Thursday, April 11, 2013
“Muddy Cove” Derelict Vessels Task Force Plans Removal of Boats from River
April 11, 2013
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit has organized a task force as part of an ongoing effort to remove derelict vessels from an area of the St. Johns River locally known as “Muddy Cove”. At least five vessels are scheduled to be removed from the St. Johns River as a result. The removal will begin sometime in April depending on the tides and weather conditions.
This task force consists of representatives from the following agencies:
• Clay County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit
• Clay County Environmental Crimes Section and Environmental Services
• Parks and Recreation Department of the Clay County Board of County Commissioners
• Green Cove Springs Police Department
• Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
• Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
The focus of the task force is three pronged and includes:
• Enforcement- Florida statues hold the registered owner of the vessel responsible for their vessel. The task force sought out the persons responsible for leaving their vessels in public waterways locally. The violators identified have been charged with a 1st degree misdemeanor. They also face the civil liability element which requires the violator to reimburse Clay County for monies spent on removing their vessel from a public waterway. Violators who do not comply will no longer be able to register a vessel or vehicle in the State of Florida until the civil issue has been settled.
• Removal- Using funding from the Florida Boating Improvement Fund, the task force has worked in conjunction with the Clay County Board of Commissioners and has selected a contractor through the bid process. The selected contractor, South End Development, will remove the vessels from the St. Johns River, specifically from the Muddy Cove area in Green Cove Springs located behind the Elks Club. This contract was voted on and approved by the Clay County BCC earlier this month.
• Education- Florida State College at Jacksonville assisted the task force by producing a video to serve as a public service announcement. It is featured on the Florida DHSMV website at http://www.flhsmv.gov/dmv/faqboat.html . In addition, the Florida DEP developed educational posters to be placed in the Clay County Tag Agency offices where residents register their vessels.
Go to www.myfwc.com/boating/waterway/derelict-vessels to view the map containing links to each of the derelict vessels targeted by the task force for removal. Once on this page, click on “Statewide at-risk and Derelict Vessels Map” on the left menu, then query for Clay County and click on the colored dots to view the information and photos of each boat involved.
Media: Contact CCSO Deputy Chris Castelli at (904) 591-4621 with questions related to the task force.