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The Incident Command responding to pollution caused by Hurricane Irma is hard at work cleaning up after one of the most powerful storms in Florida’s history. Teams of responders from Tampa Bay to the Florida Keys, Miami, and up to Jacksonville are assessing vessels found to be damaged or sunken. These teams are looking for pollution as well as the potential for pollution. A leaking vessel is prioritized and immediately addressed.  

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, one of the partner agencies in the program, owners of displaced vessels who lack the resources to have their boat repaired, or if their vessel is determined to be beyond repair, may release ownership of their vessel through a waiver provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The waiver process can be initiated by contacting FWC through the Vessel Removal Hotline at 305-985-3744 and requesting to turn over a displaced vessel. An FWC representative will then contact the owner to explain the waiver process and facilitate the potential turnover of ownership.  

A Coast Guard crewman posts an orange sticker on a vessel displaced by Hurricane Irma.

A Coast Guard crewman posts an orange sticker on a vessel displaced by Hurricane Irma.

FWC is storing some of these vessels at temporary facilities temporarily. According to the agency, vessels not recovered from a FWC temporary compound will be destroyed and disposed of. Time is of the essence: If you have a vessel being stored by FWC, you must contact FWC to make arrangements to remove and recover your vessel or if you no longer want your FWC stored vessel and wish to surrender your rights, title and all interest in the vessel and its contents, please contact 888-404-3922 and provide the duty officer the case number for your vessel. The case number for 385 stored vessels can be found here.