Abandoned Boats, Vessel Liens, Derelict Boats, and Boats Removed by Order The Connecticut Law Enforcement Officer’s Involvement and Responsibility – Prepared by Tim Delgado, DEEP (this is just a summary – please consult the actual statutes before acting) CTDEEP – Boating Division, 4/ 2009 (rev. 1/2013)
“Abandoned Boat” Could Mean One of Five Things • Abandoned – Boating Law, DEEP (CGS 15-140c) • Undocumented Vessel Processed by Vessel Lien – Uniform Commercial Code (CGS 49-55 et seq.) • Documented Vessel processed by Liener(Special Case) • Derelict Vessel– Harbormaster Law, DOT (CGS 15-11a) • Vessel Removed by Order – Harbormaster Law, DOT (CGS 15-9)
1. Abandoned Boat (DEEP) • A vessel is found floating and unattended, or left on someone’s property for 24 hours without their permission • No pre-standing commercial arrangement • Under the law, the property owner is provided with a mechanism to get rid of the boat • Law Enforcement will need to provide an incident report, confirm that the vessel is not stolen • The incident report starts a 60 day clock • At the end of 60 days, the property owner may sell the boat but will need to provide these things to the buyer: • Copy of Police Report, • Copies of certified letters to the last owner of record, • Copies of newspaper ads (if the previous owner cannot be located), • Copies of letters written to State Agencies and a return letter from DEEP saying that the vessel is not stolen; and, • A bill of Sale
2. Vessel Lien (SOTS) • Vessel Liens are under the Uniform Commercial Code law; this applies only to “undocumented” vessels. • Typical Situation: customer leaves a vessel at a business BY AGREEMENT for storage or repair never retrieves it and owes money • Business owner files a lien with the Secretary of State • After 30 days, the business owner may sell the vessel at auction • At the finish line, the buyer will need • A copy of the lien; • Copies of certified letters to the last owner of record • Copies of newspaper ads announcing sale of the vessel • Bill of sale • No “official” law enforcement involvement, but we advise business owners to check with law enforcement to make sure the vessel has not been reported stolen
3. Vessel Lien – Documented Vessel • Contact lienholder. Use NOAA database or reference DMV Certificate of Decal
4. Derelict Vessel (Harbormaster/DOT) • A HM or authorized municipal representative may cause removal of derelict vessel • “Derelict Vessel” is one that will not keep afloat with ordinary care • HMs are the sole judge as to whether a vessel is “derelict.” • Process: • Owner is notified, law enforcement may be involved in this step • Vessel is stickered with removal notice, law enforcement may be involved in this step • If vessel is not removed in 24 hours, the vessel may be taken into custody and removed, law enforcement may be involved in this step • The vessel may be disposed of in 15 days if the market value does not exceed $2,000, otherwise may be sold at auction after 90 days
5. Vessel Removed by Order (Harbormaster/DOT) • A HM may remove a vessel by order. • A HM can station any vessel in their jurisdiction. • Remedy for “willfull neglect or refusal to obey a harbormaster.” • The process: • Harbormaster notifies law enforcement • Law enforcement will remove vessel and take it into custody, then notify the owner in writing • Law enforcement may sell the vessel at public auction after 15 days if the value does not exceed $500, or after 90 days if the value exceeds $500 • However, the owner may request a hearing
6. Summary - “Abandoned Boat” Could Mean 5 Things • Abandoned – Boating Law, DEEP (CGS 15-140c) • Removed by Vessel Lien – Uniform Commercial Code, SOTS (CGS 49-55 et seq.) • Documented Vessel, special case • Derelict – Harbormaster, DOT (CGS 15-11a) • Removed by Order – Harbormaster, DOT (CGS 15-9)
New DEEP Abandoned Boat Proposal • Web-based system • 45 day clock • Defines the aggrieved as a “Party with Standing” • PwS interaction w/DEEP only once or twice • Provides an affirmative change of ownership to the PwS at the end of the process • Has built-in rules for liened or documented vessels • Scales-up for mass-displacement event
Definition of “Abandoned Boat” • A boat is ABANDONED when it is … • Left unattended and free floating on state waters for 24 hours or more ; or, • Left on a property without the property owner’s consent for more than 24 hours; or, • Left at a mooring for 60 days or more without payment; or, • Left at a commercial facility for more than 1 year since receipt of the last payment; or, • Found in or hindering access to a public right of way during a declared emergency.
Who is a “Party with Standing”? • A PARTY WITH STANDING is … • The owner of the property on which the vessel has been abandoned; • A harbormaster, police department, municipality, or agent of the state acting on their own behalf or the behalf of an aggrieved property owner; • An emergency responder or utility responding to a declared emergency; or, • A marine salvager or automobile tower engaged by one of the above
Advantages • It’s a quicker, more automated process. • It will require less staff time, and therefore cost us less. • It’s a more public process, making it fairer and more transparent for everyone. • It requires the PwS to interface with DEEP only once or twice and does not tie the outcome to the ability or proficiency of the party with standing, making it much easier for the elderly or the non-English speaking. • It costs the PwS less money than the current process and requires less of them. • It provides indisputable evidence of transfer of ownership. • And, most importantly, it implements an online system that can be accessed remotely and scaled up to meet the challenges of a mass-displacement event, such as a hurricane.
What is the bill number and when will it be proposed? • There is no bill number yet. • It will be proposed this session.
What do we need from you? • Letters of support: • From the CT HM group AND • From individual HMs. Thank you!
Abandoned Boat Contact:Remember - This presentation is just a summary based on my understanding of the applicable laws – please consult the actual statutes before acting Tim DelgadoCTDEEP Boating Division860firstname.lastname@example.org fin