Rep. Tyler Sirois Submits Bill to Address Derelict Boats in Waterways, Prohibits Sewage Discharge in Indian River Lagoon

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effective on July 1 if approved by governor desantis

The Florida House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 1086 to address the problem of derelict boats in Florida’s waterways, including the Indian River Lagoon.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Florida House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 1086 to address the problem of derelict boats in Florida’s waterways, including the Indian River Lagoon.

The bill also includes other boater safety and environmental measures, including the designation of certain areas as no-discharge zones for marine sewage.

Senate Bill 1086, sponsored by Senator Travis Hutson (R-St. Augustine) and the House companion measure, sponsored by Representative Tyler Sirois (R-Merritt Island) now heads to the Governor for his signature.

“Derelict and abandoned vessels are a real problem in Brevard County and across our state,” said Representative Tyler Sirois.

“This legislation will provide Florida Fish and Wildlife and our law enforcement partners the tools to intervene before these vessels sink— carrying fuel, sewage, and fiberglass to the bottom of the river. During a storm event, these vessels can cause severe damage to docks, seawalls, and other structures.”

In the proposed budget, the legislature has appropriated $50 million to support derelict boat removal programs.

The bill includes provisions for the new designation of a nuisance vessel and provides a 21-day owner notification process and administrative hearing before vessels are removed.

The bill also includes a voluntary vessel turn-in program, a proactive measure in which boat owners can choose to turn their vessel title over to the state to have the vessel removed without penalty before it sinks.

NO-DISCHARGE ZONES

Representative Sirois included language in the bill designating Florida’s 42 aquatic preserves, including the Banana River and portions of the Indian River Lagoon as no-discharge zones for treated and untreated marine sewage.

“In addition to derelict boats, this is another box to check in our effort to restore the Indian River Lagoon. It doesn’t make sense to invest taxpayer dollars in septic to sewer conversions but allow boats to release sewage into the estuary,” Representative Sirois explained.

Senate Bill 1086 also requires owners of live-aboard vessels to maintain a log of sewage pump-outs and recognizes the latest developments in United States Coast Guard-compliant marine sanitation technology to protect Florida’s waters from marine sewage discharge.

BOATER SAFETY

Similar to Florida’s move-over law for motorists, Senate Bill 1086 requires a vessel operator to operate at a slow speed, minimum wake, within 300 feet of an emergency or construction vessel.

ANCHORING/MOORING

Senate Bill 1086 authorizes FWC to establish spring protection zones to prohibit the anchoring, mooring, beaching, or grounding of vessels in Florida’s natural springs.

The bill allows FWC to establish temporary protection zones for the launch and recovery of spaceflight assets.

“Senate Bill 1086 is a great bill that’s going to help keep our waterways safe and clean,” said Senator Travis Hutson (R-St. Augustine).

If the bill is approved by Governor DeSantis it will become effective on July 1, 2021.

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