GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. -- Green Cove Springs city leaders believe they may have the solution to a problem with abandoned boats along the St. Johns River. The mayor said a new bill could make the waterways safer and save taxpayer dollars.
Spring Park in Green Cove Springs is a frequent spot for fishermen to grab their main catch of the day. But, among the seafood and wildlife in the water are abandoned boats.
“Many of them abandon the boats and anchor it and leave it laying,” said Mayor Mitch Timberlake.
Timberlake said it’s even costing taxpayers about $5,000 per boat to remove them from the water.
Timberlake said they have removed about a dozen boats from the water, some, which had sank. He added it’s a tough process to get them out.
“For one, a sewage issue, and the disposal of that kind of material. The second is just the oils and the gas and the other thing that are on the boat,” said Timberlake.
He said new legislation is needed to help put a stop to the problem. Timberlake said the bill would allow law enforcement to remove deserted boats without extensive searches to find the owner.
“In some cases a title isn’t filed and it’s difficult to go back through to get proof of ownership,” said Timberlake.
Robert Hartley, a frequent fisherman on the river, said he supports the bill to end the problem.
“If there’s something that’s causing problems pollution wise, I’m all for it in paying my taxes,” said Hartley.
Timberlake said city leaders are teaming up with state lawmakers and Florida wildlife officials. He said he hopes the bill will pass during the 2014 legislative session.