Virginia Abandoned and Derelict Vessels Work Group

Purpose of The VA ADV Work Group
The Virginia Abandoned and Derelict Work Group (ADVWG) was created as a result of interest by many agencies, nonprofits and members of the boating committee to address the issues of abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) in Virginia.  The Work Group met in 2021 and 2022 to coordinate an examination of the issues surrounding recreational, commercial, and “legacy” ADVs in VA, focusing on solutions that have been attempted or implemented in other states with well-developed programs. Prior to the formation of the ADVWG, no concerted or sustained actions had been taken in the Commonwealth to address the issue.  

Photo by Gary Jacobs, Stafford County, VA

Acknowledging the impact of ADVs on navigation, ecosystems, economies, and communities, the ADVWG included representatives from pollution regulatory agencies, marine law enforcement, marinas, Tribes, nonprofit organizations, the boating community, coastal management professionals, and other interested parties.

Facilitation of the ADVWG was and continues to be provided by Clean Virginia Waterways (CVW) of Longwood University and the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program (Virginia CZM). The Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan (VMDRP) identified the benefits that increased collaboration could bring to marine debris issues including ADVs. The VMDRP was originally developed through a collaborative process led by Virginia CZM in 2014 and was updated in 2021.

Legal research by the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William & Mary Law School (VCPC) in 2021 resulted in the publication of a policy white paper in 2022. VCPC’s research greatly aided the ADVWG’s development of policy and funding solutions to the ADV problem. The ADVWG was also divided into four (4) subcommittees to address more specific aspects of the ADV issue: Laws & Policies, Funding, Removal & Disposal, and Prevention & Public Education.

As of May 2023, the ADVWG and its subcommittees have met virtually more than 30 times, although the majority of meetings occurred between January 2021 and February 2022. Recordings and summaries of the meetings can be found here [ADVWG Resources page]. The Prevention & Public Education Subcommittee continues to meet virtually on a bi-monthly basis to develop additional tools for informing the general public and members of the boating community about responsible boat disposal, reporting ADVs, and the environmental damage these vessels can cause.

VA ADV Work Group Recommends Funding for Removal

The ADVWG released a report in June 2021 containing specific policy and funding recommendations for state agencies, ADVWG partners, and the Virginia General Assembly to take action to address the ADV problem.

The report and a shorter fact sheet can be downloaded from the ADV Resources page.

In their final recommendations, the work group recommended a general funds allocation of $3 million to the VMRC for abandoned or derelict vessel removal and the creation of an ADV manager at the agency. Consistent with a part of these recommendations, the VMRC was allocated $ 3 million in FY 2022 to support the removal of abandoned or derelict vessels to be administered as a grant program to localities.


Removing ADVs
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) is the only state or federal government agency with jurisdiction in the Commonwealth that has authority to physically remove ADVs from the water. Apart from a few localities (the Cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, along with Mathews County) who have ordinances enabling them to also remove ADVs, government resources are limited. In 2022, the Virginia General Assembly included $3 million in funding for the removal of derelict vessels in the FY2023 budget (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023). VMRC worked with Virginia CZM, CVW and other ADVWG partners to create a program where funds can be allocated via a competitive bid process or applied for.


April 27, 2023: Funding Opportunity: The VMRC has created a new Abandoned or Derelict Vessel Grant Program and is requesting proposals from local governments and other political subdivisions of the Commonwealth to receive funding or to reimburse for the removal of abandoned or derelict vessels from the public tidal waters of Virginia.



For more information, visit the VMRC ADV website at: https://mrc.virginia.gov/advgrant.shtm

Applications must be submitted to Rachael.Peabody@mrc.virginia.gov.

VMRC Abandoned or Derelict Vessel Grant Program Manual
VMRC Abandoned or Derelict Vessel Grant Application

Inventory of ADV in Virginia

The ADVWG created an open-access Google Forms survey that anyone can complete and submit to help us build an inventory of ADVs in the state. Co-facilitator Jeff Flood of Virginia CZM has completed a state-wide ADV inventory in early 2023 using data received from ADVWG members, partners, and members of the general public, but we need your help to keep the inventory updated with reports of new ADV sightings so that those vessels can be removed.

Your help in updating the ADV inventory will be a great asset to government entities, community leaders, and the maritime industry as we collectively work to prioritize the removal of vessels based on the level of threat to public safety and the environment as well as the efficient use of taxpayer money.




Reports and Resources can be found here: https://www.longwood.edu/cleanva/ADV-resources.html

Video about ADVs in Virginia produced by Virginia CZM and CVW, with contributions from the Vessel Disposal & Reuse Foundation:


For more information about this work group, contact:

Katie Register, Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University (registerkm@longwood.edu)
Jeff Flood, Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program (jefferson.flood@deq.virginia.gov)