A new hotline is created for reporting displaced boats and vessels due to Hurricane Ian

Anyone can report a displaced or relocated boat by calling 850-488-5600

The "Night Wind" lies grounded against the second story of an apartment building, now missing its first story, on San Carlos Island in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Boat crew Shawn Shelton and Doug Fundak, along with Shelton's dog Lucky, rode the storm out on "Night Wind," as surge waters and wind carried it onshore and then into the apartment building. After the storm, many in the local shrimp industry find themselves not only out of work, but also homeless, with most of the boats where they lived aboard left stranded on dry ground or heavily damaged. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) (Rebecca Blackwell, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has established a hotline for reporting displaced vessels still on Florida state waters because of Hurricane Ian.

Thousands of vessels were displaced by wind and storm surge due to Hurricane Ian. Some were pushed ashore, some damaged in marinas, private docks and others were relocated but still afloat, fully or partially sunken.

“We take this matter seriously and understand the hardship that Hurricane Ian has placed upon our residents,” said Boating and Waterways Section Leader Maj. Rob Beaton. “FWC officers are diligently working to determine the current number and ownership of storm-related displaced vessels across the state. We are committed to helping boat owners find their vessels and facilitate the removal of vessels from state waters that are posing a threat to the environment or blocking waterways.”

Anyone can report displaced or damaged boats on Florida waters by calling 850-488-5600, Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Callers need to provide vessel’s registration number, current location and detailed description.

“These efforts will take time. While the majority of displaced vessels are in Charlotte, Collier and Lee counties, there are multiple counties affected on both coasts of the state,” said Coast Guard Cdr. Melanie Burnham, Incident Commander for the Marine Environmental Response. “We appreciate the cooperation of the boating public during this unprecedented recovery effort.”

Owners of vessels that have become derelict have 45 days from the day the hurricane passed over the state to either remove their boats from waters of the state or bring it into a non-derelict condition. Owners of displaced vessels who lack the resources to have their boat repaired, or if their vessel is determined to be beyond repair, may release ownership of their vessel by calling the FWC hotline.