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The Daytona Beach Police Department (DBPD) is overseeing the removal of various marine vessels in the Halifax River/Intracoastal Waterway, some of which have been left abandoned for years by their owners.
In partnership with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), DBPD will be reimbursed $107,829 through two grants issued by the State of Florida to have 12 boats hauled away between July and September 2020.
The Daytona Beach City Commission signed off on fronting the money to pay Sea Tow earlier this summer before the grant applications were forwarded to FWC for their approval. FWC will reimburse the city once all the vessels have been removed and destroyed as required by the grants.
Most of the money will go towards having Sea Tow move these derelict boats from their current locations to Bethune Point Park, where they will be dismantled. None of the vessels are salvageable, according to DBPD’s Marine Unit.
A map showing the rough location of those vessels is posted below along with photos of the watercraft being taken away by Sea Tow, the company DBPD has hired to remove all those boats.
Eight of the watercraft have already been removed and dismantled. That process began on July 22. The remaining four will require a barge with a crane because of a variety of factors.
Some of the boats are completely or mostly underwater. Others have struck the bottom of the river and must be removed during high tide. Two of them also need to be drained of fuel and oil before they can be moved.
The barge arrived yesterday (August 30) from Jacksonvillle after its original arrival date was postponed due to Hurricane Isaias.
One of the FWC grants being utilized covers property damaged in recent hurricanes. Three of the 12 vessels being hauled away fall under that $18,400 grant. The other grant – totaling $54,195 – will fund the removal of the rest, many of which were abandoned by their owners last September after Hurricane Dorian.
FWC has agreed to cover the difference of $35,234 after Sea Tow’s estimate came in higher than what was initially allocated.
DBPD will continue to exhaust all efforts to have the owners of these abandoned vessels pay for the costs of removal and demolition. Prior to today, these owners were formally notified that their watercraft was derelict and given ample time to resolve the issue. They did not.
Holds have been placed with the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles on these owners’ ability to renew any vehicle registrations until they pay. Some have also been charged criminally with abandoning a vessel in public waters and that could happen in the future with the rest, according to DBPD Chief Craig Capri.
“These boats have been an eyesore, an environmental risk and a safety risk,” Capri added. “It’s a situation we couldn’t tolerate any longer. It’s well past time to get these junk boats out of the water. I’d like to thank FWC and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office for helping us make this happen.”
Other than fronting the money to pay Sea Tow, no City of Daytona Beach funds will be spent except to cover the labor incurred by DBPD’s Marine Unit in organizing this effort.