Boaters Jumping Ship in Troubled Times

Erstwhile skippers scuttle their craft for the insurance payout
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2009 8:20 AM CDT
Abandoned boats litter the Gerritsen Creek shoreline in New York. At any time along the Jamaica Bay shoreline, scores of discarded boats litter the shores and lie submerged in its shallow water.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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(Newser) – Many boaters who bought their vessels during sunnier economic times are now regretting their purchases, and some of them are resorting to desperate measures, reports the New York Times. Facing hefty maintenance costs and docking fees, some skippers are simply cutting their crafts—often fully paid for—loose to drift along America's waterways. Others turn to scuttling and fraud.

When one Seattle man failed to sell his boat in a market awash with secondhand vessels, he drilled a hole in the hull and told his insurance company the sinking was an accident. He's going down for insurance fraud, but those who set their boats loose are wreaking havoc as well: They're both a navigational nuisance and an environmental hazard.