Tenth abandoned houseboat finally removed from the lake

After more than five years of being abandoned on the shores of Lake Lanier, “The Beast” has left the lake.

"The Beast" houseboat being floated across the lake

“The Beast” is finally floated across the lake.

Named by the team who worked diligently to get the houseboat removed in mid-August, the houseboat was by far the most complex.

“Calling it ‘The Beast’ wasn’t really as descriptive as the process of finally getting it removed, but it deserved the name,” said Jennifer Flowers, executive director of the Lake Lanier Association. The boat is the 10th abandoned houseboat to be removed from Lanier through the group’s Abandoned and Derelict Docks and Boats program begun in 2015.

“TowBoatUS had tried several times to remove it, earlier this summer, but water levels hindered the removal,” Flowers said. “Finally after weeks of planning and execution, it’s gone.”

The boat had occupied the shoreline in a cove near Browns Bridge. Multiple attempts to locate the owner, who would have been responsible for taking it off the lake, were futile. The steel hull was so deteriorated that it took the better part of a week to prepare it and move it across the lake to the Balus Creek Boat Ramp where it was loaded in pieces onto trucks and taken away for scrap.

The houseboat on water, with men wrapping it in preparation for move to scrap yard

The houseboat is wrapped for its trip to the scrap yard.

“Even with the experts from TowBoatUS, the process took much longer than we anticipated,” Flowers said. “We expected to take a day for setup and preparation, then another day to tow it across the lake to haul it away In reality, it took four days. Reinforcements of additional inflatable bags and a dive team helped make the process manageable.

For LLA and the Corps of Engineers, this is just another chapter in assuring safety and continued water quality at the lake.

“Abandoned boats are a serious threat to the lake, from the oil and fuel that can leak into the water, to the presence of an unexpected obstacle for recreational boaters,” Flowers said. “It’s an expensive process to undertake and the longer it sits, the more expensive it becomes.”

The association was influential in getting the new boat titling bill passed in the 2019 General Assembly. Boat titles create a tighter bond back to an owner than registration alone. “This will prevent this type of dumping in the future as it will allow owners to be tracked down and held accountable for disposing of their vessels,” she said.

The association has formed partnerships with various businesses and agencies around the lake, such as TowBoatUS, to help with removal of these hazards.

“The Beast was really a major project,” Flowers said. “The Corps of Engineers paid for this boat’s removal in its entirety. LLA identified it on a Top 10 removal list and we could not have done this without the Corps’ funds and partnership.”

Additionally, funds earmarked for this program by the Georgia General Assembly allocated to the Georgia Department of Resources  helped as well.

Plans to remove two more abandoned houseboats, called “The Chestatee Ghost Boat” and “The Shadow,” are slated for removal in the next few months.