Abandoned boats piling up in Staten Island harbor

STATEN ISLAND, NY (CHASING NEWS) -- "It smells. It's an eyesore. I mean, do we really need this? It's a beautiful park."

That's Fred Delise, a local boater who's leading an effort to get rid of abandoned boats that are piling up in Great Kills Harbor on the south shore of Staten Island.

We visited one boat that ended up in Gateway National Park.

"New York City Parks Department knew about this boat over a year ago being abandoned and put on an abandoned mooring, and city parks basically did nothing about it," Delise said.

Delise took us on a ride around the harbor and explained the problem.

"When it's hide tide you don't see it you're going to hit it."

The city manages the waters by issuing permits for the moorings. But the permits are free so many of the moorings end up abandoned and decaying in the water. People then attach abandoned boats to the abandoned moorings.  And when the tide is high, you don't know where those boats are.

"I don't want to find it by hitting it, if you know what I mean" Delise said.

A city parks spokesperson said the department is not responsible and not resourced to address abandonments in state-owned waters, and that private boating clubs and individual permittees are responsible.

"Somebody's got to take responsibility," Delise said. "You can't just keep handing it off to the Coast Guard, to city parks, to the DEC, to federal parks, back to the Coast Guard. It's a circle. It's a circle and nobody's saying, 'Hey, we'll step up, we'll do it.'"

Delis said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has removed four abandoned boats from the harbor already and he estimates there 25 to 40 more.

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