There are currently more than 50 abandoned boats in Auckland's Waitemata Harbour, with at least one pulled from the water every week.
Boats are often left by their owners if they can no longer pay mooring fees or cannot keep up with maintenance.
Once a derelict boat is identified, the harbourmaster makes multiple attempts to contact the owner and the police are notified.
Notices are placed in the local paper and a notice warning of the removal of the boat is attached to its hull.
If this is unsuccessful, the harbourmaster has the power under maritime law to send the boat to the tip, or sell it for parts. The cost is covered by Auckland Transport and the money raised by selling the parts.
Ian Clouston from the Auckland Yacht & Boating Association said the number of boats that had to be destroyed upset boaties.
"There's a lot of people out there that really love boats ... but just haven't got the finance, I suppose you could say, at the time to go out and buy a boat of their own. And the costs of repairs these days is getting dearer and dearer all the time as well so it's a double-edged sword because there are people out there who'd like to have them and get them off these people but they just can't afford to repair them," Mr Clouston said.
Abandoned boats aren't only found in the Waitemata Harbour - they are dotted across the region. And they are easy to spot, with mussels covering the keels and moss blanketing the hulls.
Maritime Officer Thomas Nance said boat owners leave their vessels bobbing in the ocean if they can no longer afford to look after them.
"The cost to maintain it will go up as time goes on and they might not be able to meet those costs.
"For them, the easy option may just be to keep paying mooring fees, just keep their head in the sand, and ignore the fact that their boat is going down hill. And that just goes on to the point where it's no longer, there is nothing to save, it's just a trip to the tip, which is pretty sad as a boatie," he said.
Mr Nance is urging anyone with an abandoned boat to contact the harbourmaster.