Creation of Miami-Dade Waterways “At Risk” Vessels Task Force
MIAMI-DADE – South Florida has long been one of the premier boating capitals of the world, but our region’s waters are unfortunately also plagued with many “at risk” vessels that pose serious environmental and navigational hazards and place a heavy burden on taxpayers. Apart from the toll in accidents, pollution and damage to our reefs and seawalls, the cost to taxpayers of removing these vessels is extraordinarily high.
To crack down on this problem, Miami-Dade County is teaming up with various agencies with jurisdiction over our waters and has established the Miami-Dade Waterways “At Risk” Vessels Task Force – a collaborative effort involving the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the U.S. Coast Guard, the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM), Florida International University (FIU), Biscayne National Park, the Miami-Dade Chiefs of Police Association, the Miami-Dade Police Department, 18 municipal police departments and Marine Patrols, and the Chief Bay Officer.
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman, who represents a large section of Miami-Dade’s waterways from Miami Beach to the Broward County line, worked on the creation of this comprehensive, collaborative Task Force with Major Alfredo Escanio of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The Task Force will result in community education, boat owner engagement and stepped-up enforcement action.
“While ongoing efforts are made to educate, engage and empower boat owners to properly maintain their vessels and remedy potential and existing problems, it is our police departments working with other agencies that will take appropriate action to identify and prevent ‘at risk’ vessels from becoming derelict and reduce the navigational and environmental hazards plaguing our waterways,” Commissioner Heyman said. “I am confident that we will successfully identify and cite all ‘at risk’ vessels in our jurisdictions by the start of hurricane season, and the ongoing work of the Task Force will have a significant effect on reducing hazards.”
A press conference on the creation and operation of the “At Risk” Vessels Task Force will take place on Thursday, April 1, 2021, at 2 p.m., at FIU Biscayne Bay-North Miami Campus, in the Kovens Center, 2nd floor balcony, 3000 NE 151st Street. Face masks must be worn.
FWC Major Alfredo Escanio
DERM Project Supervisor John Ricisak
FIU Institute of Environment Executive Director Todd Crowl
Chief Bay Officer Irela Bagué
Miami-Dade Association of Chiefs of Police President David De La Espriella
Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez
Miami-Dade Waterways “At Risk” Vessels Task Force members
Kovens Center, 2nd floor balcony
3000 NE 151st Street