DNR on illegal-boat patrol

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on August 27, 2010 at 5:48 PM

KEY PENINSULA, Wash. - Residents on the shoreline reported seeing people coming and going at all hours to a makeshift houseboat, having parties, involved in inappropriate behavior and, worst of all in the eyes of the law, just staying anchored in the same place.

"House boats normally have to be in approved marinas and we don't allow live-aboards in the kind of manner we were experiencing here," said DNR Enforcement Chief Larry Raedel as he watched the boat being towed away from the shores of Key Peninsula.

The vessel is composed of some kind of old tri-hull boat with a crooked shanty built on top.

"This particular vessel did not have a way to handle sewage and those kind of issues and things were coming apart off the boat," said Raedel.

DNR officers are teaming up with groups like Citizens for a Healthy Bay, to find these boats and convince their owners to turn them over for proper disposal.

Officers say many of the Puget Sound's most scenic bays have become illegal parking lots for unsafe vessels. The plan is to get them before they sink. After that the cost of recovery goes up and they will have already spilled their toxic contents into the Sound.

Officers emphasize they don't want the boats, they are just going to be disposed of, but they can't afford to just leave them out there threatening the bays and shorelines.

Residents watching the stepped removals this week applauded the action saying sometimes more than a dozen old boats will tie up together to make one large floating heap of barely operable boats.

In the case of the floating shanty nicknamed Waterworld, DNR officers said the owner agreed to turn the boat over the DNR and avoided any legal action.

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