The Richardson’s Bay Regional Agency has received another $233,300 from the state for its voluntary boat surrender program.
The funding comes from the California Department of Boating and Waterways. The funding is a recurring source the agency taps to entice mariners to turn in old boats, said Steve McGrath, the agency’s director.
“It’s a very valuable program,” McGrath said. “We’re very grateful for the support of the state in the funding of this program, which helps people and helps the environment.”
McGrath said the program enables vessel owners to voluntarily turn them in at no cost and keeps the boats from becoming an environmental blight. The Richardson’s Bay Regional Agency disposes of the boats and receives a reimbursement from the state.
“We use this program a lot. That’s why the size of the grant,” McGrath said.
Adeline Yee, a spokesperson for the California Department of Parks and Recreation, said the program was designed to remove abandoned recreational vessels to prevent them from entering waterways.
“Not only are abandoned vessels an eyesore, but they are also a source of pollution. Collectively, the division and local public agencies are promoting clean water and healthy ecosystems,” Yee said.
The grant program requires a 10% match from the Richardson Bay agency, which has an annual budget of about $1.8 million.
The agency has received more than $1 million in grants from the state over the last five years. It received $220,500 in 2021, Yee said.
McGrath said the most recent grant is available for use through September 2024.
McGrath said the agency also uses the funding for derelict vessels outside of Richardson Bay. Marina owners elsewhere can contact the agency to tow vessels and dispose of them in an environmentally sound manner, he said.
The agency — a joint powers authority of the county, Mill Valley, Tiburon and Belvedere — is responsible for clearing the bay of liveaboard mariners to comply with a state mandate to protect eelgrass.
Harbormaster Jim Malcolm said there are approximately 67 vessels on the anchorage. About 45 of them are in the area known as the eelgrass protection zone.