What to Know
- The city of Hoboken is cracking down on boat-dumping at the Weehawken Cove
- They started hoisting out submerged abandoned boats from the cove on Monday; they also plan to fine owners who left them there
- The boats -- some of them ditched after storms -- weren't only an eyesore, they were presenting a hazard, officials say
Parking your car can be close to impossible in Hoboken, but some people apparently think they can park their boats in the Weehawken Cove for free and never come back. Now the city has taken its first step in stopping what's become a dumping ground for unwanted boats.
Chopper 4 was above the scene in Hoboken Monday morning as two boats were hoisted out of the water and onto a barge. One of the boats had smashed into the rocks along a pedestrian walkway during a nor'easter in April. Another was a pontoon boat also had to be hoisted from underwater. People walking near the waterfront were glad to see them go.
"They should be cleaned up for everyone's sake, and more than anything, safety," said Ed McGuinness, a Hoboken resident.
The battered unclaimed boats aren't just an eyesore; they were a hazard.
"The boats removed today had safety concerns. There were teenagers climbing in it," said councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher.
The masts of four more boats in the Weehawken Cove remain partially submerged, including one from more than five years ago that became unmoored during Hurricane Sandy. City officials want to stop people from dumping unwanted problems there before the problem gets worse.
"One they're sunk, it's really expensive to get them out, so we need to figure out a way to stop them from being abandoned before they get to a point where they sink," said Fisher.
Removing the two boats alone on Monday cost the city of Hoboken more than $15,000 -- money that will be charged to the boat's owners, if they can find them.
The problem is, boat owners sometimes remove registration information from their boats before they abandon them in the cove. The city has even used divers to try to get more information on who the boats belong to, so they can charge them to clean them.
"I kept asking questions about how that is, and why the boats haven't been removed from there," said Ben Achesmpong.
"They should be cleaned up. It's a beautiful spot, beautiful harbor," said Chris Abramowicz.