Where do old boats die?

Posted: Sunday, September 09, 2007

Kudos to the city for setting up the dead car roundup. It had to be done for the same reasons that a dead boat roundup is desperately needed next.

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With our local dealerships pumping out up to six new cars a day, the options are few. Our roads get six new cars a day, and backyards or empty lots get the dead cars displaced by the new ones. So the city steps in and subsidizes a "no questions asked" campaign where we are allowed to drag anything resembling an automobile to the crusher a few times each year.

Shouldn't the guys who make money selling the new cars be paying for the disposal of the dead ones?

Now that boaters are catching on that aluminum boats of the same length with four-stroke outboard power burn less gas and are virtually maintenance free, a familiar scenario is noticeable in neighborhoods city-wide. About every fourth driveway has a shiny new aluminum boat up front, and a decrepit old fiberglass boat rotting away on a rusty trailer out back. I lost count at 125 on a recent cruise around the Mendenhall Valley!

Many driveways like mine have up to eight such fiberglass boats, but what can we do with them? Listen to Problem Corner any day to hear desperate owners of these yard ornaments trying to give them away. How about taxing the guys who are making all the money selling the new aluminum boats, then using that money to cover the cost of disposal of the resulting dead boats?

The dump charges seven cents a pound to dispose of a fiberglass boat. All gas and oil have to be removed, and the boat must be separated from the trailer before it's mashed into the landfill. Bottom line is, it costs your average guy more than $500 to dispose of the average 24-foot boat -much more if the trailer can't haul the boat to the dump.

Burning boat fiberglass creates cyanide-laced smoke, so that's out of the question.

My experience in attempting to sink one a few years back sort of backfired. (Search Empire archives, keywords "fake whale".) Point is, I tried. And with good intentions but bad results.

So, powers that be: Please, let's work on a program where we can haul our dead fiberglass boats somewhere for disposal. Before some fool tries to sink another one.

Jon Stetson


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