Don't know if this is happening state wide, but it's happening in Pinellas County:
The County is fed up with derelect boats. About a month ago, they finally floated a sunken sailboat lying just below the surface at the end of the Gulfport (FL) pier. The pic I have isn't linked to a URL so I can't put it in, but it had 4" of large barnacles
and oysters etc. on it. They brought it to a nearby auxilliary Coast Guard station and tied it up. I went over to see what was going on, and the salvager was there.
He said he had a license
this and two other boats -- a motor
sailor, long since stripped, that had been aground near a bayou for a couple of years, and a little 25' Cape Dory
that had only been stuck a couple of months.
Then he dropped the bomb: it seems that Florida
has a "felony littering" law that covers anything weighing more than 500 lb., and that this law was specifically passed to deal with derelect boats in the Florida Keys
because lobstermen were deliberately sinking them to attract lobsters. I don't have that from the Florida
laws; it's just what the salvagers told me.
However, he *and* the Fish
and Wildlife guy who as there assured me that all three boatowners would be charge with felony littering, and taken away in pretty stainless steel
bracelets to spend the night as the guest of the County.
Some of us knew the owner of the Cape Dory
and got in touch with him. His boat was hard aground, but he managed to get it off and anchored again ... the day before F and W came to capture it.
As others have pointed out, the person ultimately responsible will be the person of record
, so if you have sold an old boat in FL you might want to make sure the buyer completed the paperwork.
Posts insisting that I don't know what I'm talking about, or got the facts wrong, etc., will be cheerfully ignored. The bulk of this report is entirely true, and people in Florida should be making sure they're dealing with any derelect boat they may own, and that the paper trail is complete on any boat they've sold here.