Group seeks to tow boats left in river

The Net Web is among more than 23 boats that have been left along the Savannah River between Augusta and Savannah.

A mahogany-trimmed trawler twice abandoned in the Savannah River will be demolished unless someone is willing to adopt and restore it.

"It's kind of a shame, really," said Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bontatibus. "But it needs to come out so it isn't causing more environmental problems."

The 42-foot boat, named Net Web, was abandoned near the Bobby Jones Expressway bridge last year, and was moved by the U.S. Coast Guard after it was found to be leaking fuel.

Savannah Riverkeeper sold it to a new owner who tried to move it downstream to the coast, but it broke down -- and was left in the river near Jackson.

"He paid $1,500 for it, which was the cost of moving it, and then spent another $1,000 on the motor," Bontatibus said. "Now it's just sitting out there again."

The nonprofit group is launching a fundraising drive in efforts to raise $15,000 for removal of the Net Web and other abandoned boats.

"To date, we have over 23 boats between Augusta and Savannah in need of removal and this is only half of the Savannah River," she said. "Our goal is to get 100 people to donate $50 a month for three months to raise a total of $15,000. This would allow the Riverkeeper to remove a portion of the hazardous vessels."

If the Net Web can be removed from the river, it will be demolished and disposed of properly to ensure it won't end up abandoned again, she said.

Contact Savannah Riverkeeper at www.savannahriver keeper.org/.