CAPE MAY COUNTY, N.J. (CBS) — This Earth Day, a New Jersey lawmaker is working to clean up abandoned boats along the Garden State’s coastline.
Boats are expensive so why would they fall abandoned?READ MORE: Enhanced Risk For Severe Weather Across Philadelphia Region Monday Afternoon
One reason is that storm-related crashes can mean expensive repairs. So it’s easier to forget about the boat.
For instance, officials say one sailboat has been left as garbage in the beautiful Cape May harbor for months.
Along the shores of Cape May harbor is where Mark Allen finds tranquility.
“It’s just beautiful. It means everything to me,” he said.
The harbor is where Allen met his wife.
“She and I will have dinner here quite a bit,” he said.
The harbor has been a dumping ground for sailboats left to rot away in the middle of the harbor since last year.
One has sat on this side of the harbor for three years until this week when winds pushed it across the waterway until it crashed onshore.
“It’s an issue for us because it pollutes the water, it clogs up the waterways and it’s just a mess,” Allen said.READ MORE: All Eyes On Pennsylvania Primary As Tuesday's Election Day Approaches
There have been plenty of other abandoned boats in the harbor.
The Nature Center of Cape May captured photos over the years.
“It’s something that’s been a persistent problem here,” said Gretchen Whitman with the Nature Center.
Lawmakers point out small shore towns often cannot afford the cost to haul away the vessels.
“The last one we had to do was around $40,000. So that was getting pricey,” Cape May Mayor Zack Mullock said.
How difficult is it finding the owners of these boats?
“That’s another one of these issues,” Mullock said.
So now state Sen. Mike Testa plans to introduce legislation next month to fund the removal of abandoned boats.
“We really need to make sure that our waterways are, number one, clean, safe for the people that are coming here to use them in the summertime,” Testa said.MORE NEWS: Police: 14-Year-Old Boy Shot In Leg In Philadelphia's Haddington Neighborhood
The senator proposes a $25 million plan that would pay for the removal of abandoned boats. The inital money would come from the general fund.