NewsPinellas County


Crews in Clearwater work to remove derelict, submerged boats from waterways

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Posted at 5:01 PM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 17:37:56-04

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Crews worked on the water and on land Tuesday trying to raise and dismantle submerged or partially submerged boats in Clearwater.

It’s part of the Clearwater Police Department’s program to get rid of derelict vessels from local waterways.

“The city of Clearwater and Clearwater Police Department worked towards getting this program in place beginning around the beginning of 2021,” said Lt. Meg Hasty.

Lt. Hasty says Clearwater PD’s Marine Unit does regular patrols of their waterways, where they’ll look for at-risk boats or boats that may have been left behind.

“There’s a series of tests that we do to see if they can move on their own propulsion or to make sure that they’re not leaking any fluids or anything of that nature to make sure that they’re still safe,” said Hasty. “We monitor those boats, and if they do become derelict, they can’t pass those tests that we have put in place, then we take them to a magistrate board for removal.

ABC Action News road along with Clearwater PD as crews worked to pull an abandoned boat from the water Tuesday afternoon. Teams with Divecom dove in to try and pump out sand and water, as well as patch holes to lift the boat to ready it for removal. The boats will then get crushed, dismantled and towed away.

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Lt. Hasty says they’ll try and reach boat owners, explaining they might not know how to get a boat off a sandbar or who to call to fix it. She says once they’ve spoken with the owner, they then try to help with removal, but if that’s not possible or the owners don’t want contact, she says that’s when they start their process.

“When high tide comes in, it can be very difficult to see. That poses a great hazard to recreational boaters and captains that are out there,” said Hasty. “It also has an environmental impact for the pieces of the boat that may float away and the fluids that may be on there.”

By the end of the day Tuesday, teams may pull four boats from the water.