Florida Keys

FWC Removes 24 Derelict Vessels From Florida Keys, More To Come

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has removed 24 derelict vessels from various locations throughout the Upper and Lower Keys in an effort that was estimated to take six months but was completed ahead of schedule, according to the FWC. 

“Derelict vessels are a priority for our officers statewide and especially in Monroe County,” FWC Area Capt. David Dipre said. “Each one taken off the water is a win for everyone.” 

The FWC also approved an additional grant request for 30 more derelict vessels that are currently being removed throughout Monroe County. The agency is also reviewing a third grant request to remove an additional 25 derelict vessels.

“We’ve been able to speed up removals due to recent legislative changes along with the funding appropriated by the Legislature and a committed partner in Monroe County,” Maj. Rob Beaton, FWC Boating and Waterways section leader said. “The results we’ve been able to achieve with Monroe County show how these efforts have improved the process and we’re not stopping with these 24 vessels. There are more to come.” 

According to FWC, more derelict vessels are removed from Monroe County each year than any other area of the state. As of February 2022, authorities have documented more than 185 derelict vessels within Monroe County in the FWC’s derelict vessel database. 

“These combined efforts are a testament of our commitment – along with our city and county partners – to restore the waterways to safer conditions for both the boating public and marine life,” Maj. Beaton said. 

According to Florida statute, a vessel can be considered at risk of being derelict if:

  1. The vessel is taking on or has taken on water without an effective means to dewater.
  2. 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.
  3. The vessel has broken loose or is in danger of breaking loose from its anchor.
  4. 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.
  5. The vessel does not have an effective means of propulsion for safe navigation within 72 hours after the vessel owner or operator receives telephonic or written notice, which may be provided by facsimile, electronic mail, or other electronic means, stating such from an officer, and the vessel owner or operator is unable to provide a receipt, proof of purchase, or other documentation of having ordered necessary parts for vessel repair.

For more information on derelict, abandoned & at risk vessels, click here.

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