Whose responsibility is it to get boats back where they belong after Hurricane Ian?

Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:
Boats stranded and left on land by Ian. (CREDIT: WINK News)

All of the hurricane storm surges pushed a lot of boats to places they previously were not. So, Florida Fish and Wildlife are working to find out who owns which boats and get them back to their proper place.

Interestingly enough, if a boat is pushed into the Caloosahatchee it would be FWC’s responsibility. However, since some of the boats are on land, there is no clear responsible party for what’s happening.

And, because there are so many boats all over the place they have become a serious problem.

Frank Colaco is a little bit closer to the issue than he may want to be since there is a boat in his front yard.

“I’m anticipating that at some point in time this will get out of here one way or the other but the sooner the better,” Colaco said. “We’re just hoping to hopefully get this off of our property at some time, and possibly the owner could have some peace of mind knowing that it’s here.”

Most of the boats are spread around and in an area, they simply don’t belong in.

A boat that was pushed on land by Hurricane Ian. (CREDIT: WINK News)

“It’s hardly ideal,” Colaco said about having a boat in his front yard. “But you know, compared to what a lot of other people are going through here in southwest Florida, it’s… for the time, being we can live with it.”

But, it could have been worse actually, that’s because the boat nearly crashed into his home originally.

“And in the midst of all of this is this boat, floating upside down, aiming dead center for the back of my home, and I’m praying that it wouldn’t hit the back of the house or [come in] through my living room window,” Colaco said.

But here’s the thing, people are left wondering whose responsibility is it to get the boats out of the area.

“We did make another call to FWC about a week later,” Colaco said. “And we were informed that, if the boat was not touching water, that FWC wouldn’t handle any of the recoveries.”

Hurricane Ian created a mess with all the boats in Southwest Florida. (CREDIT: WINK News)

WINK News asked FWC since they’re in charge of the boats in the water who’s in charge of them out of the water? For the time being, it’s a grey area and that’s because there is no one entity currently responsible for derelict vessels on land, according to state law.

Technically, the person responsible is the person who owns the boat. This may create even more of an obstacle for Colaco for a simple reason.

“It was my understanding that the boat had not been registered since 2007,” Colaco said.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.