Georgia toughens penalties for abandoned boat owners

ATLANTA – Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue has signed a bill into law that will bar boat owners who abandon their vessels in public waters from registering a new boat or renewing their automobile registrations, reported in a story yesterday.

The state’s Senate President Pro Tempore Eric Johnson (R-Savannah) said vessel abandonment has become epidemic in Georgia, according to a story on yesterday. In most cases, there is no insurance coverage or any surety bond to address the removal of the boat or trawler or the debris associated with it.

A conservative estimate based on Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement reports indicates that there are more than 85 boats, barges, tugs and shrimp trawlers abandoned in the state’s tidal water bottoms. The cost to remove these boats is anywhere from $60,000 to $80,000 each.

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