Houseboat removed from Joe's Bayou

Matt Algarin
This houseboat was recently removed from Joe’s Bayou by city employees.

A derelict houseboat has been removed from Joe’s Bayou.

According to city documents, pumps were used to float the boat to the boat ramp before it could be loaded onto a trailer for removal.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office provided an escort as the boat was transported to the city’s maintenance facility.City crews have demolished the vessel and placed the materials into roll-off containers which will be collected by Waste Management.

Removal costs are currently being calculated, but are expected to be in the neighborhood of $2,000. The city will seek reimbursement from Okaloosa County for the removal costs.

In April, a sign was placed at Joe’s Bayou urging residents to call the alleged owner of the vessels in the bayou and request a removal. In part, the sign read “these boats have been left here for the people of Destin to look at.”

The sign was quickly removed by city code enforcement officials, as it wasn’t in compliance.

Dealing with derelict boats can be a lengthy process, as Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Investigator James Armstrong told The Log in April.

“Just because they have been there a couple of years doesn’t make them any more or less derelict,” he said. “Every time you file paperwork, the owners have a chance to bring the vessel to compliance, and then if they are neglected again we have to start the process over.”

In addition to the houseboat, a pontoon boat has been sitting in Joe’s Bayou for quite a while, but it was not removed, according to city officials.