Derelict sailboat removal expected soon

Derelict sailboat removal expected soon
This large, multi-hulled sailboat ran aground near the Anna Maria City Pier in mid-December. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

ANNA MARIA – The large sailboat that’s been grounded offshore near the Anna Maria City Pier since mid-December is expected to be removed as early as this week.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Public Information Officer Adam Brown provided an update on the pending vessel removal by email on Wednesday, Sept. 16.

“I’ve reached out to our derelict vessel coordinator and was told the required 35-day waiting period necessary to give the registered owner an opportunity to remove the vessel will have elapsed on Friday, Sept. 18. With that being the case, we have also reached out to staff with WCIND (West Coast Inland Navigation District) and confirmed that they too are aware of this timeframe and are taking the proper steps to proceed with removal if the registered owner has not taken action before Friday. Sometimes the bidding process for removal and the removal itself can take some time, but I feel confident this is something that will take priority and I hope you will see movement beginning next week,” Brown wrote in his email response.

Brown said he also spoke with Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy earlier in the week about the long-anticipated vessel removal.

During the Thursday, Sept. 10 Anna Maria City Commission meeting, Chair Carol Carter said derelict and liveaboard vessel concerns were discussed at the ManaSota League of Cities meeting she participated in earlier that day.

“We had another public inquiry about issues regarding unsafe liveaboard concerns on derelict vessels,” Carter said.

Carter said Bradenton Beach resident Barbara Baker manages three condominium associations that are having issues with unsafe liveaboard vessels and has contacted state Rep. Will Robinson Jr. and former state Rep. and current Florida Senate candidate Jim Boyd about these concerns.

Derelict sailboat removal expected soon
Derelict and liveaboard vessels south of the Bridge Street Pier in Bradenton Beach have long been a source of community concern. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

Carter said the ManaSota League of Cities members who represent the Manatee and Sarasota County communities plan to add derelict and liveaboard vessel concerns to their list of the League’s 2021 legislative priorities.

“I made comments about our one derelict vessel that has not been moved for nine months or so, even though the mayor tells me there’s plenty of money available. I think there may be some legislation coming up at the next session with regards to these kinds of things because there are many coastal communities in Florida that are affected. We’re bringing to light how much of an issue it is. It affects public safety and it also affects the water quality,” Carter said.

Murphy said during the conversations he had in July with WCIND and FWC officials, he was told the money was earmarked and the vessel would be removed within the next 30 days or so.