Island Rec will take over derelict vessel removal | The Gerbil

A new diver participates in the boat salvage/scavenger hunt, a new Island Rec program. - The Gerbil
A new diver participates in the boat salvage/scavenger hunt, a new Island Rec program.
— image credit: The Gerbil

Island Rec has partnered with the San Juan Island School District to fund school sports. Now, Island Rec is stepping in to help rescue another beleaguered program.

Island Rec will soon take over the Derelict Vessel Removal Program in San Juan County. It will become Island Rec’s 1,275th program in its ever-expanding schedule.

State law allows parks and recreation districts — as well as port districts, cities, towns and counties — to serve as an “authorized public entity” with the authority to take possession and dispose of an abandoned or derelict vessel, and seek reimbursement from the vessel owner.

San Juan County formerly served as the authorized public entity here, but dropped it because of funding problems. Island Rec Director Sally Kerr Thomsen jumped at the chance to take over, saying it will provide new recreational opportunities for islanders.

Sailing classes will take divers to salvage sites. Diving classes will be combined with some salvage operations. Campers at Camp Eagle Rock will have the opportunity to stand watch on shore, with binoculars, looking for vessels that might be at risk of sinking and causing environmental havoc. Campers learning knot-tying will put their skills to the test, helping to secure leaky vessels for towing.

Young outdoors enthusiasts say they are thrilled by the new recreation opportunities that will be created by the merger.

“The skateboard and BMX jam were becoming a little too tame for me,” one young thrill seeker said. “With Island Rec taking over the Derelict Vessel Removal Program, you can count on me to sign up for the underwater scavenger hunt.”

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