DEEP: Abandoned Boats

Abandoned Boats

ATTENTION: New Rules Regarding Abandoned Boats. Effective July 10, 2015, a person, business or other organization may have no more than three abandoned boats in process at any given time.  The Department will return to the applicant any application that exceeds the three vessel limit.
Public Act 14-57 - An Act Concerning Abandoned Vessels went into effect on January 1, 2015 (CGS Section 15-140c, as amended).   The process for claiming abandoned boats has changed and is summarized below.
When is a boat considered abandoned? 
In Connecticut, a boat is considered abandoned if it is:
  • Left on someone’s property for more than 24-hours without the property owner’s permission;
  • Found free floating and unattended on the waters of the state for more than 24-hours;
  • Improperly registered and left on the waters of the state for more than 24-hours;
  • Left at a mooring for more than sixty days since payment for the mooring became overdue;
  • Left at a commercial facility for more than one year since payment for storage became overdue; or,
  • Found during a declared public emergency in a public right-of-way.
Who has the right or "standing" to submit a claim for an abandoned boat?
PA-14-57 designates the following as having standing:
  • The owner of the property where the vessel was abandoned OR any person that the landowner designates to complete the abandoned boat process;
  • Any harbormaster, police department, municipality or agent of the state that agrees to process the abandoned boat;
  • Any emergency responder who is responding to a declared emergency; or,
  • Any licensed motor vehicle dealer or marine salvager who is engaged by one of these persons to tow or transport an abandoned boat.
How do I submit a claim for an abandoned boat?
Effective January 1, 2015, to submit a claim for an abandoned boat, you must:
  1. Have standing as designated by statute and described above,
  2. Fill out a Notice of Abandoned Vessel form and have it notarized, and
  3. Submit the notarized form and any required attachments including photographs to the DEEP with a $20 non-refundable fee.
If the abandoned boat is not removed from the property where it was abandoned within approximately 45 days after information about the boat’s abandonment is posted on the DEEP website, the person with standing will be awarded ownership of the boat. The person with standing may then keep, sell, or otherwise dispose of the boat.
All boats that are reported as abandoned will be listed in the abandoned boat table.  The table will identify, among other things, the last date the vessel may be claimed by the owner or by someone with a lien on the boat or a security interest in the boat.  If one of these persons commits to removing the boat but cannot do so by the “Last Date to Claim Vessel”, that person has the right to ask for the date to be extended. In addition, the Commissioner may extend the date if more time to process a case is necessary. If this happens, an explanation as to why an extension was granted will be added to the table on the DEEP website.   
Note 1: Persons who are considering claiming an abandoned vessel are advised to be prepared to receive ownership of the abandoned vessel and to deal with any associated complications arising from acquiring ownership.
Documented Boats: 
“Documented” boats are boats that are or were numbered (registered) with the Coast Guard. They are larger boats that will likely have a name and hailing port painted on the back of the boat, and are unlikely to have a “CT” registration number on the front but they may still display a Connecticut registration decal.  There are special rules for dealing with an abandoned boat that is or was documented.  If you are unsure if the boat you are dealing with is or was documented, feel free to call us.
Note 2: This law cannot be used for abandoned boats that are currently documented with the United States Coast Guard, except that the owners of these boats can still be fined for abandoning the boat. It is unnecessary to file a Notice of Abandoned Vessel in this case. Contact your locate police. The fine for abandoning a boat is $440.00.
Note 3: In order to process a Notice of Abandoned Vessel for a boat that was previously documented with the United States Coast Guard, it will be necessary for you to obtain an Abstract of the Title from the United States Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC) and attach it to your application. The Abstract of the Title will cost you $25 and will take up to three weeks to receive.
According to the NVDC website, “You may obtain an Abstract of Title which will show all bills of sale, mortgages, and notices of claim of lien filed and recorded by the Coast Guard. You may request the Abstract by fax if you pay by credit card or may mail your request with the appropriate fee to the NVDC. To get accurate information you must supply the name and official number of the vessel.”  The form for obtaining an Abstract of title is available at NVDC contact information, including the fax number to which to send the completed form, is available on their website. 
Vessel Liens and Security Interests
Please note that there are safeguards built into the processing of abandoned boats to protect the interests of lien-holders or holders of security interests.  These safeguards require that various contacts be attempted or made if the abandoned boat is subject to a lien or security interest.  Posting of an abandoned boat on the DEEP website may be delayed while these contacts are attempted. 
Note 4: From time to time an abandoned vessel is found to be subject to a federal tax lien.  The DEEP Boating Division has no authority to discharge a vessel from a federal tax lien through the abandoned vessel process.  The DEEP Boating Division will notify a party with standing if an abandoned vessel is found to be subject to a federal tax lien.  Parties with standing seeking to take ownership of an abandoned vessel that is subject to a federal tax lien will be responsible for working with the IRS upon transfer of the vessel to formally discharge the vessel from the lien.   Parties with standing will be required to sign an acknowledgement of the lien prior to transfer.   A party with standing may choose to withdraw a vessel from the abandoned boat process at any time prior to being issued a Notice of Assumed Ownership.
Number and/ or Hull Identification Number *
(Select the photograph to view larger image)
Make/ Model  Length
Town and
Waterbody Nearest
Start Date/
Last Date to Claim Vessel 
Long Island Sound
April 25, 2016
June 9, 2016
{An image of an abandoned boat.}
Far East/
31' 9"
Gales Ferry/
Thames River
April 23, 2016
June 7, 2016
Long Island Sound
May 9, 2016
June 23, 2016
Long Island Sound
May 14, 2016
June 28, 2016
Housatonic River

May 23, 2016 /

July 7, 2016 
FL 4166 AJ / Unknown
Sundolphin / Basstender 11.3

Ansonia/Housatonic River

June 9, 2016 /

July 24, 2016 
CT 7218 AX / usk b18 mwc 494
Maxum / Cuddy
Connecticut River

June 1, 2016 /

July 16, 2016 
VT 6106 G / str r47 93_ 586
Starcraft / 180
Beacon Falls/Housatonic River

June 23, 2016 /

AUG. 7, 2016 
* The hull identification number, documentation number or vessel name and hailing port may be shown in lieu of a registration number.
Contact DEEP regarding a listed vessel by email  or phone (860-434-8638).
Content last updated May 16, 2016.