It’s time to clean up the water from the abandoned boats in Volusia | News

The time has come to remove the derelict ships from the waterways of Volusia County.

Niles Cyzycki, construction manager for the coastal division of the Volusia County Department of Public Works, acknowledged that work will begin this month.

“The Volusia County Board approved the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s acceptance of $148,000 on March 1 for the removal of 10 vessels from the Intracoastal Waterway in eastern Volusia County,” said Mr. Cyzycki. “Contractors working for the Volusia County Coastal Division will begin removing vessels identified by the grant application in mid-March.”

Ginger Adair, director of environmental management, further acknowledged that boats are a problem.

“Abandoned vessels have also been an ongoing problem in the Saint John River,” Ms. Adair said in an email. “Volusia County Environmental Management has a program to identify and remove these vessels through grants with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. In October, County Council approved the acceptance of $121,980 from the FWC’s Derelict Vessel Removal Grant Program to remove five derelict vessels from the St. Johns River and its tributaries. The county hired two contractors to remove the vessels in November and December. Environmental Management is currently working on authorization and funding to remove four additional vessels from the St. Johns River at this time.

FWC offers Florida cities and counties an Abandoned Vessel Removal Grant that reimburses the city or county for 100% of the removal costs for all eligible abandoned vessels removed. Once a grant application is approved and a contract is issued to the city or county, they can remove derelict vessels using contractors. After the removal project is complete, the city or county will be reimbursed by the state’s derelict ship removal program.

Abandonment generally refers to dilapidated vessels whose owner is identifiable, while derelict vessels are those whose owner is unknown or has given up ownership rights. Ships are abandoned and derelict for many reasons.

“Abandoned vessel” means a vessel, as defined in state law, that is “in a wrecked, abandoned, or substantially dismantled condition on the waters of this state, in a port of this state without the consent of the agency having jurisdiction over it or moored, stranded or stranded on the property of another without the consent of the owner of the property”.

Abandoned boats can pose a safety hazard to boaters due to protruding parts of the boat that people can bump into, especially at night. There can be environmental issues, such as leaking oil, rust, sewage, plastics and fuel that enter waterways and affect fish and other wildlife. In addition, the vessels identified have a negative impact on the natural beauty of the waterways and their surroundings. But deleting them can be a complicated process.

Florida law provides that the commission, officers of the commission and any law enforcement agency or officer are authorized and empowered to move, remove or cause to be moved or removed an abandoned vessel from public waters if the vessel interferes or threatens to interfere with navigation or in any way. lane constitutes a danger to the environment, property or persons.

The cost of removing derelict vessels may be recoverable from the vessel owner. A person who neglects or refuses to pay these fees cannot be issued a certificate of registry for this boat or for any other boat or motor vehicle until the fees have been paid.

Earnest A. Martinez