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Weehawken Cove 'Boat Graveyard' Mystery Deepens: Where Did They Come From?

WEEHAWKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – There's a mystery in a New Jersey cove. Boats are just showing up.

The question is why? And what's being done to salvage the ones that sink?

Gaze upon Weekhawken Cove and something is a little fishy, as it holds not one, but two sunken sailboats. A couple more look, well, left for dead, CBS2's Vanessa Murdock reported Friday.

"The boat graveyard," Hoboken Sailing Club manager Kevin O'Brien said.

Murdock has learned that four of the boats belong to Sail New York and are maintained. The rest are just a sad sight to sailor Elizabeth Dempsey's eyes.

"I'm curious who owns them and why they're left to kind of run amuck … literally running amuck," said Dempsey, who lives in Jersey City.

"Just recently there's a few more," added Anne Rogaski of Weehawken.

When asked if he's ever seen anybody go out to the boats, Sandeep Srinaph of Hoboken said, "Very rarely, maybe once or twice over the last three years."

O'Brien said anchoring in the cove makes sense. There aren't many other places to do it in the lower Hudson, especially for free.

"If you can't afford to put your boat anywhere, they put them here," O'Brien said, referring to how the cove may be a cheaper option.

One would think a sunken ship would cause problems, but in the cove they are not in anybody's way. However, the seemingly abandoned anchored boats could become a problem.

"If that line snaps, the boats are going to drift off and then you have start worrying about other vessels running into it," said New York/New Jersey Baykeeper staff attorney Chris Len.

Len said there's no pollution concern in the cove.

"It's not something the fish are particularly going to care about. It's not something that is going to make you sick if you go in the water," Len said.

The apparent discarding of the vessels is annoying the locals.

"I don't think it's a nice sight," one woman said.

"People pay a lot of money to live here and I don't know why they're okay looking at these boats like that," Dempsey added.

The Coast Guard confirmed it knows about the "abandoned and derelict pleasure craft," but, said "because the vessels are not causing pollution and not blocking a shipping channel, we have no authority to take action."

The City of Hoboken is also aware, but told CBS2 the boats are outside of its jurisdiction, too.

So who is responsible? The New Jersey State Police, which confirmed that the vessels are under investigation. However, the police couldn't give Murdock a timeline as to when some action might be taken.

If any abandoned boats cause water pollution or block a shipping channel, they are dealt with by the Coast Guard, and all associated costs become the responsibility of the owner, Murdock reported.

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