Sunday, March 3

Derelict boats damaging docks, other vessels in Palm Beach County during storms

The strong storms that blew through Florida over the weekend are proving costly for some business owners in Palm Beach County.

Cleanup was underway Monday in Riviera Beach and Lantana as frustration grows over derelict and unoccupied boats

Those affected said hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damages occurred over the weekend due to the boats crashing into other vessels, scratching paint and damaging motors and docks.

The gusty winds sent derelict boats crashing into a dock at the Old Key Lime House in Lantana.

“These bum boats broke free through the storm and came through and destroyed my concrete dock, causing about $50,000 worth of damage,” Old Key Lime House owner Ryan Cordero said. “It’s scary.”

Cordero said this isn’t the first time something like this has occurred. He said this happens several times a year and he is always left paying for the repairs.

“These guys don’t have insurance,” Cordero said. “Last year during a storm, another one of these boats broke free, smashed into my dock that he tied up to and absolutely obliterated it.”

Licensed captain Todd Goggins said, like Cordero, he’s had several issues with derelict boats over the years, causing hundreds of dollars worth of damages.

“In the case that happened yesterday, a boat broke loose and slammed into the back of the motors,” Goggins said. “I don’t know how much damage is going to be there.”

Goggins said the boats prove costly to others and also pose serious safety hazards as many vessels are not correctly connected to docks and sink during storms.

“Creating an environmental issue and a hazard and navigation issue,” Goggins said. “We go out to our boats overnight, or the next day, we could possibly run them over, and now we’re in trouble.”

WPTV contacted several city leaders in the area to ask what could be done to reduce the number of derelict boats in the water. However, WPTV did not receive comment back Monday evening.

However, Cordero tells WPTV that it’s hard to track who owns or operates them.

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