Source: Heal the Ocean
Photo by Hillary Hauser.
After grappling with two major boat wrecks on Santa Barbara County beaches in 2021 (and paying MarBorg Industries for the removal of one of them), Heal the Ocean has started this year working to find a solution to the problem. The HTO “Derelict Boat Task Force,” assembled by HTO Field Advisor Harry Rabin, had its first meeting on Monday, January 10, 2022, to discuss potential solutions to this persistent coastal hazard of unattended boats hitting the beach.
The task force has agreed that the issue will need to be addressed using a combination of preventative measures and enforcement. Discussion included evaluation of mooring vs. anchoring and options for non-navigable boats, development and implementation of County ordinances to work with City ordinances for non-navigable boats, need for a population survey on moored and anchored boats to determine the number of boats that serve as shelter for those who would otherwise be unhoused, potential development of an on-demand contract with a towing or vessel assist company to respond to unoccupied drifting boats, and possible installation of a third-party radar system (Protective Seas M2) that would monitor boat movement and alert officials of potentially drifting boats.
The Task Force consists of Kadie McShirley: County Supervisors Office of Sustainability; Todd Van Epps, CA Dept of Fish & Wildlife, Oil Spill Prevention & Response; Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams; Paul Ricketson, Coast Guard Oil Spill Response & Planning; Erik Engebretson, City of Santa Barbara Harbor Operations Manager; Jon Menzies, Aquatics Coordinator Santa Barbara County Parks; Butch Arnoldi, County Sheriff; Harry Rabin, HTO Chair Task Force; and Hillary Hauser, Executive Director, Heal the Ocean.