DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Daytona Beach Police Department is continuing to oversee the removal of derelict boats in the Halifax River, some of which have been abandoned by their owners.
Twelve boats will be removed from July through September; eight have already been hauled away.
Many of the boats are underwater, and two of them need to be drained of fuel and oil before they can be moved, police said.
“These boats have been an eyesore, an environmental risk and a safety risk,” Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri said. “It’s a situation we couldn’t tolerate any longer. It’s well past time to get these junk boats out of the water.”
The boats were also hosting drug activity and creating situations were people were trespassing to access to vessels.
“(The) boats had drug activity going on it where people were taking little dinghy’s coming in there and doing drugs on the boats. Some of these people were trespassing in resident’s yards along the river,” Capri said.
The goal is to make the waterway safer, according to the chief.
Most of the boats, none of which are salvageable, will be towed to Bethune Point Park, where they will be dismantled.
The city of Daytona Beach will pay for the initiative, but in a partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the police agency will be reimbursed more than $107,000 through two state grants.
Authorities said the police department will search for the owners, who were previously notified, in an effort to pay for their removal and demolition. Police said holds have been placed with the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, so the owners cannot renew any vehicle registration until they pay.
“We’re going to have to look at criminal charges and also look at putting liens on. They’re going to have to pay this,” Capri said. “They’re going to have to pay this back.”