Last week, Southwest Florida felt the wrath of Hurricane Ian. With the surplus of vessels around the Southwest Florida area, property owners are finding vessels washed up on their properties or left abandoned in the waters around them. This spurs the question,
“What do I do if a vessel is on my property due to Hurricane Ian?
First, a property owner can always attempt to locate the registration number on the vessel’s side to ascertain who the owner is. Once the owner is determined, the property owner can demand the vessel’s rightful owner remove the vessel from the property.
Additionally, a property owner can report the vessel to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). FWC will collect a fee for beginning an investigation, conduct an investigation under Section 705.103, Florida Statutes, and determine the vessel’s owner. If the vessel’s owner does not remove the vessel, it could be declared “derelict” by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. In Florida, a vessel is considered derelict when it is left stored or abandoned in a wrecked, junked or demolished condition on public waters or private property without the consent of the property owner.