By Eric Colby.
Kara Diehl was in the hospital with complications from Type 1 diabetes when her phone rang. The caller was inquiring about her late father’s abandoned boat. “I didn’t know my dad had owned a boat,” says Diehl, who lives in Virginia Beach, Va. “I knew that he was living on one, but I didn’t know he had purchased it.”
The caller, Mike Provost, was the founder of Vessel Disposal and Reuse Foundation, a nonprofit organization also based in Virginia Beach that removes derelict boats. He told Diehl her father had abandoned the vessel. It was in a prominent location in front of the Dockside restaurant, a popular waterfront hotspot near the Lesner Bridge in Virginia Beach.
“Mike reached out to me as next of kin to remove it from its location at no charge to our family,” says Diehl, who was estranged from her father. “I had all these mixed feelings about my father passing, so I was very relieved when Mike reached out because it felt like a cleansing thing.”
VDRF removed the sunken Holiday Mansion houseboat April 29, 2022. Salvaging the derelict boat was more than a cleanse for Diehl’s psyche. Derelict and abandoned boats are environmental and navigational hazards on waterways nationwide. Anyone who spends time on the water has seen these hulks at anchor or semisubmerged and rolled over on their side. Those that sink can spread pollutants that wreak havoc on the environment and the people who recreate on or near those waters.
In Florida, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, it was estimated that there were 6,000 derelict boats in southwest part of the state.
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