DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — A marine hazard is in the middle of the Destin Harbor days before Memorial Day weekend. The white boat is visible from Gregg Orr Marine on Emerald Coast Parkway.
Employees there said the boat had been sitting in the harbor for weeks. Once they noticed it taking on water on May 21, the vessel was under the surface in five minutes.
Employees said FWC and the U.S. Coast Guard arrived within minutes of the boat taking on water. FWC banged on the doors and windows checking for anyone inside.
Once the search was cleared, staff tied a big red buoy to the boat to show other vessels where it is. The crews then left, leaving the boat in the middle of the water.
Employees at Gregg Orr Marine told WKRG News 5 that a nearby vessel got loose in the recent storms Monday, smacking into the boat. Many tourists and captains have been driving near the derelict boat since it sank to take pictures.
Memorial Day weekend is huge for marine traffic in the Destin Harbor. Boaters are encouraged to avoid the area completely to avoid damaging other boats in the area.
What Happens Next?
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee (FWC) sent a statement to WKRG News 5:
Derelict Vessels are a priority for the FWC. The Division of Law Enforcement’s Boating and Waterways Section is spearheading a multi-year effort to dramatically reduce the backlog of derelict vessels currently on the waters of the state. Unfortunately, vessels such as the 35-foot cabin boat which sank on May 21 in Destin Harbor continue to appear on Florida waterways, causing navigational hazards and environmental impacts due to obstruction of waterways, possible leaking fuels and fluids and the destruction of seagrass. The FWC has initiated a derelict vessel investigation into this vessel, and while the investigation is ongoing, boaters in the area are advised to slow down and pay close attention to their surroundings in order to avoid the vessel.
Effective new legislation, continued and increasing funding for removal activity, stronger enforcement and investigative efforts by law enforcement and greater attention paid to derelict vessels by partner agencies have resulted in an increase in the number and pace of removals.FWC
WKRG News 5 has reached out to FWC to get more information about the boat.
If anyone sees a boat with damage or issues, call FWC at 850-265-3676.