Abandoned Vessels

The Marine Resources Program monitors the presence of lost and/or abandoned vessels in Manatee County's waterways. Manatee County Ordinance 05-16 prohibits any person from willfully or intentionally leaving lost or abandoned vessels upon County waters and provides a means for their removal.

What is an Abandoned Vessel?

“Lost or Abandoned Vessel” shall mean any vessel left upon County waters which present a threat to the public health, safety and welfare as:

• potential hazards to safe navigation and commercial and recreational use of County waters;
• sources of pollution of County waters;
• sources of degradation of the aesthetic value of County waters and shoreline; and
• hazards to waterfront property and public safety during severe weather.

Generally, when ownership of a lost or abandoned vessel can be determined by County staff, notice will be sent to the owner by certified mail. The owner is then responsible for initiating removal of the vessel within five days of receipt of such notice.

If you have received an official notice regarding a lost or abandoned vessel, you are the last owner of record on file with the Manatee County Tax Collector’s Office.

What Happens if I want to Sell my Vessel?

The destruction or abandonment of a registered vessel must be reported to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 30 days. The vessel owner must also notify the Department within 30 days of any transfer of interest in a vessel.

Failure to initiate removal of a lost or abandoned vessel within five days of receipt of notice may result in the following:

• a fine of up to $500;
• liability of all costs incurred by the County for removal, storage and disposal of the vessel;
• denial of certificate of registration of any vessel owned or co-owned by the violator until such removal costs have been paid.

How do I Report an Abandoned Vessel?

You can assist Manatee County in our efforts to keep our waterways free of hazards, pollution and aesthetic degradation by reporting potential lost or abandoned vessels to the Manatee County Natural Resources Department at (941) 748-4501 ext. 6008.

When reporting a lost or abandoned vessel, please provide as much of the following information as possible:

• vessel registration number/state
• length and width of vessel
• name of vessel
• hull type (wood, fiberglass, etc.)
• propulsion (power, sail, other)
• general location
• G.P.S. coordinates

Your assistance and cooperation with the Manatee County Lost and Abandoned Vessel Program is greatly appreciated.
Thank you for helping to keep Manatee County safe and beautiful.


  • Marine Resources
  • (941) 748-4501 ext. 6008 or 6011
  • Email Us