Lee County apparently got their message through to the owners of the derelict and abandoned boats in Boca’s bayou. Where once there were many old, decaying boats, there are now only one or two well-kept vessels tied to the mangroves.
So where did the boats go?Lee County officials say that the boats were tagged a while ago, and the owners were essentially advised to “move it or lose it.” They apparently chose to move them.
Though it has not been confirmed who actually removed the boats, many are happy to see them gone.
After years of complaints from residents, officials realized that the Bayou is considered a part of the “Aquatic Preserve Property” owned by the county, and is supposed to be governed by their representatives. They have since acted accordingly.
Four years ago there was considerable community concern that the Bayou was in danger of being taken over by live-aboard boaters and abandoned vessels. Sarasota County had recently made a decision to allow live-aboards, and the negative effects from that decision prompted members of the Boca Grande Community Panel to take steps to make sure it didn’t happen here.
In May of 2004 Amendment AC-7-4 was approved by Lee County commissioners regarding derelict and/or abandoned vessels in the coastal waters of Lee County, allowing the county to remove abandoned vessels. The county’s Division of Natural Resources has been in the process of identifying abandoned boats and making sure they are removed. This is done by determining the last registered owner of a boat that is believed to be abandoned, and sending a certified letter from the county asking the owner to contact the Natural Resources Division concerning the status of the boat. If no contact is made within five days, the boat is removed by the county.
There is no Lee County ordinance prohibiting live-aboards. The establishment of a “mooring field” to better regulate the Boca Grande waterways was discussed years ago, but in the end the “cons” outweighed the “pros” in that issue.
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