Eight years after being abandoned by its owner, the rusted-out “Museum Houseboat” near Bald Ridge Campground was removed from Lake Lanier and crushed with a backhoe.
The dilapidated vessel had been sitting on dry land ever since its owner stopped paying his bills and “got out of town,” said Joanna Cloud, executive director of the Lake Lanier Association. As the boat has fallen into disrepair, it’s become “a giant piece of debris on public land,” Cloud said.
Monday morning, a crew hooked the 32-ton piece of debris to a backhoe, dragging it from a dried-up cove to the beach at the end of a boat ramp at the Cumming campground.
A handful of lake residents watched as the claw of the backhoe tore into the top of the boat, crushing the roof and moving debris into a dumpster. The hollowed-out hull was the last to go, put on a flatbed trailer and hauled off to the dump.
The boat posed a safety risk to visitors, especially children who might try to play inside, Cloud said. It also posed a contamination risk to the reservoir; corroding steel, gasoline and motor oil could have seeped into the water.
Monday’s boat removal is part of an ongoing effort of the Lake Lanier Association to remove abandoned houseboats and docks. As the remains of the boat left the campground, the association crossed one of their biggest removal projects off its list.
“The ones we have left on the list are fairly small and easy to deal with,” Cloud said.
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