Marine Safety

Pinellas County’s Marine Safety Unit keeps our waterways safe by monitoring and maintaining County-owned waterway markers and removing abandoned, at-risk or derelict vessels.

Waterway Markers

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is ultimately responsible for properly marking boating restricted areas and manatee protection zones implemented under its authority.

Pinellas County, under the Boating and Waterways Section within the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (Ch. 327.40 Florida Statutes), can place safety, regulatory, informational and navigation markers in, on or over the waters or shores of the county.

Pinellas County’s Marine Safety Unit staff continuously monitors County-owned/maintained waterway markers for maintenance and repairs.

For questions or to report missing or damaged signs/buoys, contact the FWC at 1-866-405-BUOY (2869) or Pinellas County at (727) 453-3385.

View Pinellas County’s Waterways Code.

Abandoned, At-Risk or Derelict Vessels

Abandoned, at-risk or derelict vessels are a concern for boaters. Pinellas County has a program to remove these vessels, but there is a specific process that must be followed prior to removal:

  • Initial complaints are investigated by the FWC (850-488-4676), Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit (727-582-6200), or local municipal authorities if the vessel is within their jurisdiction. 
  • Notice is provided to the owner (via mail or notice on the vessel) to remove the vessel or request a hearing within 21 days.
  • If the vessel is not removed or a hearing is not requested within the 21-day period, Pinellas County’s Marine Safety Unit receives a Derelict Vessel Removal Authorization.
  • A contractor is dispatched to remove the vessel.

For more information, visit FWC Derelict, Abandoned & At-Risk Vessels.