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2019 Florida Statutes

Derelict vessels; relocation or removal; penalty.
F.S. 823.11
823.11 Derelict vessels; relocation or removal; penalty.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Commission” means the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
(b) “Derelict vessel” means a vessel, as defined in s. 327.02, that is left, stored, or abandoned:
1. In a wrecked, junked, or substantially dismantled condition upon any public waters of this state.
2. At a port in this state without the consent of the agency having jurisdiction thereof.
3. Docked, grounded, or beached upon the property of another without the consent of the owner of the property.
(c) “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.
(d) “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 a person, firm, or corporation to store, leave, or abandon any derelict vessel in this state.
(3) 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 a derelict vessel from public waters if the derelict vessel obstructs or threatens to obstruct navigation or in any way constitutes a danger to the environment, property, or persons. The commission, officers of the commission, or any other law enforcement agency or officer acting under this subsection 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.
(a) Removal of derelict vessels under this subsection may be funded by grants provided in ss. 206.606 and 376.15. The commission shall implement a plan for the procurement of any available federal disaster funds and use such funds for the removal of derelict vessels.
(b) All costs, including costs owed to a third party, incurred by the commission or other law enforcement agency in the relocation or removal of a derelict vessel are recoverable against the vessel owner. The Department of Legal Affairs shall represent the commission in actions to recover such costs. As provided in s. 705.103(4), a person who neglects or refuses to pay such costs may not be issued a certificate of registration for such vessel or for any other vessel or motor vehicle until such costs have been paid.
(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.
(4) When a derelict vessel is docked, grounded, or beached upon private property without the consent of the owner of the property, the owner of the property may remove the vessel at the vessel owner’s expense 60 days after compliance with the notice requirements specified in s. 328.17(5). The private property owner may not hinder reasonable efforts by the vessel owner or the vessel owner’s agent to remove the vessel. Notice given pursuant to this subsection is presumed to be delivered when it is deposited with the United States Postal Service, certified, and properly addressed with prepaid postage.
(5) A person, firm, or corporation violating this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree and shall be punished as provided by law. A conviction under this section does not bar the assessment and collection of the civil penalty provided in s. 376.16 for violation of s. 376.15. The court having jurisdiction over the criminal offense, notwithstanding any jurisdictional limitations on the amount in controversy, may order the imposition of such civil penalty in addition to any sentence imposed for the first criminal offense.
(6) If an owner or a responsible party of a vessel determined to be derelict through an administrative or criminal proceeding has been charged by an officer of the commission or any law enforcement agency or officer as specified in s. 327.70 under subsection (5) for a violation of subsection (2) or a violation of s. 376.15(2), a person may not reside or dwell on such vessel until the vessel is removed from the waters of the state permanently or returned to the waters of the state in a condition that is no longer derelict. 1, 2, 3, ch. 73-207; s. 17, ch. 89-268; s. 473, ch. 94-356; s. 258, ch. 99-245; s. 11, ch. 2006-309; s. 3, ch. 2014-143; s. 7, ch. 2019-54.