Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Media Opportunity Thursday: Derelict Vessel Recovery

WHAT: Derelict vessel recovery

WHEN: Thursday, July 22

LOCATION: The base of the Goodland Bridge, State Road 92. (Meet at the Naples side of the bridge, not the Marco Island side).

TIME: 8:45 a.m.

SUMMARY: At one time, the 25-foot sailboat and 32-foot cabin cruiser were probably somebody’s pride and joy.

On Thursday, the two vessels will take their final voyage: to the Collier County landfill.

It’s part of a multi-agency partnership that includes the Collier County Sheriff’s Office to remove abandoned vessels that have sat derelict in Collier County waterways for months, even years.

CCSO is a partner in the effort with the Collier County Coastal Zone Management Department, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Sea Tow, Collier County Department of Transportation, and Collier County EMS.

The six agencies are pooling their resources because state funding for municipal vessel recovery efforts have significantly dwindled due to the slumping economy. Last year the county’s Coastal Zone Management Department received $80,000 for derelict vessel recovery, compared to $75,000 total that was distributed statewide this year.

“We’re basically taking responsibility for our waterways and cleaning them up because there is no other way they (derelict vessels) will get removed,” said Sgt. David Bruening of CCSO’s Marine Unit.

Removing abandoned and deteriorating vessels is a costly, but necessary endeavor. These vessels create safety and navigational hazards, are eyesores and leak pollutants into the water such as battery acid, fuel, oil, chemical preservatives and lead from paint.

Bruening estimated the cost of removing the cabin cruiser and sailboat at $4,800 and $3,500, respectively. Because the six agencies are combining resources and using on-duty personnel, there won’t be any additional cost to taxpayers to remove the boats.

The rusty remains of the sailboat and cabin cruiser have both sat derelict in the waters off Goodland Bay for three years.

The two boats are among 20 documented abandoned vessels in Collier County waters.

Bruening explained how the removal process will work:

Members of the CCSO dive team will place lift bags under the hull of the sailboat in an attempt to raise it to the surface. Once raised, they will pump out the water in an attempt to float the boat.

The CCSO Marine Unit will tow it to the base of the Goodland Bridge, where county DOT workers will pull the boat out of the water. The boat will then be broken apart and transported to the county landfill.

Bruening noted that the cabin cruiser has already been floated and transported to the base of the bridge. The boat will be pulled out of the water Thursday and taken to the landfill.

Work on both boats will take place simultaneously.

The CCSO Marine Unit will be available to transport members of the media to and from the work sites.

A cooperative partnership that includes the Collier County Sheriff's Office will attempt Thursday to remove this sailboat, top left, and cabin cruiser, which have sat derelict in the waters off Goodland Bay for three years. Derelict vessels create safety and environmental problems in Collier County waterways. Photos (2)/CCSO