A recreational boat beached since late May on the shore of Foster City near East Third Avenue is set for removal this week by the city, with plans to seek financial compensation for the associated costs from the owner.
Foster City Assistant City Manager Dante Hall said the city was scheduling the removal work for midweek, with the goal of having the owner pay for the cost, although no agreement has been reached yet.
“We are exploring all of our avenues to be reimbursed,” Assistant City Manager Dante Hall said.
The Department of Public Works will be responsible for removal and demolition. Hall said the total cost is estimated to be relatively inexpensive at somewhere between $5,000 to $7,000, with the money coming from city funds.
The boat’s location is close to East Third Avenue, north of Lincoln Centre Drive, and across from the city’s corporation yard.
The first reported sighting of the derelict vessel was May 28 by a member of the public and was later reported to Foster City. Foster City initially reached out to the owner via the boat’s vessel registration number. The city held a meeting with the boat owner June 22 to discuss it and the removal process.
It is still undetermined how the boat ended up on the shore. Hall confirmed the boat is still not an environmental hazard, does not endanger the public or affect the construction progress on the levee.
Since the city became aware of the vessel, Hall said it had discussed the issue with various agencies about the removal process, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard and San Mateo County. Questions about boat removal jurisdiction initially took place about which public agency was responsible for the removal process. Because the boat is not considered an environmental hazard and not in navigation channels, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not get involved. Since the abandoned vessel appeared on city land and not on county land, it is the city’s responsibility, with the owner, if found, typically responsible.
“We talked with a number of different agencies but determined that the city would have to work it out with the owner,” Hall said.
Foster City also held discussions with other city governments that have dealt with beached boat situations. Cities usually do the work themselves to remove the vessel and demolition.
The city is now working on drafting policy for future abandoned or beached boat incidents based on regulations from other cities, although further details were not available as nothing has been approved or formalized.
“We are working on a policy as we speak about what happens and what to do when we have an abandoned vessel show up,” Hall said.
He noted that no policy had ever been formally adopted because the situation is so rare, with the last known incident happening about 10 years ago in Foster City. Hall said it was hard to find anyone still working with the city who had dealt with a situation like this before.
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