The powerboat Joint Venture remains at the bottom of Lowell’s Cove more than a year after sinking in November 2021. The town continues to pursue state funds to pay for the boat’s removal, but may remove the boat itself if the funds are not forthcoming.
Joint Venture owner Antonio DiPietro, of Bailey Island, was found guilty of abandonment of watercraft, a Class E crime, according to Harpswell Harbor Master Paul Plummer. But the court did not assess fines, restitution, or any other penalty, citing DiPietro’s financial circumstances.
The town and state have both deemed the boat abandoned, so the town has the right to remove it, according to Plummer. The next step is to determine how to pay for the operation.
Plummer hopes to secure funds for removal from the Submerged Lands Program at the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. The program, in turn, is seeking a federal grant to pay for projects like the removal of the Joint Venture.
If the state agrees to fund the boat’s removal, the town will hire a diver to attach flotation devices to the vessel. When the vessel floats to the surface, another boat will tow it to the town landing at Garrison Cove, Bailey Island, then a truck will haul it to the recycling center for disposal.
Plummer gave a “very rough” estimate of $8,000 to $10,000 for this method.
If the town pays, it may choose a more affordable option. A diver would hook tow cables onto the Joint Venture and another vessel would tow it as close to the Lowell’s Cove beach as possible. From the road, an excavator would reach down and crush the boat, then place it into a dump truck for transportation to the recycling center.
The town would need permission from the beach owner to pursue this method, Plummer said. He estimated that it would cost about half as much as floating the vessel, but inflation could drive costs higher.
The 26-foot Silverton sank in the cove, off Orr’s Island, on Nov. 22, 2021.