The derelict vessel floating in Navarre Sound for over two years and deemed an eyesore by many beach lovers and businesses, now resides temporarily at the Pensacola Shipyard in Bayou Chico.
According to Santa Rosa County Commissioner Bob Cole, who was able to "take the bull by the horns" and get the boat removed from both the sound and vandals, says it has been a long process to get the job done. "It's out of the water now and no longer a public nuisance," he says.
The vessel was taken at the expense of the owner on Thursday to Pensacola Shipyard to stay until disposal, which is the total expense of the owner. Keith Bellflower, general manager of the shipyard says the business is happy to help out, being the story is all too familiar, going back to Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
"Storms since then have devastated the water front and took a toll on many vessels. What's happened in the past, people see a 30 ft. sailboat at auction, damaged by storms going for a great price and they make the purchase and don't realize the cost of what it takes to get it back to shipshape." He says he's seen several boats be anchored in Bayou Chico, abandoned, becoming navigational hazards. Cole says during the two years the boat was abandoned, it was sunk and raised several times and caused problems for many. "It's just not safe for the people," he says. He explains the owner, Jeremiah Shanstid had some help and got it out of the water.
John Naybor, president of Bayou Chico Association and marina owner, says Cole has begun a community effort to both rid the causeway of an eyesore and help Shanstid, who was facing legal charges for neglect. "Bob feels sorry for the guy. If he didn't remove it by today, he would've gone to jail. It's been two years. Now, it's his responsibility to have it destroyed."
Naybor says leaving the boat in the water for so long is not only a safety hazard but a environmental problem as well. "It has to go all the way to the dump," says Naybor, "and it's taken at least two years and a court order to move it."
Bellflower says the shipyard's past endeavors for helping Escambia county in removing derelict vessels was by storing the boats while in the process of having them dismantled.