Town of Palm Beach News

Palm Beach to Remove Remains of Boat

On Friday, Palm Beach officials said that they would remove the remaining bits of an abandoned boat that has sat unmoved on the beach near President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago since it first washed ashore in January, according to the Palm Beach Daily News.

“We could go there with some chainsaws and a team of people for almost nothing,” Town Manager Kirk Blown said. But, Blouin continued, the town lacks the necessary manpower for such a mission, and so has been forced to do the thing it most hoped to avoid: put the job out for bid.

In 2016, the town paid $200,000 to haul away an abandoned boat and the incident resulted in a lawsuit, and Blown said he doesn’t want that to happen again. 

Previously, town officials said they would not act before March 9, after which point they expected Summer Smart could be declared derelict and they could move the boat with less fear of litigation. 

However, March 9 has come and gone, and all that remains of the boat now is a 10-foot chunk of hull strewn with wires.

“We knew from the beginning this was going to be somewhat controversial,” Blouin said of the town’s decision not to act sooner. “We chose to take the safest route, which was just sort of leave it be.”

Palm Beach to Remove Remains of Boat

Unfortunately, no one stepped in to clean up the mess of the abandoned boat. No local, state, or federal officials claimed responsibility, and one young local man who attempted to clean up harmful parts of the boat was slapped with a no trespassing warning. Slowly, Summer Smart disintegrated into the sand and water, angering residents and environmentalists.

“These boats break up, and even though we have removed the gasoline, still the boats are made of fiberglass and it breaks apart and it moves,” Councilwoman Margaret Zeidman said earlier this week at a Town Council meeting. “Now some of that boat is found in Midtown.”

Zeidman and Councilwoman Bobbie Lindsay challenged the town to come up with a plan to deal with any future derelict boats.

Blouin agreed. “We’re going to have some sort of plan for next time,” he said.

Related >>> Palm Beach Refuses to Move Beached Boat

Blouin expressed frustration that the situation has gone on this long. “initially I told [local police] to tow the boat,” he said. “But very quickly the boat was grounded and prices [to remove it] started to escalate.”

Blouin said that no contractors have returned the town’s request for bids, so the procurement department is following up. He is concerned that bids may unreasonably high or take so long to arrange that what’s left of the boat will be submerged or washed back out to before anything gets done.

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Alanna Barrett

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