In May 2004, the Lee County Board of County Commissioners approved Amendment AC-7-10 to the Lee County Administrative Code concerning derelict and/or abandoned vessels in the coastal waters of Lee County. This amendment made provisions to allow the County to remove abandoned vessels under FS. 705.103(2)(b). This new process can offer a quicker timeframe for removal of abandoned vessels than the state derelict vessel removal process.
A derelict vessel (DV) is a boat that cannot function under its own power; an abandoned vessel (AV) has been abandoned on or under the water. Once law enforcement suspects a boat to be derelict or abandoned, they begin an investigation, attempting to contact the last known registered owner. If they are unable to find the owner and have the owner remove the vessel, it is turned over to the County for removal.
An average of 60 abandoned or derelict vessels are removed from County waters every year using grant funding. Many of these vessels are navigation or environmental hazards and require rapid removal. Less serious vessels may sit for long periods of time while funds are used for higher priority removals.