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IT'S GONE! After 200+ days, derelict boat in North Fort Myers is finally removed

Posted at 1:27 PM, Apr 16, 2024

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. — After more than 200 days, the derelict boat in the back yard of a North Fort Myers homeowner is finally gone.

"Excited — so excited," said Angie Cloutier. "Then we all cheered as they drove off.”

She has been looking at the boat since Hurricane Idalia washed it into her backyard. It destroyed her docks and part of her seawall.

Fox 4 Senior Reporter Kaitlin Knapp has been talking to Cloutier ever since, pushing FWC for answers and talking to boaters wanting it out of the channel.

Nearly a year later, Cloutier says a towing company came by a few weeks ago to look at it.

Then on Monday morning, the company came back.

"They got the pillows under there and they attached two chains to it, and just took their boat and tried to flip it over and the chain broke," Cloutier said.

She says they left, came back with more inflatables and got it upright.

"They got it underneath the boat and off they went," Cloutier said. "It's gone."

However, not all of it is out of the water.

"There’s still some stuff down there that they will come back and get — they told us that they would," she said. "The thing is had they [FWC] gotten it in the beginning, they wouldn’t have near as much work."

Cloutier says she's just happy to not deal with it anymore.

"The SS Minnow has left the premises," she said jokingly.

FWC told Fox 4 in March that they had been working on a contract with the removal company, but they also said there's a bigger issue.

A spokesperson said it's the huge number of derelict vessels in the state.

The agency says it's working on the backlog, but law enforcement keeps adding new boats to the list.

Cloutier has already seen a new, abandoned boat right around the corner from where the old one was. She says it's been there for about a month, and claims a couple tied it up and never came back.