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FWC approves funding to remove 27 derelict vessels from the Florida Keys

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced today that grant funding to Monroe County for the removal of 27 derelict vessels in various locations throughout the Upper and Lower Keys was approved through the Derelict Vessel Removal Grant Program. Six derelict vessels have already been removed, with the process continuing over the next six months for the remaining 21 vessels. The FWC is currently reviewing an additional grant request for 30 more derelict vessels throughout Monroe County. More derelict vessels are removed from Monroe County each year than any other area of the state. As of January 2022, law enforcement has documented more than 150 derelict vessels within Monroe County in the FWC’s derelict vessel database. 

“Derelict vessels pose a serious navigational and environmental hazard,” said Maj. Rob Beaton, FWC Boating and Waterways section leader. “These vessels harm valuable seagrass resources and marine life. Derelict vessels also pose a public safety risk and property hazard as they often drift beneath the surface of the water or block navigable waterways.” 

The FWC makes every effort to work with vessel owners to have them either remove the vessel from state waters or return it to non-derelict status. However, when a derelict vessel is not removed or brought into compliance by the owner, after due process, the FWC works with county or city partners to remove it. Grant funding for the 2021-2022 fiscal year is available to local governments for derelict vessel removal grants. The FWC Derelict Vessel Final Removal Funding Opportunity Program application and guidelines can be downloaded at MyFWC.com/DVGrant.  

For pictures of derelict vessels that were removed, visit: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjzxfsS