Florida At-Risk Vessel Program

Florida At-Risk Vessel Program


America’s waterways have become the resting place for far too many worn out, neglected, stripped or abandoned boats. These vessels pose a hazard to navigation, public safety, and the environment. Most states have strict laws against leaving a derelict boat on the water. Unfortunately, dealing with these boats is often left to state and local authorities turning into costly, labor-intensive investigations and removals. Approaching this issue proactively, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission created the “Statewide At-Risk Vessel Database Application” and is working with boat owners before their vessels decline into a derelict condition. Florida’s marine law enforcement officers now have access to this interactive database application to catalog boats showing obvious signs of neglect: such as a hull that is listing, grounded, or barnacle-encrusted, a cabin left exposed to the elements missing gear, no anchor light at night, or showing other signs which could put the boat into the derelict category and become a safety concern for other boaters. In addition to the FWC, there are fifty-nine other local law enforcement agencies participating in this initiative. When an at-risk boat is identified by an officer on patrol, the officer posts a bright yellow tag on the boat noting specific problems that need attention and advising the owner that the boat’s condition is a concern. It’s an official notification, not a citation for a violation. The tag also includes a note asking the boat owner to contact the officer to discuss the concerns and get the boat back up to standards. In most cases, this communication is all that’s needed to have the issues taken care of. The officer then enters the vessel information into the FWC database application- including the type of boat, registration numbers, a description of the boat’s condition, map coordinates, photos, witness statements, and audio and video documentation. This information is stored and made available online to other law enforcement agencies. This helps avoid redundant investigations and embraces collaborative prevention efforts. The public can also access a portion of this data. The FWC’s website contains a mapping feature that allows anyone to pinpoint an area of interest and see the boats that fit into either the at-risk or derelict vessel category. A person concerned about a particular vessel can look at the map, zoom into a location, and determine if, in fact, law enforcement is aware of the vessel’s condition. This initiative is an effort to communicate with boat owners and inform them of problems which, if not corrected, may lead to their vessels becoming derelict. This program uses community-oriented policing techniques to prevent little problems from becoming big ones, and so far the success has been tremendous. Ultimately, the program is expected to lead to positive contacts between boat owners and law enforcement, eliminate many navigation and environmental hazards, and save thousands in tax dollars by averting derelict vessels, and keeping our waterways safe. The FWC is proud to have worked with several key partners in developing this initiative.

4 thoughts on “Florida At-Risk Vessel Program

  • April 2, 2013 at 12:57 am
    Permalink

    should take the boats n sell them at an auction to reduce cost so we don't destroy the boats.some could be fun project boats like the small catamaran would be cool.

    Reply
  • April 7, 2013 at 12:35 am
    Permalink

    just what I was thinking.

    Reply
  • October 24, 2015 at 3:23 pm
    Permalink

    Tow them in and sell at auction after 90 days..

    Reply
  • May 21, 2019 at 4:09 am
    Permalink

    https://youtu.be/aQH5ZmKi43M

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *