Disposing of an Unwanted Vessel
Vessel Turn-In Program
Like most possessions, boats often have a lifespan. At some point, boats are of such little monetary value or utility that they are not worth the cost of upkeep and storage.
Proper vessel disposal is a vital part of clean and responsible boating. Because there are several environmental hazards associated with old vessels, including used oil, solvents and used batteries, it is important that all vessel owners properly dispose of their vessels at the appropriate time.
Never abandon or sink a vessel to dispose of it. Not only does it pose an environmental and navigational hazard on our state’s waterways but it is also illegal with fines up to $3000.
There are several options for proper vessel disposal: the no-cost Vessel Turn-In Program, donating, recycling, and/or dismantling. Please click on the tabs above for more information.
Vessel Turn-In Program
The Vessel Turn-In Program, known as VTIP, is a no-cost alternative for recreational boat owners to surrender an unwanted boat. Surrendering a boat is as simple as contacting a participating local agency and making arrangements to drop-off a boat. You must be the registered owner and sign a release of interest in the boat. Eleven local agencies statewide are currently participating in the program. Click here to find an agency near you.
If you are a local agency interested in becoming a VTIP participant, click here for more information, including how to apply for a VTIP grant.
Some charities accept motorboats, sailboats, personal watercraft, and other vessels, as tax-deductible donations. The boat will generally need to be in decent condition to use as a donation.
- Boat Angel Outreach Center: Boat Angel Outreach Center wants to help you help change the world. Through innovative partnerships and vehicle processing, Boat Angel Outreach Center is able to convert your boat or yacht donation to significant value for charities.
- Boats With Causes: Boats with Causes offers an easy way to donate boat to charity. All proceeds go straight to helping the "With Causes" charitable organization. Fishing boats sailboats and other vessel donations.
- Teddy Bear Cops: Help a child with a boat, sail boat, trailer, yacht, watercraft, jet ski or wave runner donation to charity. Yacht salvage and personal watercraft salvage information.
- Los Angeles Area - Action Donation: Donate a Car, Boat, used Truck or RV to charity and receive the Maximum Legal Tax Deduction and possibly a Partial Cash Payment.
Used boat part dealers, or salvagers, may accept your old vessel for its parts, which they resell. Each dealer will compensate the boat owner for the value of the useable parts minus the total cost of dismantling the vessel and recycling or disposing of hazardous wastes; however each dealer has its own specific requirements for the length and type of vessel they will accept. Search online for a local salvage company near you, or check this list of operators.
The California Department of Boating and Waterways and the California Coastal Commission, do not certify the business practices employed by the operators listed in the link above. Nor does it endorse any business or service listed herein.
Some used boat dealers will dismantle and dispose of a vessel that has no redeemable value. Each dealer has its own requirements for vessel length and type, and each dealer will charge for this service. The costs usually run between $50 and $200 per foot and include transportation, labor, disposal, and recycling or disposing of used oil and other hazardous materials.