Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012
After nearly five months of investigation and legal proceedings, the owner of a vessel deemed derelict by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) received six months of probation and was charged $4,700 for court costs and restitution for the removal of the boat.
On March 7, FWC officers issued a warning to the vessel owner, Julio C. Gomez (DOB 08/31/68), and gave him seven days to remove it. After he failed to do so, a citation was issued on March 22 and his case was tried in June.
The vessel, which was just north of 79th Street on the east side of the Intracoastal Waterway in Miami, was eventually removed by Miami-Dade County.
“Abandoned and derelict vessels can pose safety and navigational hazards as well as become eyesores in Florida’s beautiful waterways,” said Maj. Jack Daugherty of the FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section.
Owners are responsible for removing derelict vessels at their own expense, or they risk criminal charges, potential loss of vehicle and vessel registration privileges, and being fined for both court costs and the cost of removing the vessel.
“The FWC launched an at-risk vessel program to educate people who leave vessels on Florida’s waterways in a condition that may lead them to become derelict,” Daugherty said.
The FWC hopes this program will reduce the derelict vessel problem in the state by engaging boat owners in conversations about proper care and maintenance, requirements for vessel lighting and laws about title transfer. Someone may transfer a boat to someone else who may allow it to deteriorate; without a proper title transfer, the original owner is still responsible.
The FWC is committed to networking with other law enforcement agencies and the public to prevent at-risk vessels from becoming derelict.