Thursday, July 22, 2010

Final Voyage

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office joined five other partners in Goodland on Thursday to begin the process of removing derelict vessels from Collier County waterways.

CCSO is partnering with the Collier County Coastal Zone Management Department, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Sea Tow, Collier County Department of Transportation, and Collier County Emergency Medical Services.

The six are pooling together their resources because state funding for municipal vessel recovery efforts have all but dried up due to the slumping economy.

Derelict vessels create safety and navigational hazards, are eyesores and leak pollutants such as battery acid, fuel oil, chemical preservatives, and lead from paint.

There are 20 documented abandoned and derelict vessels in Collier County waters including the two that were targeted Thursday.

Efforts were focused on a 25-foot sailboat and a 32-foot cabin cruiser. The sailboat has sat derelict in Turtle Creek, off the Marco River, for three years. That’s the same amount of time the cabin cruiser has been deteriorating in Goodland Bay, about 300 yards from the northern base of the Goodland Bridge.

Members of the CCSO dive team, along with a diver from the National Park Service, spent the morning attempting to place inflatable lift bags under the hull of the sailboat to try to raise it to the surface. Once raised, the boat will be floated and then towed to the base of the bridge where it will be pulled out of the water and dismantled before being transported to the county landfill.

At the same time divers were attempting to raise the sailboat, county DOT workers pulled the cabin cruiser out of the water and then broke it apart so it could be taken to the landfill.

The cabin cruiser had previously been floated and transported to the base of the bridge by CCSO.