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Boats, Floats, and Trash!
By Jerry Cegelske


June 09, 2005

About a month ago I received a telephone call from a woman asking if there was anything that could be done about the boats on the Gravina shoreline.  I also noticed in one of his cartoons announcing spring cleanup starting April 16th, Roger Maynard has two fish in the lower right corner with one saying to the other "Someone should clean up all the derelict boats that we see over on Gravina Island!"

jpg an iron hulk on the beach

An iron hulk on the beach

Since I am "someone", I took a ferry ride over to the airport where Officer Franco D'Angelo met me.  After a short ride we ended up walking the beach to where the majority of junked boats are currently resting.  My intent was to do a survey of the boats to see what is there and what can be done to remove them from the area.  What was interesting is that there is a number of old floats, less visible than the boats that have also been deposited on the beach.  After they provided service for their lifetimes, they were towed there and deposited (we don't just set them adrift to be a navigation hazard as we are responsible people- we just dump them on someone else's property for them to take care of!).
These boats were floating when they were placed on the island but now they have broken up and present a real challenge to get cleaned up.  It would have been much easier for the owners to have taken them to a beach area or boat ramp where they could have been taken apart and transported to the landfill.  But since they are to cheap and lazy to do that, someone else has to do their dirty work for them.  Until that day, we get to look at their handiwork!
One large boat was taken there and then set on fire.  It burned to the waterline leaving a skeleton and the remains of the large old engine. 

jpg remains of a boat

Remains of a boat

When the boats are towed and deposited on the beach, are the fuel tanks emptied and cleaned so they don't pollute the water or beach?  Is the oil drained from the engines?  Are the batteries removed so the acid doesn't leach into the water affecting the Narrows?  What about asbestos exhaust pipe insulation?
We will be working on this project for the next several months to see what can be done.  I say "WE" as I can't do it alone.  I need your help and ideas in order to get it cleaned up.  Several people have volunteered ideas and suggestions.  Since it is summer, there should be some bored school kids that need to be occupied with some projects.  Besides, there are some nice things on the beach to be collected by the beachcombers.  There are many large (10" spikes) around the burned out boat and other interesting artifacts to be found.
"WE" can do it because "WE" want it done!
For a cleaner Gravina Shoreline,

Jerry Cegelske
Code Enforcement
Ketchikan Gateway Borough
E-mail :
Ketchikan, AK - USA


Officer Franco D'Angelo with the remains of a ferro-cement sailboat

An old boat and a float

A float deposited by someone to lazy to take proper care of it!

Another wooden boat left high and dry.

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