The City of Mobile has kicked off its project to remove all abandoned boats and other marine debris from its waterways.

The first of the boats that have to go was removed Monday. Another two dozen have been targeted for quick removal.

The project is coordinated by the City of Mobile but paid for by two grants: one from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and one from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. 

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson was on hand for the first removal on Monday. He said the boats and other debris "are creating navigational hazards for boaters" and were "eyesores."

Stimpson made this statement at the scene of the first removal:

"Today, the Mobile Police Department's Special Operations Unit and Homeland Security Marine Detail successfully removed the first boat as part of this grant. This boat has been an eyesore in Dog River Park for years, and it was indeed a welcome sight to see it drained, lifted, and removed to be scrapped and properly discarded."

Boatremoval2 Alabama News
Derelict boat in Mobile. Photo: Mobile Mayor's office

"This is the first of many boats and other marine debris that will be removed from local waterways because of this grant from NOAA and NFWF.

"Why does it take a grant to tackle this problem? That's a fair question. The answer is that no designated agency at the federal, state, or local level is responsible for removing abandoned boats and debris. Ideally, it would be the owner's responsibility, but tracking down the owners can sometimes prove difficult, and other times, the owners lack the financial means to have them safely removed from the water. That's why grants like this are so important. We appreciate the support from NOAA and NFWF and look forward to taking more of these eyesores out of our waterways soon."

Waterways in the City of Mobile include Dog River, Halls Mill Creek, parts of Mobile Bay and other streams.

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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