Homeowners along Ortega River have formed a community group in hopes of removing old, abandoned boats along the river.
Given the condition of some of the boats outside their docks, homeowners argue they need to be removed.
“I moved here from Miami and really wanted to be on the water and look at a number of homes and finally selected this one," Allison Steilberg said.
Allison Steilberg's home is down the road from Seminole Park. Her home came with a view of the Ortega River Marina. Currently, there are 118 owners that pay for their boats to be here. But in twelve years she’s noticed boats passed the marina that appears abandoned.
“In the time I’ve lived here there have probably been at least five that have sunk," Steilberg said.
Steilberg’s concerned for those enjoying the water left dodging the boats just sitting there.
“It’s an issue of danger for the boats that sink that the mast is sticking up and all the other boating traffic that goes through here they can’t see it and it’s extraordinarily dangerous,” he said.
Homeowners posted pictures of boats in an online Ortega Homeowners group that featured shots on an overturned houseboat and ones that have collided with nearby docks.
“I’ve had a boat that came unhooked and wound up on my shoreline over here,” Steilberg said.
Homeowners are also concerned with boats they argue have been left alone for months, breaking free.
“It really doesn’t take long for them to catch speed and then all of a sudden there it is and the next thing you know it’s crashed into the dock," Steilberg said.
One just missed Steilberg’s neighbor's dock.
“The real thing is that people are involved and they are now getting something done about it,” Steilberg said.
Hope remains following a Tuesday meeting.
During the meeting, the district city councilwoman, Randy Defoor met with Florida Fish and Wildlife and State Representative Wyman Duggan.
Duggan said there is more clarity on the agencies that can respond and inspect neglected or abandoned boats. The city of Jacksonville's Marine Division has the authority to tow the boats away as well as Florida Fish and Wildlife.
The cost of these inspections would fall on the owner. If the boat is still attached it could cost up to $5,000. However, if the boat sinks as some homeowners say has happened, the cost can shoot up to nearly $30,000.
If the boat owner can not be identified, that cost would fall on the taxpayers but could be reimbursed through the state.