot the crap out of it with shot-guns until it sank.

2nd question - can you even take a shotgun out on the ocean and start blasting away if there is nobody in sight/ miles away from land? (i know you can do it - but can it be done legally?)

my friend does not want to harm the environment in any way so................ - can any of this be done legally w/ out hurting environment?
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Old 10-21-2010, 11:52 AM   #2
inletsurf
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Re: whats the law on sinking a boat intentionally?

1st question: *I think* most of it boils down to state and federal law dealing with environmental contamination. Most vessels sunk as artificial reefs undergo extensive decontamination where paints, oils, etc are removed. I know of people who took the risk and did it anyway by themselves. After all, a secret wreck must begin as a secret.

2nd question: Yes, off florida in federal waters I do it from time to time.
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:12 PM   #3
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Re: whats the law on sinking a boat intentionally?

My information may be out of date, but in the Pensacola area some years ago they were pretty picky about the materials. Not just for toxicity, but because they wanted to be sure that the material was heavy enough to stay put through storms and such. Basically, only concrete, carbon steel, and tires with a specified amounts of concrete were allowed. You had to get it inspected and were issued a permit. Fiberglass was specifically prohibited.
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:38 PM   #4
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Re: whats the law on sinking a boat intentionally?

make sure you do it in less then 60 ft, chain it to an engine block for the anchor, and pm me the numbers.
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Old 10-21-2010, 01:55 PM   #5
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Re: whats the law on sinking a boat intentionally?

You must have a permit from ALL agencies involved depending on where you are located.
Here in the Keys, forget about it. D.E.P., E.P.A. State, FWC, National Marine Sanctuary , NOAA. Virtually impossible to get permitted and will take years (read about the Vandenburg).
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:34 PM   #6
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Re: whats the law on sinking a boat intentionally?

Basically what you're talking about is called illegal dumping.
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Old 10-21-2010, 03:31 PM   #7
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Re: whats the law on sinking a boat intentionally?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smudge View Post
Basically what you're talking about is called illegal dumping.
yea thats what i figured. my buddy and i were just curious. the site is in hawaii and we were interested in the legal side of things. i dont think he was seriously thinking about the purchase but rather entertaining a what if scenario (a lot of work to save 2-300 bucks). my buddy who posed the Q to me is an avid diver and specializes in marine biology (not exactly the type of guy to illegally dump an oily/ toxic environmental nightmare) - though i like the idea of having a secret reef if it is done legally and in a manner that doesnt destroy local env.

good point about weight!! i never thought about a wreck becoming a moving disaster in a storm.
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Old 10-30-2010, 02:25 PM   #8
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Re: whats the law on sinking a boat intentionally?

best idea is the clean everything on the boat.... yank it off the trailer, then
cut it up with chainsaws........ toss the cut parts into the dump or dumpster,
or legal means.........

--Sherpa

not that I agree with sinking it, but if he does, he better grind off all vin
numbers, hawaii tags, names, manufacture, etc info....
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Old 10-30-2010, 02:53 PM   #9
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Re: whats the law on sinking a boat intentionally?

I sold a trailer recently and it had a 23 foot taylorcraft on it. A client of mine bought the trailer to take the boat out of a slip and never touched it after. It was a brand new trailrite with surge brakes. After aquiring it from him I put it on craigslist and some guy bought it just for the trailer value. He picked it up from me and went straight to the dump where the giant bulldozers pulled it off the trailer and actually rolled it around and played with it before running over it in 2 seconds. Nothing was removed beforehand and they didnt even ask to see the pink! (The guy called me after and said it was one of the coolest things he ever saw.)
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Old 11-06-2010, 04:15 AM   #10
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Re: whats the law on sinking a boat intentionally?

is the boat worth fixing up? if so i would take it off your hands
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Old 11-06-2010, 05:27 AM   #11
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Re: whats the law on sinking a boat intentionally?

Another thing to consider, Is the boat going to sink? Most boats have some kind of flotation in them. If you put heavy stuff in it make sure it's tied down so when the boat flips it doesn't dump out. Then you have a hazard to worry about someone running into when it doesn't sink and you abandon it awash.
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Old 11-06-2010, 02:40 PM   #12
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Re: whats the law on sinking a boat intentionally?

post on craigslist "free boat". one man's trash is another man's treasure

or here's a thought "Will trade boat for case of beer"

win win
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Old 11-07-2010, 01:01 PM   #13
jcaulkins
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Re: whats the law on sinking a boat intentionally?

great replies guys. thanks - my bro isnt going to get the trailer because the boat is not worth the trouble. situation avoided by simply buying a different trailer.
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Old 11-23-2010, 07:27 PM   #14
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Re: whats the law on sinking a boat intentionally?

Just for your information, intentionally sinking a boat is called Scuttling.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scuttling

It is definitely illegal without all kinds of preapproval.

On the other hand I know of several people who have scuttled boats, and as long as you do it in a good few hundred feet of water, and it is a boat type that will actually sink (sailboat, etc), then that would pretty much be the end of it.
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