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Abandoned boats in the city

October 24 2013 | no comments


In the course of covering stories over the last few months, our Detroit 2020 team has noticed abandoned boats around the city.

They’re hidden in high grass, stranded on pads of broken concrete, and marooned on vacant lots.

Videographer John Ciolino looked at why they are there, and why you may see more of them.

They sit unwanted–unclaimed–and out of place.

Scrapped boats–miles from water–and adding to Detroit’s blight problem.

“They’re pretty bad…they’re all over the neighborhood…they take the motors and scrap metal off them and dump them wherever they want to,” said one Brightmoor resident.

With over 3,000 miles of shoreline and countless inland lakes, Michigan is one of the top-rated states for new boat sales.

And while new boats can cost thousands of dollars, boats like most of the ones being abandoned are worthless…even to a scrapper.

And to make matters worse, they can even cost hundreds of dollars to properly dispose of.

“You can get most boats with no motors in them for a dime a dozen everywhere…there’s lots of boats with no power in them, but they’re not worthy anything,” said Dave Unger of Custom Enterprises. Unger runs the boat yard on the Detroit River.

He says every storage season he’s left with one boat that the owner never returns for. “Most of the time, you’re taking a bigger risk to store the boat in fear that somebody’s going to leave it behind and you’re stuck with an expense you didn’t need,” Unger told Detroit 2020.

According to Unger, before a dump will even take a boat, the tanks will have to be removed, which costs both time and money. He adds there needs to be a recycling program in place to process the worthless hulks, which may explain why many of the boats find resting places like the Brightmoor neighborhood, adding to an already overwhelming problem.


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