An abandonded houseboat, nicknamed

An abandonded houseboat, nicknamed "The Museum Houseboat," sits beached in a cove on Lake Lanier. In Feburary, two backhoes pulled the boat out of the cove and placed it on a flatbeat truck, where it was broken up.

At Lake Lanier on Tuesday, crews will remove a houseboat that sank years ago. Nicknamed “The Titanic,” it’s one of about 20 abandoned boats and docks on Georgia’s largest lake. Not only are they eyesores, they’re harmful to people and the environment. And, there’s no easy way to get rid of them.  


In late February, workers pulled another houseboat out of Lake Lanier. It was beached on the shore for years, the hull rusted all the way through. Two backhoes pulled the boat out of the cove and dragged it along the shoreline.




Joanna Cloud is executive director of the Lake Lanier Association. The Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the lake, is supposed to remove abandoned boats. But their hands are tied by a lack of funding. Cloud says her association decided to take action on its own.


“The vessel owner didn’t a have a job, didn’t have assets, there isn’t a dock permit associated with that property. There was just nothing to leverage in that situation,” Cloud says.


Doug Helton of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says abandoned vessels are a problem across the country. They're a navigation hazard. Leaking fuel and chemicals can be deadly to marine wildlife.


And for the most part, these boats are worthless.


“Even an abandoned car is worth a couple hundred dollars in scrap to somebody,” Helton says. “But an abandoned vessel is typically a liability. There isn’t any value that anybody can get back.”


One reason it’s hard to track down owners: boats in Georgia don’t need titles. A bill to require them failed to make it out of the General Assembly earlier this year.