Almost 12 weeks after Hurricane Ian made landfall the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and partner agencies continue their efforts to remove vessels rendered derelict by the storm in Charlotte, Collier, Lee and Monroe counties.
Imagery from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has identified over 7,500 potentially displaced vessels. FWC officers have assessed over 4,200 vessels on the waters of the state.
“Our deployed officers continue the mission by locating owners and delivering notification of rights packets and waiver forms,” said FWC Boating and Waterways Section Representative Capt. Travis Franklin. “The assessment phase is all but complete at this point, though we do have new DVs pop up here and there almost daily.”
In Lee County, 708 vessels were identified as derelict and over half of those vessels have been removed or brought into compliance.
Owners are still encouraged to hire a salvage company themselves to recover their vessel to provide the safest method possible for the vessel and the environment. Vessel owners can voluntarily release ownership of a displaced vessel through the waiver process through the end of December 2022. The FWC will then facilitate the removal and destruction of the vessel, and owners will not be charged for removal costs. This process can be initiated by contacting the FWC through the Hurricane Ian Vessel Hotline at 850-488-5600 and requesting to turn over a derelict vessel. An FWC representative will then contact the owner to explain the waiver process and facilitate the potential turnover of ownership. FWC has received 79 waivers from boat owners voluntarily releasing ownership so the boats can be removed.
The Department of Emergency Management has assumed the role of coordinating the removal and disposal of vessels investigated by the FWC. A total of 133 derelict vessels have been turned over to DEM for removal in Charlotte, Collier, Lee and Monroe counties.
DEM has worked closely with the FWC, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Coast Guard and local governments to identify and remove debris from waterways and upland private and commercial properties. The newly created State Debris Cleanup Program will assist Hurricane Ian survivors with the removal of displaced and abandoned titled property. Residents can request the removal of debris including vehicles, vessels, motorcycles, trailers and ATVs. To make a request, visit IanDebrisCleanup.com to report the presence of debris.