Authorities cracking down on abandoned boats in Bimini Basin

Cape Coral Police Department is cracking down on the squatters living in abandoned boats floating in Bimini Basin.

One major push for Cape Coral Police Department to get these people living on the abandoned boats out of the Bimini Basin is because they are dumping their feces in the water.

“I understand how people can be upset about all the boats that are abandoned here, and there’s people emptying their tanks here,” said Randy Owens.

Owens dropped anchor in Bimini Basin three weeks ago. This is the New Yorker’s latest stop while sailing around Southwest Florida.

But within the last five days, Cape Coral Police Department has put an end to boat living in Bimini Basin.

“He (officer) told me that from this point forward, ‘If you go to the dock at the park with a dingie, you’d be ticketed for trespassing,'” Owens said.

Cape Coral Police Department says they will no longer allow squatters to live in the abandoned boats.

Yet, some Cape Coral residents say they’re not looking to force these boaters out, they just want them to do their part and keep it clean.

“Have the decency to keep the water clean, don’t dump your waste in it,” said Cape Coral resident Frank Dethlefsen.

Last month, the city of Cape Coral tested the water in Bimini Basin. The tests found extremely high-levels of fecal bacteria in the water, which then resulted in the cancellation of The Rotary’s Cardboard Boat Regatta event.

MORE: High-levels of fecal matter in Bimini Basin results in event cancellation

“We have a problem and we need to fix it,” Dethlefsen said. “We can’t wait two years, we need to fix it now.”

When it comes to the abandoned boats, it’s Cape Coral Police Department’s responsibility to either find the owner or remove it.

“I saw boats that I thought were being lived on, but I never saw anyone on them,” Owens said. “So, I think you’re right. They’re just leaving them.”

Lee County keeps a running list of abandoned boats on the city’s website. Out of the 25 boats listed, only one is in the Bimini Basin listed as abandoned. Boats can also be reported as abandoned, which starts the removal process.

To see the list of abandoned boats, click here.

Reporter:John-Carlos Estrada
Writer:Emily Ford