Six owner abandoned derelict vessels were removed in 2021 thanks to the cooperation between Snohomish County and the City of Everett. The removals totaled more than 100 cubic yards of marine debris, which helped eliminate pollutants while also improving the safety of boaters.

In efforts to protect marine life and habitats, Snohomish County Surface Water Management (SWM) Division, the Marine Resources Committee (MRC) and the Everett Police Department partnered with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Derelict Vessel Removal Program.

“We are very pleased with our success in 2021 as not only does this work protect the habitat in these waters, but also makes it safer for boaters and kayakers to navigate these areas,” Snohomish County Conservation and Natural Resources SWM Division Director Gregg Farris said. “Our partnership with the Marine Resources Committee, which is comprised of citizen volunteers, and the state’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program has been instrumental in getting this work completed, and I look forward to continuing our work together in the county’s estuaries.”

The MRC, whose goal is to understand, protect, and restore the marine and estuarine ecosystems of the county, recognized the need to partner with local jurisdictions. The committee worked with SWM to facilitate a group of local partners to identify and coordinate the derelict vessel removal efforts. The partners included representatives from the MRC, DNR, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, City of Everett Police Department, Tulalip Tribal Police, Port of Everett, City of Marysville, and Washington Department of Ecology.

In 2021, SWM and MRC successfully removed a derelict recreational cruiser named “Confusion” that was sunk off the 10th Street boat launch in Everett as well as another recreational cruiser, a fishing boat, and a cabin cruiser, which were all beached at the mouth of Steamboat Slough. The total cost of the 2021 removals was nearly $115,000. SWM provides upfront funding for this project. It was supported last year by a private donation made by Phil and Kelly Johnson of Everett.

Meanwhile, Everett’s Police Department removed two vessels at Howarth Park during the summer of 2021. The total cost of removing the 28-foot fiberglass cabin boat and the 50-foot wooden cabin motorboat was $51,000.

“Working with other agencies, Everett can help keep our waterways free of derelict vessels and debris,” Everett Police Marine Operations Lieutenant Jeff Hendrickson said. “Waterways are natural resources that should be safe and kept open for the public to enjoy.”

When done in accordance with state law, these removal projects are eligible for reimbursement of up to 90% by the DNR Derelict Vessel Removal Program. The program investigates last known owners to seek restitution to pay for the costs of removing their vessels.

SWM has worked with DNR since 2018 to support the removal of derelict vessels from the Snohomish River Estuary. During the last four years, SWM has removed 16 derelict vessels from Snohomish County waterways with five in 2018, three in 2019, four in 2020, and four in 2021.The SWM program has spent more than $250,000 since 2018. It relies upon the partnership with DNR’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program for reimbursement in order to continue supporting removal efforts. There are still more than 20 vessels that need to be addressed in Snohomish County on DNR’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program’s “Vessels of Concern” list.

Marcee Maylin has a degree in Editorial Journalism from the University of Washington and 30+ years media experience. She is currently the Editor of the Everett Post dedicated to providing current, relevant, and entertaining content for the local community.