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Escambia County to look at rules to deal with unattended boats

ESCAMBIA COUNTY --- Derelict boats - or boats that are left unattended - can cause big problems in our waterways. And Escambia County authorities are looking at possibly coming up with some new rules so they can deal with them faster.
Folks who live nearby say a boat that sank out here near the Galvez Boat Ramp created a big nuisance this summer. They say the unattended vessel was left sinking at the dock for days. It spilled about ten gallons of fuel before it was finally removed by its owner. A crew contracted by the coast guard cleaned up the mess.
Capt. Wes Rozier, fishing guide said, "I saw the boat off and on for probably a good two months."
Captain Rozier is a fishing guide who uses the ramp frequently.
"Once he'd have it tied on this side, then he'd have it tied on that side. Then he'd have it moored out there, Rozier said.
Rozier and others who use the ramp say they'd like to see unattended boats dealt with more quickly.
Doug Zepp, boat ramp user said, We don't wanna see boats that are leaking fuel and destroying the habitat."
Capt. Bill Willis, fishing guide said, It's gonna be a navigational hazard, along with just like I said, taking up space on the dock."
After the boat sank in late July, the county put signs up around the dock and ramp warning people not to leave their boats unattended.
Rozier said, "If they break loose...Then they become a navigational hazard for say, our commercial shipping, our recreational boaters."
The state enforces rules of its own when it comes to derelict vessels. But having them removed can often take a lot of time. So county authorities are looking for ways to possibly speed up the process, especially at county facilities like the Galvez Boat Ramp.
The county's marine advisory committee will discuss the issue at a meeting next Monday.