Hollywood residents are pleading for stepped-up enforcement on the water after a massive fire near a marina brought up concerns of “boat blight” in the area.
At least two people were hospitalized after they swam to shore to escape the fire early Monday in North Lake. Residents said the boats involved in the fire had been tied together for months.
“These boats are like squatters,” resident Jerry Baer said. “They’re not giving the city any money. They’re a blight to the city. They throw their trash and bodily waste in the water.”
Two people were hospitalized Monday morning after swimming to shore to escape a massive fire that destroyed several boats near a marina in Hollywood. NBC 6’s Chris Hush reports
Luis Oliveira, who teaches young sailors at the Gulfstream Sailing Club, said he’s had to navigate the boat blight over the years. Pictures from another resident showed derelict boats sinking and hazardous debris drifting.
“When you have novices out there that don’t know how to control the boat very well, they can easily run into the boats,” Oliveira said.
On Nov. 15, – Broward County passed legislation that allows the city of Hollywood to enforce anchoring limitations, keeping boaters from anchoring in one spot for more than 45 consecutive days in any 6-month period.
Boats in violation will be removed — but that is a lengthy process that can take up to three months.
“As soon as one vessel is removed, another one appears,” officials said.
In the past three years, the city has removed nearly 30 derelict boats from its waterways. Four more are awaiting removal, according to the city.
A city spokesperson said new signage will be installed in the lakes and at city facilities and that marine patrols have increased.
On top of more than $300,000 dollars in grant money already received to remove boats, the city is applying for additional funding. Some of that grant money will be used to keep up with the resources to address the issue.
The city added that several “at risk” boats have recently been identified.
“It’s just gotten worse over time,” Baer said.