DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — Boat owners in Northwest Florida with at-risk vessels can turn over the keys at no charge to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
FWC created the Vessel Turn-In Program (VTIP) to prevent vessels from becoming derelict, which can lead to environmental and legal problems in local waterways.
“Acting now is the best way to prevent legal action from occurring if the vessel becomes derelict,” said Phil Horning, VTIP Administrator.
There are requirements for a boat to be surrendered at no cost to the owners.
“If you have a clear title to a vessel floating on waters of the state that has not been determined derelict by law enforcement and you have received at least one written at-risk warning or citation for the vessel being applied for, you may be eligible to surrender your vessel at no cost to you.”FWC
Another requirement states the vessel must be floating upon waters of the state of Florida. Once surrendered, the vessel will be destroyed.
The volunteer program is aimed to take boats out of the water before they are deemed derelict. Leaving an at-risk vessel out for too long can lead to a criminal offense with serious penalties and fines or possible jail time.
“Removing the vessel before it deteriorates into a derelict condition will prevent legal ramifications for the vessel owner and will protect Florida’s valuable seagrass resources, marine life, and human life, safety, and property.”FWC
VTIP works on an application basis, available for both personal and commercial vessels.
- If accepted, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will mail the owner a self-addressed stamped envelope to submit their JUNKED title to the FWC program office. The junked title submitted at this stage must be the original, NOT a copy. Please refer to the useful links section for an example of a junked title.
- The titled owner must convert their title to JUNKED by marking in pen or marker the word JUNKED across the face of the vessel title. The titled owner must then sign and date directly above the word “JUNKED.”
- The owner will then place the JUNKED title into the self-addressed postage paid envelope and mail to back to the FWC VTIP program office.
- Once the JUNKED title has been received by the program staff, the removal project for the vessel will be awarded and the applicant notified of additional steps in the process.
The application and more information can be found on the FWC website.