DUNEDIN, Fla. — Abandoned boats continue to be a major issue in Tampa Bay’s waters. Now Pinellas County Sheriff’s Bob Gualtieri has figured out a way to speed up the lengthy process of getting rid of them.
"They’ve just been abandoned irresponsibly by their owners and some have been sitting out here now for a year, year and a half," said Gualtieri.
Many agree they create a danger for the environment and people.
"They’re a danger to the public, danger to boaters, danger to people on personal watercraft, and a danger to swimmers," said Gualtieri.
But because of ownership laws, the lengthy permitting process of getting rid of them isn’t easy.
Now the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has found a way to speed up the removal process by giving owners a 21-day notice before confiscating and destroying the boats.
On Monday they removed one from Dunedin, it's one of 32 they plan to remove from county waters.
The sheriff said each boat costs the county roughly $5,000 to remove.
"The urgency today is that there’s a lot more of them, and the community has just had it and we need to be responsive and that’s what we’re doing," said Gualtieri.