376.15 Derelict vessels; removal from public waters.—
(1) It is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to store, leave, or abandon any derelict vessel as defined in s. 823.11(1) in this state.
(2)(a) The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and its officers and all law enforcement officers as specified in s. 327.70 are authorized and empowered to remove any derelict vessel as defined in s. 823.11(1) from public waters. All costs incurred by the commission or other law enforcement agency in the removal of any abandoned or derelict vessel shall be recoverable against the owner of the vessel. The Department of Legal Affairs shall represent the commission in such actions.
(b) The commission may establish a program to provide grants to local governments for the removal of derelict vessels from the public waters of the state. The program shall be funded from the Florida Coastal Protection Trust Fund. Notwithstanding the provisions in s. 216.181(11), funds available for grants may only be authorized by appropriations acts of the Legislature.
(c) The commission shall adopt by rule procedures for submitting a grant application and criteria for allocating available funds. Such criteria shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
1. The number of derelict vessels within the jurisdiction of the applicant.
2. The threat posed by such vessels to public health or safety, the environment, navigation, or the aesthetic condition of the general vicinity.
3. The degree of commitment of the local government to maintain waters free of abandoned and derelict vessels and to seek legal action against those who abandon vessels in the waters of the state.
(d) This section shall constitute the authority for such removal but is not intended to be in contravention of any applicable federal act.
History.—s. 15, ch. 70-244; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 6, ch. 80-382; s. 7, ch. 85-252; s. 64, ch. 95-143; s. 5, ch. 95-150; s. 257, ch. 99-245; s. 23, ch. 2001-56; s. 7, ch. 2006-309.