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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. 823.11(1).

"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 similar property.

  • 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 it.
  • Mooring it without any plan to continue its upkeep and maintenance.
  • 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 trouble.

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