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Old 23-04-2013, 11:30   #1
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Derelict boats in Florida

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 to salvage 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.
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Old 23-04-2013, 12:51   #2
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Re: Derelict boats in Florida

Interesting. What is that statute number?
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Old 23-04-2013, 13:02   #3
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Re: Derelict boats in Florida

Florida's Fish and Wildlife Service (FWC) has a regular program to identify and take care of at risk and derelict vessels, and there is even a funding stream to pay for their removal. Contrary to some reports, a lot of the money has gone towards the removal of a few very expensive salvages of large commercial vessels. In general it is pretty cheap and easy to dispose of a derelict pleasure vessel of ordinary size. And, yes it is a crime to just sink your vessel and leave it some place.
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Old 23-04-2013, 13:07   #4
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Re: Derelict boats in Florida

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Interesting. What is that statute number?

As I said, I wasn't quoting a statute. I was reporting a conversation i personally had with the salvager and the Fish and Wildlife. I'm sure you can find it if you want it/need it.
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Old 23-04-2013, 13:08   #5
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Re: Derelict boats in Florida

This is reminiscent of the song “Alice’s Restaurant”, and the “twenty-seven 810 coloured, glossy photographs, with circles and arrows” they used to convict Arlo Guthrie (of littering).

The statute governing violation of the Florida Litter Law, section 403.413, Florida Statutes (2012); a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000
Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine

See also ➥ First Felony Littering Case Goes To Trial - Sun Sentinel
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Old 23-04-2013, 13:09   #6
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Re: Derelict boats in Florida

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
Florida's Fish and Wildlife Service (FWC) has a regular program to identify and take care of at risk and derelict vessels, and there is even a funding stream to pay for their removal. Contrary to some reports, a lot of the money has gone towards the removal of a few very expensive salvages of large commercial vessels. In general it is pretty cheap and easy to dispose of a derelict pleasure vessel of ordinary size. And, yes it is a crime to just sink your vessel and leave it some place.

I don't know why it took so long for them to get down to these smelly eyesores, but that is what the salvager said -- that these salvages had been funded. In addition to the pretty jewelry and the night as a guest of the county, the owners of record for these boats will have to pay for removing their boats and salvaging them. They aren't going to get any financial breaks. Then there's a big fine (not sure what it is).
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Old 23-04-2013, 13:15   #7
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Re: Derelict boats in Florida

That's one big advantage of wooden boats--they are biodegradable. I used to keep my boat in a big old Yankee boatyard that had a lot of derelicts out in the north 40. Once a year or so they would have a huge bonfire and burn up a bunch of the old woodies--really sad to see. A backhoe can make pretty short work of even a big fiberglass boat, and then they send it off to the landfill. After Hurricane Bob there was a nice Cabo Rico blocking the main drag in Hyannis so the DPW came along with a backhoe and a front end loader, chopped it up, and had it out of there in a few hours.
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