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FWC'S 'Vessel Turn-In Program' Removes 100th Derelict Vessel


Florida - Monday June 17, 2024: Since the inception of The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Vessel Turn-In Program in late 2022, the FWC has received 186 applications from owners of at-risk or unwanted vessels. The first two vessels removed through this program were removed from Pasco and Pinellas counties in early March 2023 and the 100th vessel was removed from Wakulla County on June 7.

“We know that for a number of reasons some boat owners are unable or unwilling to maintain their vessels,” said Capt. Travis Franklin, Boating and Waterways Derelict Vessel Removal and Prevention Unit Leader. “These boats then become derelict or at-risk of becoming derelict. This is a concern because they pose hazards to public safety and the environment, are costly to remove, and can produce criminal liability for the owner. This is where the VTIP program comes in.”

VTIP is a key component of Florida’s derelict vessel prevention program. This voluntary program is designed to help owners dispose of their unwanted at-risk vessels before they become derelict. Upon approval of an application, VTIP will take a surrendered vessel and dispose of it at no cost to the boat owner. Removing the vessel before it deteriorates into a derelict condition will prevent legal ramifications for the vessel owner, protect Florida’s valuable seagrass resources, marine life and human life, safety, and property, and save Florida taxpayers money. 

To qualify for VTIP, a vessel must be floating upon waters of the state of Florida and cannot be determined derelict by law enforcement. The owner must have at least one written warning or citation for an at-risk condition and possess a clear title to the vessel.

The latest vessel removed will not be the last. More applications are being reviewed and there are 15 slated for removal.

“We are encouraged to see so many vessel owners taking advantage of this program,” said Phil Horning, VTIP Administrator. “It is an easy and free way to have their at-risk vessels removed from waters of the state before they face potential legal action by allowing their vessel to become derelict. It would be great to remove a hundred more.”

The FWC is actively taking applications from at-risk vessel owners for the Vessel Turn-In Program. Vessel owners can call VTIP specialists at the FWC for more information on the program at 850-488-5600 or visit the VTIP website at: