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The Florida Senate

2014 Florida Statutes

F.S. 376.15
376.15 Derelict vessels; relocation or removal from public waters.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Commission” means the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
(b) “Gross negligence” means conduct so reckless or wanting in care that it constitutes a conscious disregard or indifference to the safety of the property exposed to such conduct.
(c) “Willful misconduct” means conduct evidencing carelessness or negligence of such a degree or recurrence as to manifest culpability, wrongful intent, or evil design or to show an intentional and substantial disregard of the interests of the vessel owner.
(2) It is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to store, leave, or abandon any derelict vessel as defined in s. 823.11 in this state.
(3)(a) The commission, officers of the commission, and any law enforcement agency or officer specified in s. 327.70 are authorized and empowered to relocate, remove, or cause to be relocated or removed any derelict vessel as defined in s. 823.11 from public waters. All costs, including costs owed to a third party, incurred by the commission or other law enforcement agency in the relocation or removal of any abandoned or derelict vessel are recoverable against the owner of the vessel. The Department of Legal Affairs shall represent the commission in actions to recover such costs.
(b) The commission, officers of the commission, and any other law enforcement agency or officer specified in s. 327.70 acting under this section to relocate, remove, or cause to be relocated or removed a derelict vessel from public waters shall be held harmless for all damages to the derelict vessel resulting from such relocation or removal unless the damage results from gross negligence or willful misconduct.
(c) A contractor performing relocation or removal activities at the direction of the commission, officers of the commission, or a law enforcement agency or officer pursuant to this section must be licensed in accordance with applicable United States Coast Guard regulations where required; obtain and carry in full force and effect a policy from a licensed insurance carrier in this state to insure against any accident, loss, injury, property damage, or other casualty caused by or resulting from the contractor’s actions; and be properly equipped to perform the services to be provided.
(d) 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.
(e) 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.
(f) This section constitutes 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; s. 2, ch. 2014-143.