SEA BRIGHT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An abandoned boat in Monmouth County is causing a number of problems in addition to blocking beach access for locals.
The 30-foot sailboat, named Joyeux, has been sitting on the beach at the north end of Sea Bright for more than two weeks.
First responder Robert Hemphill was part of a dramatic rescue on June 19 when the sailor ran up on a sand bar around 12:40 a.m., reports CBS2’s Meg Baker.
“I’m being called the ninja lifeguard for jumping up on his boat in the middle of the night,” Hemphill said. “It was pitch black, very foggy, couldn’t even see shore from the boat.”
Police say the Russian owner was sailing from Maryland back to his home in Brooklyn. He attempted to push the boat back out to sea during high tide the next day to no avail, and then he abandoned ship.
“He completely gave up all his rights. He did not have any type of insurance on it,” Sea Bright Police Sgt. Richard Huegel said. “The Coast Guard will not remove the vessel due to the fact that it is not a hazard to the waterways.”
Under New Jersey law, a boat can legally be abandoned in an emergency situation. Since it no longer belongs to the owner, it’s now Sea Bright’s problem and it will cost thousands of dollars to remove.
Complicating things further, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is also involved in the removal because there are endangered species, such as the piping plover, on the beach.
Locals say the vessel has been the talk of the town.
“Sea Bright is obviously doing its best job here, but I mean, it really should be the responsibility of the owner to take it off the beach,” Rumson resident Scott Milsom said.
The borough has contracted a salvage company and hopes to take the boat out piece by piece next week, at the expense of taxpayers.
The police would not release the name of the boat’s owner.