Thousands of boaters enjoy the Keys waters every year. However, many boat owners end up neglecting their boats, leaving them at anchor to become derelict or abandoned. Unfortunately, those vessels often become environmental or navigational hazards and must be removed from the water at the tax payer’s expense.
The Monroe County Marine Resources Office works cooperatively with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office to remove derelict vessels. Law enforcement personnel notify boat owners who may be subject to fines or jail time if they do not take corrective action.
A multi-agency project to remove 31 abandoned and derelict vessels from the remote Marquesas Keys was completed March 31, 2017 -- just in time for the start of bird and turtle nesting seasons.
Monroe County’s Marine Resources Office led the $61,200 effort that restored shoreline and nearshore habitats in the Marquesas Keys – a group of islands located about 17 nautical miles west of Key West and within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Key West National Wildlife Refuge. These islands have been a historic landing spot for Cuban migrant rafters, who leave behind their rustic vessels known as “chugs” that contain batteries, fuel, oil, polystyrene foam, plastic and other hazardous materials.
To watch a video of the project: Click here.