Sunken boat owner served a notice to appear in court

Published: September 12, 2022 2:01 PM EDT
Updated: September 12, 2022 5:38 PM EDT

The sunken boat owner in the Bimini Basin received a notice to appear in court.

The owner identified by Florida Fish and Wildlife as William Debruine is under investigation.

The boat originally sunk on September 1, and bystanders were out at the basin trying to get the boat out of the water.

The boat named ‘Smooth’ remains although back above water and now sporting a ‘for sale’ sign.

Jeff Sullivan, a Cape Coral resident said, “It’s kind of crazy, because this is the second one this has happened. And our tax money, of course, is fighting this. That’s not fair.”

The first boat Sullivan is referring was abandoned by the owner in April, eventually, it was hauled away.

Florida Fish and Wildlife told WINK News they would not get involved the second time around if the owner of this boat removed it from the basin.

But FWC ordered the removal of the boat but the Debruine isn’t budging.

“It’s kind of disgusting in a way because we’re all you know, working we all have mortgages, here, we pay a lot of money to be here,” Sullivan said.

FWC officially served Debruine with a notice to appear before a judge.

In a statement, they said, “this is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail or a $1,000 fine.”

Residents don’t think those consequences will be enough to keep other derelict boats out of the basin.

The investigation is still ongoing but Sullivan said he’s glad the owner will be held responsible for leaving his boat without proper care.

“Yeah, it is warranted. It’s an old boat, and you know it could sink again,” Sullivan said.

WINK News spoke with Councilman Tom Hayden last week. He said the Mooring Field is still moving forward they’re just awaiting permits.

Once those are approved the city can then start the construction process.