Palmetto police ask for department boat to deal with sunken boats in Manatee River

Derelict boats an eyesore

PALMETTO, Fla. — Palmetto Police ask for city leaders for a department boat to patrol the coastline with and to deal with sunken boats abandoned in the Manatee River. 

Police Chief Scott Tyler says they haven’t been able to down the owners of the abandoned boats. 

“After Irma we did have several that filled with water and sank. They became by definition, derelict. If we don’t have an identifiable owner, and many times we don’t, then it really falls upon the city to pay for that removal," Tyler said. 

Sam Poole and his friend are fixing up an old boat docked at the Regatta Pointe Marina.

He lives at the marina and like it is for many here, his boat is his home.

“It’s a great way to live. I love living on my sailboat.”

But for those who’s boats end up sunken and abandoned, he has no love.

“They’re, for a lack of better words, stupid. Not only is it a waste of boat, but it’s a waste of the ecosystem. The gas that’s in there, any waste or anything that goes in the water.”

The city of Palmetto has more than nine miles of coastline to deal with along the Manatee River, but the small police department does not have their own boat to patrol with. 

That’s why the chief is asking city leaders to get them one.

“We are not looking for an elaborate boat. We are looking for something very functional to patrol our river line,” said Tyler.

It's completely legal to live on boats anchored in the water. But it’s led to another issue the chief is dealing with.

How they dispose of waste.

He’s hoping to add an ordinance to make sure that it's being done properly.

As for the new police boat, he says details are being worked out, but it’s on the way, and they should have it in a couple months.

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