Salvaging a damaged vessel can be an expensive, time-consuming proposition, and Hurricane Ian left hundreds of boats in need of such assistance. That’s why the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has extended its Hurricane Ian waiver program through the end of the year. The waivers, which require boat owners to release ownership of their vessels, are for the removal and destruction of Hurricane Ian-damaged vessels in public waterways.
Hurricane Ian is long gone, but Southwest Florida will be dealing with its devastation—including boats in need of salvage from public waterways—for years. Photo courtesy/copyright Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats.
The waiver program’s grace period was formerly November 15, according to a press release from Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS).
Owners can apply for the waiver program by calling the FWC Hurricane Ian Vessel Hotline at 850-488-5600 and “request to turn over their derelict vessels,” according to the release. An FWC representative will explain the waiver process and facilitate the potential turnover of ownership.
“Owners are still encouraged to hire a salvage company themselves to recover their vessel to provide the safest method possible for the vessel and the environment,” the release stated, but if they can’t “the FWC waiver can facilitate removal and destruction of the vessel at no cost to the former vessel owner.”
“It’s a winning program for our waterways, all responsible boat owners and the state,” BoatUS manager of government affairs David Kennedy said in the release.
If a derelict vessel is not brought into compliance by the end of December, it will be treated as any other derelict vessel, according to FWC, which could bring fines or other legal action.
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