What is an abandoned vessel?
"Abandoned property" means all tangible personal
property that does not have an identifiable owner and that has been
disposed on public property in a wrecked, inoperative, or partially
dismantled condition or has no apparent intrinsic value to the
rightful owner. The term includes derelict vessels as defined in s.
"Public property" means lands and improvements
owned by the Federal Government, the state, the county, or a
municipality and includes sovereignty submerged lands located
adjacent to the county or municipality, buildings, grounds, parks,
playgrounds, streets, sidewalks, parkways, rights-of-way, and other
- Every vessel owner should realize that there will be an end of
life for their vessel. If they have an opportunity to legally sell
the vessel near its end of life, that's Great! If not, the owner
must have a plan to properly dispose of the vessel.
Illegal methods of disposing
of your vessel:
- Sinking as an artificial reef or Fishing attractant without DEP
and Corp of Army Engineers approval and permitting. This is Felony
Dumping (Jail Time)
- Discarding by cutting it loose and letting it drift away hoping
it will disappear. This is Felony Dumping (Jail Time)
- Pulling it up to a boat ramp and grounding it and leaving
- Mooring it without any plan to continue its upkeep and
- Burning the vessel in open water to destroy it.
- Giving it to someone who says they will take it off of your
hands without properly transferring title and ownership.
You as the owner are responsible for removing the
vessel from the waters of the state and having it transported to an
approved landfill for destruction. The cost for doing this is a
fraction of what the costs are to remove it from the water and
destroy it after it sinks. Do your part to help the environment,
the safety of others and the welfare of the state by disposing of
your vessel responsibly.
Intentionally dumping your vessel on the waters of
the state is a 3rd degree Felony punishable by up to 5 years in
prison and/ or a $5,000.00 fine. Also, restitution to the state for
the later cost of removal, fines, community service, probation or
parole, lost registration privileges, and continued litigation for
repayment in full. If you can't do it by yourself, find someone who
can help you. Don't take a chance of getting into serious