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METROPOLIS / So SoCal

Urban Outriggers

June 13, 2004|MICHAEL T. JARVIS

Every few days, another abandoned boat washes up on the streets of Los Angeles, and the tide is rising. "I just got a call from a lady about a boat on the pavement," says Sgt. Carl Jones of the Metro Abandoned Detail for the Special Operations Division of the city's Bureau of Parking Enforcement and Intersection Control. He puts the yearly abandoned boat tally at 100, "easily," and says some areas in Marina del Rey, Mar Vista and others adjacent to the Port of Los Angeles have become veritable graveyards for small fishing boats.

This latest blight on the urban landscape may be a case of good intentions coming home to roost. Traffic officer Christopher Jones (no relation) speculates that the washed-up boats may be a byproduct of cleaner, greener boat design, namely a wave of more environmentally friendly but less powerful two-stroke marine engines manufactured since about 1999. The new engines may be unable to pull older, heavier boats, suggests Jones, who says he found two such boats abandoned within the same block in January. Under the Los Angeles Municipal Code, boats, like cars, are cited if parked for more than 72 hours on any city street. If impounded and not claimed, the boat is auctioned off or wrecked, Carl Jones says. The orphaned vessels may soon run aground on the municipal docket. "The city is trying to get a resolution to deal with this situation. Boats are becoming a big problem," says Ray Lampkin, deputy chief of the Special Operations Division for the parking enforcement bureau, who advises residents to dial the citywide services directory at 311 to report abandoned boats. As for City Council members, a dose of Dramamine may be in order.

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