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Environmental group finds abandoned boat at protected Kent County preserve

Kate Hackett
Delaware Wild Lands
The boat, abandoned at Milford Neck Preserve.

A small recreational boat abandoned on protected land in Kent County is worrying an environmental group that owns a part of that land.

Delaware Wild Lands owns 3,500 acres of protected land at Milford Neck Preserve. Staff found the motor boat during Memorial Day Weekend on Bennetts Pier Road at the edge of a marsh.

The boat is still there.

Delaware Wild Lands Executive Director Kate Hackett says it’s not just the boat that concerns the group, but what’s inside: Remnants of furniture, carpet, broken chairs, cups and oil cans.

“It’s clear that it is an issue of dumping,” Hackett said. “I mean it wasn’t like someone just left the boat there or that it was washed up from the bay or anything like that.”

The boat is small enough to be owned by an individual but, “large enough that it causes us a headache as an organization,” Hackett said.

Hackett says she is concerned about how the trash and boat could affect spawning horseshoe crabs and birds at the preserve.

“We can easily have oil leaching out of the motor, or gasoline. And that affects water quality. There’s also increasing concern about the persistence of plastic in our environment,” Hackett said.

Hackett says the boat did have an expired registration tag on it, so she’s hoping it can be traced back to the owner.

Staff contacted both Delaware State Police and Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police about the issue; but it’s likely they’ll have to hire an outside company to remove the boat.

Delaware residents who notice issues of illegal dumping can call the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control's complaint line, handled by the Division of Air and Waste. The numbers are 1-800-662-8802 and 1-302-739-9401.

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