What is an "At Risk Vessel"?

An "At Risk Vessel" is a vessel that has been observed with indicators leading a law enforcement officer to believe it may become a derelict vessel in the near future. A law enforcement officer will record the information from this vessel in a database that tracks vessel's conditions. This vessel will appear on a statewide map as being classified as "At Risk," The officer will also TAG the vessel with a notice to the owner of indicators leading to this determination. A letter will also be mailed to the registered owner of the vessel status.

What do you do if your vessel is Tagged?

The officer will list those items that he finds as indicators on the TAG. You as the owner should try to make all necessary changes to bring the vessel back into compliance. If the vessel has the indicators repaired or corrected and the officer is notified by the owner that these corrections have been done, the vessel will have the "At Risk" status removed. If the vessel indicators are not corrected or the owner does not contact the officer as requested, the vessel may be eligible for a Derelict Vessel Investigation. If you don't understand why your vessel was tagged, call the officer on the TAG at the number provided on the TAG or 888-404-3922 for the FWC Office nearest you.

What happens if you don't do anything?

If you choose to do nothing about your vessel and ignore the need for its upkeep, your vessel may fall into the Derelict Vessel category. If this happens, you may be charged with a crime under Florida law. Should the vessel have to be removed by a Federal, State, County or Local authority, the owner will be liable for the removal costs, fines, fees as well as face criminal charges, Florida registration privilege revocation, and possibly Jail. This is a serious crime and is not tolerated in Florida.

What are some reasons your vessel could be TAGGED by a Law Enforcement Officer?

The main reason a Law Enforcement Officer TAGS a vessel is because he believes that the vessel may be headed toward the classification of Derelict. This can occur for many different reasons. The owner may be in a situation where they can no longer maintain their vessel, or they may not want the vessel anymore. Either way the Officer is requesting contact with the owner to verify their well being and also the future plans for the vessel.

Are you in trouble if your vessel gets TAGGED?

No, you are only being asked to address some issues with your vessel that could become a problem if not taken care of. It is a courtesy of the Officer to advise you of possible future issues. If you have a vessel violation, the citation may also be part of the TAGGING process.

What to do if you are cited?

Pay the citation promptly and correct the issue that caused the citation to be written. If you don't understand why the Officer cited you, contact the Officer for more detail.

Reasons for moored vessel citations?

There are many reasons why a vessel owner whose vessel is moored, could be cited by a Law Enforcement Officer. The most common reasons are:

  • Anchor Light Present but not in Use: 327.33(3)FS
  • Expired Registration 328.72(13)FS
  • Improper Display of Registration 328.48FS
  • Interference With Navigation 327.44FS

FWC Facts:
Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 operating a vessel powered by 10 hp or more must pass an approved boater safety course and carry a photo ID & FWC-issued boating safety card.

Learn More at AskFWC