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Pinellas County begins removing derelict boats from area waterways

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the county has begun removing the neglected boats, which had become an "eyesore" and pose a safety threat to swimmers and boaters.

Pinellas County has begun removing almost three dozen derelict boats along the county's waterways.

Speaking at a Monday [Feb. 21st] news conference along the Intracoastal Waterway in Dunedin, before one derelict boat behind him was removed, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced the county could begin the effort to remove "34 boats that fit the definition of a derelict boat" after a new process was put in place that would allow the boats to be removed.

"We've needed to deal with this for a while," Gualtieri said.

Gualtieri cited safety concerns, along with concerns from residents that the neglected boats had become an "eyesore."

"They've just been abandoned irresponsibly by their owners, left there, and some have been left there for a year or a hear and a half," Gualtieri said. "They're a danger to the public, they're a danger to boaters, a danger to people that are on personal watercraft, and a danger to swimmers. And besides that, they're also an eyesore."

Through a new process established by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Gualtieri said the county began posting notices on these boats 21 days ago.