Anonymous asked this question on 4/15/2000:
What are the laws on finding an abandoned boat?
TBoats gave this response on 4/16/2000:
There are three overlapping sets of laws and jurisdictions for abandoned vessels, international, federal, and state. You are legally, as well as morally, obligated to contact state, county, municipal, or coast guard authorities to inform them of your find. Most recreational boats will be handled by state or local agencies. Each recreational boat manufactured in the U.S. is required to have a Hull Identification Number(HIN). Dealers and builders are required to retain records of who bought the boats. Depending on how many (if any) times the boat has been resold, it is quite likely that the owner can be identified. It is possible that the finder would be due a percentage of the value of the boat as a salvage award, but--as icarius31 says, you'll still need to contact an admiralty lawyer to get the definitive anwswer for your particular situation. I know that makes it clear as mud. My intention is only to let you know that the theory that an abandoned boat can be easily claimed as salvage is more or less an "urban legend."
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