Simple Solution for Removing Abandoned Boat

Skip Riley
Skip Riley
Peter Young
Peter Young

by Stephen Florino

KAILUA, Oahu (KHNL) - There's a fairly simple solution to removing an abandoned boat sitting on the roadside in Kailua -- track down the owner.

"Leaving a boat on the side of the road is not the appropriate or proper thing to do," said marine surveyor Skip Riley. "And it's not fair to anyone else either."

The boat has been sitting on Mokapu Boulevard near Kalaheo High School for more than a month. A viewer called our "talk story" to complain that nothing was being done despite her calls to state and city officials.

That is changing.

A state officer with the Department of Land and Natural Resources examined the boat Tuesday afternoon, to find any identification numbers. Maritime law states that owners are responsible for the salvage of their boats. Owners can be tracked down through registration.

The registration number on the side of the boat has been removed, but is still visable, and the hull identification number on the back was scratched off.

"Removing the Hawaii registration from the side of the boat is not going to alleviate your responsibilities," said Riley. "There are hull identification numbers that have been placed on a boat since 1972."

Like cars, boats have ID numbers in secret locations, so authorities can track down owners. The officer found the hull number on the deck floor.

But it's taken over a month for someone to come out here to find it.

"Typically, that's where the people with the road jurisdiction, in this case the city, would step in and deal with it," said Peter Young, chairman of the DLNR. "Just like they would with an abandoned refrigerator, an old stove, other types of litter."

However the city says since it is a boat, the state should deal with it.

Whatever the case, it looks like this shipwreck will soon be rescued.

The state is in the process of tracking down the registered owner and ask them to remove the boat in a timely fashion. If the problem persists, the owner could face several fines.