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How to get your vehicle removed from waterways after Hurricane Ian debris deadline

FDEM debris collection program
Posted at 1:00 PM, Mar 31, 2023

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — The deadline to submit an application to the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) to have a boat or car removed from waterways for free has passed.

Applications to FDEM prior to March 29, 2023, will be processed by the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

On Friday, FDEM said residents that missed the March 29 deadline are encouraged to contact their county or municipality of residence to submit a formal request to FDEM to consider a personal or commercial property debris removal application.

Some late applications may be accepted for the following reasons:

  • The applicant had a medical emergency that prevented them from submitting an application prior to the March 29 deadline.
  • The applicant did not have access to technology.
  • The applicant could not access Disaster Relief Center (DRC) for in-person application help.
  • The applicant was unsure about program eligibility.

FDEM said they will review the late applications on a case-by-case basis.
On Friday, Captain Mark Garcy, owner of Cruise Fish Dive took Fox 4 on a search of the Imperial River in Bonita Springs to see how many vehicles were still lurking below the surface.

Florida Fish and Wildlife reported after Ian that more than 7,000 vessels were displaced by the storm.

“You never know if you are just looking right out to the side of the water when you are going to see a car or tires,” said Captain Garcy.

A spokesperson for FDEM told Fox 4 they recieved 6,550 applications and removed over 304 boats/cars from waterways.

Click here to connect with FDEM.