If you have an old boat wasting away, you have an opportunity to get rid of it as part of the Texas General Land Office’s Vessel Turn-In Program.

The program will run May 18-20, and the drop-off location is the Calhoun County Recycling Center, 900 Old Landfill Road, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The land office is working with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to minimize the amount of illegal dumping of vessels along the coast.

The last time the program was offered was in 2018, and 34 vessels were turned in at that time. It hasn’t been done over the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was pretty successful,” said Tony Belton, general manager of the Port Lavaca GLO office, during the March 2 meeting of the Calhoun County Commissioners’ Court, where he was given permission to use the recycling center as a drop off point.

“The program is to foster appropriate and responsible boat ownership,” said Belton. “People get a boat for fun and access to the natural resources the state has, but you have to be responsible for the vessel.”

In addition to the environmental impact, Belton said it was a way to reduce damage during a storm or allow it to become a navigational hazard.

“Safety on the coast where tropical storm winds can get to 75 to 85 mph and a boat sitting in a backyard can become airborne and cause additional damage,” he explained.

To utilize the program, the vessel needs:

- To be under 26 feet in length. Longer vessels will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

- Verification of ownership and a Release of Interest and Ownership must be provided. In addition, the vessel needs to be free of loan balances, liens, or taxes. TPWD will verify ownership and clear any vessel for disposal.

- All waste and debris needs to be removed before turning the vessel in.

GLO is sponsoring the removal of fuel, oil, and batteries from the vessels.

“It’s a benefit to the community and the environment all along the coast,” said Belton.

For more information, call 361-552-8081.