And the numbers just keep growing.
The U.S. Coast Guard says that the number of Florida Keys vessels damaged or destroyed in Hurricane Irma that have been removed from Monroe County waters had hit 1,434. On Nov. 20, the number was 1,356.
Overall in Florida, 1,968 boats had been removed from waters statewide as of Monday, the Guard says. Irma hit Sept. 10 as a Category 4 and crushed much of the Lower Keys and parts of the Middle Keys. It hit Collier County on the southwest coast after hitting the Keys.
Overseeing the work is the so-called Unified Command for the response, officially called Emergency Support Function 10 Florida, consisting of leaders from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
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About 180 people from state and federal agencies are involved in the work, prioritizing the removal of vessels based on potential environmental impact.
Vessel owners are encouraged to hire a salvage company to recover their boats. Owners who want to remove their own vessels can visit http://myfwc.com/boating/vessel-hotline/removal for guidelines.
Owners of displaced boats who lack the resources to have their boat repaired, or if their vessel is determined to be beyond repair, can release ownership of the vessel through a waiver provided by the FWC.
The process can be initiated by contacting the FWC through the Vessel Removal Hotline at (305) 985-3744 and requesting to turn over a displaced vessel. An FWC representative will then contact the owner to explain the process and facilitate the potential turnover of ownership.