DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — Okaloosa County government stepped in to help after a boat was left sinking in Destin Harbor for 5 months.

The boat took on the water just weeks before Memorial Day in May of 2022. City of Destin staff and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tied markers and buoys to the boat to avoid any harbor collisions.

Those markers disappeared a few times during the summer leaving the boat in the middle of harbor traffic.

The City of Destin then took it a step further asking Alex Fogg and the Coastal Resource Team with Okaloosa County to help get the boat removed.

Okaloosa County said there is a process to be followed when trying to remove a derelict boat in local waterways.

  1. The boat is reported to the County.
  2. County got FWC involved so that FWC could conduct an investigation
  3. There is a 30-day waiting period for the owner to claim and remove their boat
  4. Since it was not claimed and removed, the County bid the removal out to a 3rd party contractor (lowest bidder)
  5. The boat was then destroyed (once a derelict vessel is removed per this unclaimed process, it cannot be salvaged, reclaimed or sold)
  6. The County is eligible for reimbursement grants from the State to cover the cost of removal

County PIO said staff hired a company to remove the boat in September. The Board of County Commissioners approved reimbursing the coastal resource team this month for the funds needed to execute the vessel removal. The reimbursement funds come from FWC’s Derelict Vessel Removal Grant Program. The total cost to remove the Destin Harbor boat is $11,450.

There is still no word on who owned the boat in the first place. Nearby businesses said during storms this summer the boat had been a hazard with other vessels colliding at surface level.

Officials with the City of Destin thanked Okaloosa County and the Coastal Resource Team for partnering together to keep the harbor safe.