Public Works - News

Posted on: August 24, 2023

Whatcom Marine Resources Committee Helps Remove Derelict Vessel from County Beach

The Whatcom Marine Resources Committee (MRC) recently partnered with other local stakeholders to remove a derelict vessel from the Nooksack River Delta in Bellingham Bay. The Whatcom County Public Works Natural Resources Division provides technical assistance and administrative support to the MRC. To learn more about the MRC, please visit their website

As a partner organization, the Whatcom MRC and Whatcom County Public Works are pleased to share the following press release from the Northwest Straits Commission:


Northwest Straits Commission, Whatcom Marine Resources Committee, and Washington State Department of Natural Resources Team Up to Remove Derelict Vessel from Whatcom County Beach

MOUNT VERNON, WA--There was cause for celebration on August 22 when a derelict vessel, the Wander Lust, was removed from a Whatcom County beach. The Wander Lust, a 44-year-old, 40 ft fiberglass vessel, has been an eyesore since it washed ashore in 2018. The Wander Lust sat on the land of a private property owner on the Nooksack River Delta in Bellingham Bay in Whatcom County.

 A land-based removal plan was carried out by Seattle contractor Trowbridge and included dismantling and removing the vessel from the beach via excavator and tracked dump truck. Trowbridge employees used an excavator to travel between the vessel site for demolition and the staging area at Smith Gardens, requiring multiple trips to complete the removal. 

“We would like to extend a huge thank you to all our partners who made this removal possible. We are especially grateful to Smith Gardens for granting a staging area and beach access during the day,” said Bob Cecile, Whatcom MRC Derelict Vessel Workgroup

The vessel removal was prioritized by a collaborative derelict vessel workgroup, including the seven Marine Resources Committees (MRCs) of the Northwest Straits region and tribal partners who work with MRCs. The group has compiled a prioritized list of derelict vessels within their communities where removals are likely to benefit the nearshore and marine ecosystems, treaty rights, and recreation and access. The Northwest Straits Commission, seven MRCs, and tribal partners have prioritized and funded the removal of 10 vessels, including the Wander Lust, so far this year. This work has been carried out in partnership with the Washington Department of Natural Resources Derelict Vessel Removal Program. 

Funding history: The Northwest Straits Commission (NWSC) received congressionally directed funding for 2023, selected as a funding priority by Senator Patty Murray, and is working in partnership with DNR through an interagency agreement on the derelict vessel removals. 


The Northwest Straits Initiative is a community-led collaboration working to protect and restore the marine environment of northwest Washington. The NWS Initiative is made up of the NWS Commission, the Foundation, and seven local Marine Resources Committees. We protect and restore the marine environment of northwest Washington by collaborating with tribal, economic, recreational, and environmental interests in on-the-ground restoration, education, and monitoring projects. 

Media Contact: Jessica Owens, Communications Coordinator, Northwest Straits Commission [email protected] | 564-900-0575

A derelict vessel, the Wander Lust, covered in spray paint after washing ashore in Bellingham Bay.

The Wander Lust, a 44-year-old, 40 ft fiberglass vessel, sat on the land of a private property owner on the Nooksack River Delta in Bellingham Bay in Whatcom County.

View additional pictures on the Northwest Straits Initiative Facebook page

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