- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Juneau officials have begun removing boats from city harbors after identifying dozens of boats that have not moved in years.

City Harbormaster David Borg started a campaign to clear harbors of inoperable boats in August and found 39 boats that could be cleared from the waterways, the Juneau Empire reported (http://bit.ly/2kOGvJx) Sunday.

A few owners were ordered late last year to prove their boats could move under their own power or leave the harbor. Two owners have shown their boats are operable and three boats have been impounded.

City code requires boats to leave the harbor three times a year.

Borg said the efforts by Juneau’s harbor office are intended to maintain facilities for commerce and promote safe transportation on the water.

“I think it’s my responsibility to ensure that vessel operators are at least basically equipped for safe maneuvering in and out of the harbor,” Borg said.

Jerramy McNeil has filed an appeal after the boat he lived on with his wife was impounded.

“They’ve taken my home from me. They’ve put us out in the middle of the winter,” McNeil said.

After receiving a 72-hour notice to get his boat moving or leave, McNeil put an outboard kicker engine on the boat and took it out of the harbor for sea trials, but Borg said that wasn’t enough.

Boats must prove they can move on their own. If an underpowered boat were to hit another boat while moving, Borg said he could be held liable if he failed to act.

The harbormaster said he has suggested some steps for McNeil to take so he and his wife can get their boat back.

“The ball’s in his court now,” Borg said.

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Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com

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