The City of St Augustine is continuing a project to clean up the Intracoastal Waterway of what it calls “derelict” vessels, according to an update received by Historic City News from Communications Director Melissa Wissel. Boaters are asked to use caution in the area during this time.
Grant Administration Coordinator Denise Radovich stated that the contractors, TSI Disaster Recovery based in Melbourne, Florida, are utilizing the Lighthouse Boat Ramp to launch equipment and recover the remains of several derelict vessels. Additional removal activities included in the grant-funded project are underway at St. Johns County’s Doug Crane Boat Ramp.
“Work began removing the derelict vessels on Monday, September 27th,” the city spokesman reported. “During the removal and cleanup, the Intracoastal Waterway and both boat ramps will remain open and accessible to the public.”
City officials weed out derelict vessels year-round. Boats are researched to see if any owners can be identified. Removal is prioritized based on the vessel’s structural condition. Then, through funding by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and other agencies, the city goes about the process which entails rounding up boats found ensnarled in the brush, washed up near shorelines, or submerged in low-lying waters.
There are several reasons recreational boats are abandoned. Some run into distress, become untethered by a storm or are involved in something more nefarious. Some are left to weather the elements for months and sometimes years. The boats become obstacles, eyesores and are also considered an environmental hazard since materials can leach into the ecosystem or even destroy oyster beds, according to Radovich.