FWC changes rule to provide grant money to remove ‘at-risk’ vessels

Sarasota Police remove derelict boats from the bay. The state has approved allowing local...
Sarasota Police remove derelict boats from the bay. The state has approved allowing local governments to use grant funds to remove at-risk or public nuisance vessels from waterways.(Sarasota Police (custom credit))
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 11:50 AM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WWSB) - The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has approved allowing local governments to use grant funds to remove at-risk or public nuisance vessels from waterways.

Currently, the FWC grant program only applies to removing, destroying and disposing of derelict vessels.

A vessel is considered at risk of becoming derelict if any of the following conditions exist:

  • The vessel is taking on or has taken on water without an effective means bail the water out.
  • Spaces on the vessel that are designed to be enclosed are incapable of being sealed off or remain open to the elements for extended periods of time.
  • The vessel has broken loose or is in danger of breaking loose from its anchor.
  • The vessel is left or stored aground unattended in such a state that would prevent the vessel from getting underway, is listing due to water intrusion, or is sunk or partially sunk.

Recent changes to Florida law provide that if a vessel owner is issued three citations within 18 months for the same at-risk condition, the vessel could be declared a public nuisance and may be removed using processes similar to the removal processes for derelict vessels.

“The FWC takes the quality and safety of our waterways very seriously. This change provides a means for vessels to be removed from the water before they become a danger to our public and our environment,” said FWC Maj. Rob Beaton.

For more information regarding derelict and at-risk vessels, visit MyFWC.com/Boating and click on “Waterway Management” and “Derelict Vessel Removal Program.”