The Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station is warning boat owners that it is a crime to abandon a vessel on a public waterway.

The warning comes after more than a dozen boats during the past 12 months have gone aground on the Playa del Rey beach south of the entrance to Marina del Rey.

The boats beached after anchoring off the Playa del Rey beach south of the Marina entrance channel.

Harbor Patrol officials are calling the anchoring of such vessels off the Marina entrance channel “a serious public safety issue.”

“Within the past 12 months, more than 14 vessels have gone aground on the beach and just as many have been rescued by the Los Angeles County lifeguards and Sheriff’s Department and towed back into the Marina,” the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station said in a statement this week.

“Most of these vessels appear to be abandoned due to the fact that no one is seen on-board nor is anyone ever seen checking the anchor line and ground tackle,” the statement continues.

The boats “are left there exposed to the weather and sea conditions, which, at this time of the year, have become a real safety issue for other boaters navigating the area and for the safety of the public that uses the local beaches.”

The statement comes after residents of the Playa del Rey beach area complained that beached boats have attracted youngsters and others who are crawling over the boats. The residents warned that the abandoned boats on the beach have created a safety hazard for young children and others who use the beach area.

The Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station announced this week that notices to owners of record for the abandoned boats will be sent to the owners.

“These notices inform the owners that their vessels, in their present position and status, pose a danger to navigation and to the general public safety,” the Sheriff’s statement says.

“Pursuant to the State of California, Harbors & Navigation Code Section 523, these vessels will be towed and stored, at the owner’s expense, if not removed within ten days of the posting of this notice,” the Sheriff’s statement adds.

Information on this issue is available from Sheriff’s Sgt. Gary Thornton or Sheriff’s Deputy Paul Carvalho at the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station, (310) 823-7762.