The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has approved the final rule establishing a statewide Vessel Turn-In Program (VTIP), as part of the Derelict Vessel Prevention Program. The new rule will create a voluntary program to remove at-risk vessels before they become derelict, which helps Florida’s environment and public safety, according to a news release.
The Division of Law Enforcement’s Boating and Waterways Section is spearheading a multi-year effort to dramatically reduce the backlog of derelict (abandoned or deserted) vessels currently on Florida’s waters.
These abandoned vessels cause the destruction of valuable seagrass resources and endanger marine life. They also threaten human life, safety and property, as the vessels drift on or beneath the surface of the water or block navigable waterways, posing a navigational hazard to the boating public.
Vessels that are deserted are more costly and complicated to remove than at-risk vessels. The VTIP is designed to allow owners of vessels at risk of becoming derelict the ability to voluntarily turn the at-risk vessel over to the state for removal and destruction.
“Removing at-risk vessels from Florida’s waterways before they become derelict is not only a win for the environment, but also for public safety, taxpayers and the vessel owners,” said Roger Young, director of the FWC Division of Enforcement, in the release.
For more on this topic, visit MyFWC.com and search “derelict vessels.”
Published July 27, 2022