Virginia does have laws and a formal program in place for registering and titling abandoned watercraft, which is administered by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Under Virginia laws, it is unlawful for an owner to allow a vessel to be in a state of abandonment and in danger of sinking, or in such disrepair as to constitute a hazard or obstruction to the use of a waterway.
ADV removal efforts are funded out of the Marine Habitat and Waterways Improvement Fund. This Fund receives monies from legislative appropriations and the proceeds from the sale of state-owned marine lands. In addition, the Commissioner is authorized to accept gifts and grants for the Fund. The Marine Habitat and Waterways Improvement Fund can only be used to improve marine habitat and waterways, which includes the removal of obstructions or hazardous property from state waters.
Provisions under Virginia Annotated Code (§ 28.2 and § 29.1) allow for the removal and disposal of abandoned and derelict vessels found on both private and public property, by the Marine Resources Commission or the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, respectively. In addition, state law allows local governments to enact ordinances authorizing the removal of abandoned vessels.
Point of Contact
In Virginia, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries administers the abandoned watercraft program.