County eyes new tack in ridding lagoon of derelict boats


Beleaguered by the time, cost and red tape of removing derelict boats from the Indian River Lagoon, the County Commission aims to create Anchoring Limitation Areas in an effort to protect the waterway from unsightly and potentially hazardous abandoned vessels.

The Anchoring Limitation Areas or ALAs would span the three local municipalities that abut the lagoon – Vero Beach, Sebastian and Indian River Shores – since the 11 boats currently abandoned in the waterway are a problem across municipal borders.

Two options were presented at last Tuesday’s county meeting: one that placed more responsibility and cost on the county, and one that put more of the burden on the municipalities. County officials opted on a 4-to-1 vote to create a third, compromise plan to evenly share the cost.

In the ALA, vessels may anchor for no more than 45 consecutive days in a six-month period, or face citations. Failure to comply may lead to the vessel’s impoundment for 48 hours.

Vessels could be declared derelict or a public nuisance after three violations in a 12-month period.

Each of the three local municipalities approved ALA areas of varying shapes and sizes, with the City of Sebastian’s proposed areas totaling 291.33 acres, the Town of Indian River Shores totaling 210 acres, and the City of Vero Beach 183.1 acres.

The estimated cost of creating the ALAs ranges between $63,000 to $78,000 for Sebastian, $43,000 to $50,000 for Indian River Shores, and $107,000 to $126,000 for Vero Beach.

The costs include permits, pre- and post-surveys and initial installation. Two signs per piling, pilings, regulatory marker buoys and anchors need to be installed. Signs will indicate “entering” or “leaving” anchoring limitation area as the law requires they be clearly marked.

“This is a very good piece of legislation. I think about this as early intervention. This gives us tools if we are diligent with our enforcement,” said Keith Drewett, Clean Water Coalition vice president.

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