MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Bobby Woodson, owner of Tide Tables in Cortez Village, says for years he’s been fighting to get abandoned boats removed from the Anna Maria sound near his restaurant.
"It's like a dumping ground," said Woodson.
He says there are more than 50 unregulated boats abandoned in the sound that are polluting the water and causing a major hazard to boaters, especially at night.
"It’s a hazard to navigation. You got a fisherman out here trying to earn a living and they’re having to dodge between boats they can’t see in the dark night. (There are) rules and they need to be enforced or why have them at all," said Woodson.
Charles Allen likes to bring his boat to Tide Tables for lunch, but he says navigating through the derelict boats is a headache.
"If you go out close when you come by (the boats) are just full of trash and junk," said Allen. "If it were up to me, they'd be gone."
Woodson says people are living on some of the boats but it's the equivalent of someone living in a condemned home.
"Raw sewage could be dumped into the water and it doesn’t fall into anybody’s jurisdiction we need to find a way where legislation can be passed to hold people accountable," said Woodson.
Woodson says something needs to be done to stop people from treating the sound as a dumping ground for boats.