Delaware does not have a formal comprehensive program to address abandoned or derelict vessels in the state. The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is the agency within the state that deals with issues relating to abandoned or derelict vessels with the authority to seize, remove, transport, preserve, store, and dispose of any abandoned vessel or property relating to an abandoned vessel.
Delaware does not have a dedicated funding source for the removal of these vessels. When an ADV removal is undertaken, funding originates from the Division of Watershed Stewardship's annual General Fund appropriation under dredging, macro algae harvesting, and channel marking. The state of Delaware is entitled to reimbursement for all expenses incurred, which include all direct expenses associated with the seizure, removal, transportation, preservation, storage, and disposal of a vessel or property relating to a vessel.
Under Delaware Code, several provisions (23 Sec. C. §1303 through §1305) provide the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control with the authority over vessels abandoned in state waters. The state does not have a formal designation procedure for identifying abandoned and derelict vessels but existing laws allow for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to remove any vessel that has been left illegally or has remained without permission for more than 30 days on public property. The state can also remove vessels that have been found adrift or unattended, are in a condition of disrepair that constitutes a hazard to health or the environment, or are an obstruction on public lands or waters.
Point of Contact
The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is the administering agency for abandoned/derelict vessels in Delaware. The Division of Fish and Wildlife, within DNREC, has authority over vessels that are abandoned on seawalls or at other mooring facilities or are found adrift on state waters.