Wednesday, April 17

Derelict vessels costly and creating issues for marine life in Jupiter waterway

On Thursday, the first of eight derelict vessels was removed from the water near Waterway Park in Jupiter.

This 60-foot catamaran has been deemed derelict by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

A company called Sea Tow spent about six hours Thursday trying to remove it from its location near Waterway Park in Jupiter.

“We pumped it out, but that boat definitely had a ton of oil, and it was right there in the mangroves, Sea Tow Palm Beach boat captain Sergio Fraguela said. I think it’s been there over a year.”

FWC recently signed off on its removal. Public information officer Tyson Matthews said it’s a huge problem in our coastal communities, especially in this waterway.

“Currently, in the Jupiter area, we have eight vessels that are in the process of being removed, he said. But as a whole in Palm Beach County, we have approximately 30 derelict vessels that we’re working.”

He explained that the cost of removing a derelict boat is substantially higher than if the owner addresses it before it becomes derelict.

The cost of the removal will be on the shoulders of the vessel owner and then the owner could lose their privileges to license a vehicle or register anything in the state.

The state’s vessel turn in program (VTIP) is meant to help boat owners deal with boats that are at risk before they start to fall apart. However, when that doesn’t happen, Fraguela said Florida’s waterways take a beating.

One thing they have in common is that they’re always spilling in the water.

They all have engines, he said. They all are full of garbage that ends up floating out of the boat into our clean waters.

He hopes people will start to think twice before ditching their boat along the Florida coastline.

“I wish there was something more that we can do in regard to stopping these people, he said, just getting these destroyed boats and just parking them in our waterways or they’re going to become an issue.”

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