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Unlicensed, shabbily maintained docks red-tagged for removal
Unlicensed, illegally moored and poorly maintained, nearly a dozen smaller-sized docks and floats will be hauled out of Friday Harbor and out of Orcas Island's Deer Harbor beginning in mid-November.
The floating structures, in addition to being unauthorized, will be removed in an effort to improve navigation and ensure environmental protection, and before they become damaged or unhinged by winter storms, according to Brenda Treadwell of the state Department of Natural Resources.
“These floating docks are in various states of disrepair, and some are likely to break apart in a significant storm,” said Treadwell, DNR aquatic resources manager for San Juan County. “In addition, many of these structures contain old tires, exposed foam and other hazards that can harm the aquatic environment. In other cases, the floats are used as storage for anything from gas cans to a bath tub. Removing these broken bits of docks and dilapidated floats also will make navigation easier for boaters and provide more area for short-term vessel moorage.”
A total of 11 floating structures of assorted sizes have been tagged for removal; five in Friday Harbor's Shipyard Cove and three in Deer Harbor. Treadwell said the DNR consulted with San Juan County Sheriff's Department and manager of the county derelict vessel removal program in identifying docks and floats to be removed.
The department began the process of taking ownership of the unauthorized floats and docks Sept. 26, posting notices of pending seizure of the property. It followed up with a second notice Oct. 16, and will take custody of each Nov. 15, unless someone comes forward before before then to claim ownership and remove a floating object and anchors.
In cases in which an owner has been identified, Treadwell said DNR will seek reimbursement for costs of removal and disposal of the object, its anchoring system and related debris.