Ditching boats may soon be a felony

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL (WFLX) - There's a new push for the owners of derelict vessels to take responsibility for the major mess they've left in our waterways.

Some of these vessels have been here for months -- others for years. FWC and other local and state agencies are tasked with cracking down on people who ditch boats.

State grants are allotted to help with this problem; however, it is not easy tracking down those who are responsible for it. Not to mention, getting boats out of the water takes time.

"We pulled one the other day that's been down for two years," said Officer Amanda Phillips, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. "And probably, about two weeks before that, we pulled one that's been down six months."

Phillips says there are at least 25 derelict vessels floating in Palm Beach County waters right now.

Those found to have left a boat in the water could face misdemeanor charges. The charges could be upgraded to a felony depending on the size of the boat and the amount of damage it may have caused.

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