In New Bern, North Carolina, a coastal town hit hard by Hurricane Florence, the storm surge deposited a stray sailboat in a homeowner’s back yard. President Trump’s offhand remark that the homeowner “got a nice boat out of the deal” was the subject of some derision. However, the homeowner may in fact be the new owner of the boat since North Carolina precedent allows an owner to walk away from a vessel rendering it abandoned private property.
A recent Financial Times article, takes a deep dive into the potential implications for the homeowner of becoming the unintentional owner of the CSY 44 sailboat. The boat is likely to be heavily damaged and in need of salvage. Since the boat’s original owner is not required to carry insurance, paying for salvage or just getting the boat removed from their property would be the homeowners’ responsibility.
Homeowners insurance could cover some of the costs, but the article notes that the homeowner is likely to hand over the title over to a professional salvor as payment for having the boat removed.