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FWC: Derelict boat waiver grace period nears end

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Posted at 5:24 AM, Nov 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-14 05:24:06-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Boat owners whose vessels were damaged and/or displaced after Hurricane Ian have until Tuesday to arrange for a special waiver from the Florida Fish and Wildlife officials.

Vessel owners had 45 days after Ian crossed the state to get their boats out of "derelict condition." That grace period comes to an end on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

FWC instituted a waiver program to protect vessel owners against removal and destruction costs associated with this process.

Owners are urged to make arrangements for a salvage company to recover affected vessels. If that isn't a viable option, if owners lack the resources to repair, or if the vessel is deemed beyond repair, they have the option to release ownership.

The waiver process involves contacting the FWC's special hotline at 1-850-488-5600 and requesting to turn over a derelict vessel.

Vessels not in compliance or removed from the water by this point will be treated as any derelict vessel, FWC says, however, there are no current plans to charge owners with criminal violations.

They may still be responsible for removal, destruction, and disposal costs if a waiver was not applied for.