Derelict Vessel Removal in Florida's Palm Beach County
Derelict vessel being crushed at a landfill yard.
A derelict vessel is crushed at a landfill yard after removal.

LagoonKeepers.org worked to improve the quality of Palm Beach County’s estuarine, coastal, and near-shore marine ecosystems through derelict and sunken boat removal.

Project Dates: June 2014 - May 2016

What’s the project?
LagoonKeepers.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the water quality of Palm Beach County, Florida by removing marine debris on a daily basis. They patrol a 41-mile stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway and a part of the Everglades Watershed in Palm Beach County. This area includes important marine habitats such as salt marsh, sea grass beds, mangroves, and oyster beds, which can be damaged by debris such as abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs).

On average, LagoonKeepers.org removes one abandoned and derelict vessel monthly, merely keeping pace with the number of vessels that become abandoned or derelict in these waters.

Who is involved?
LagoonKeepers.org led the removal of ADVs from the marine ecosystem in Palm Beach County, Florida, with support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program's Community-based marine Debris Removal Grant.

What does it accomplish?
LagoonKeepers.org worked to remove 31 ADVs by June 2016. That amounted to about 310 tons of debris, which benefits the marine environment and wildlife that call the area home. After removal, the vessels were either salvaged or broken down and disposed of in a preapproved landfill, per local requirements and environmental regulations.

What is something unique about the project?
LagoonKeepers.org worked with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission to exchange data on derelict vessels in the county. This data contributed to a larger statewide database mapping out the locations of derelict, sunken or at risk vessels.