Abandoned boats and debris in state waterways can pose a hazard to navigation and to the environment. As part of its commitment to clean, safe and enjoyable recreational boating on Maryland waterways, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provides reimbursable grants and expertise to assist public agencies in the removal of abandoned boats and debris from state waters.
Funds for the program come from the state Waterway Improvement Fund which is generated from the one time 5% excise tax paid to the State when a boat is purchased and titled in Maryland.
Read the full text of the law regarding abandoned vessels in Annotated Code of Maryland
Once a vessel is determined to be abandoned, the title to the vessel can be acquired.
Use these forms to claim abandoned vessel
For more information on licensing and registration, click here to contact a DNR Service Center.
Periodically DNR posts requests for bids (RFB) for the removal and/or disposal of vessels determined to be abandoned and/or derelict in accordance with Article §8-721. DNR posts bids on the DNR Bid Board and distributes them to contractors listed in our Abandoned Boat Contractor database.
Only contactors who are registered with the Maryland Department of General Services Small Business Reserve Program are eligible to bid.
Select vessel and debris removal projects require contractors to be
registered Marine Contractors with the Maryland Department of the Environment,
only registered contactors are eligible to bid. A
question and answer document is also available online.
What is an abandoned vessel?
An abandoned vessel as defined in Natural Resources Article §8-721(a), Annotated Code of Maryland is a vessel that has remained at a location without the owner or person in control of the property’s consent:
How do I report an abandoned vessel?
To report an abandoned vessel, contact the NRP Communications Office at 410-260-8888.
How is the ownership of an abandoned vessel determined and what are the consequences for abandoning a vessel?
The last known, registered owner shown on the Certificate of Title issued under §8-715 of the Annotated Code of Maryland shall be considered Prima Facie owner of a vessel at the time it was abandoned and the person who abandoned it.
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