Houseboat owners told they have to go

October 2010 News

ARCADIA, Fla. - Houseboat owners along the Peace River are getting the boot. They've been given two weeks to pack up and move out or face the authorities.

For Bill Yarley, spending his retirement on the river was his dream.

"We used to come down in this area fishing as a youngster," says Yarley. "My dream was always to come back and just live and camp on the Peace River."

But last Friday, that dream and the peace along that waterway, were shattered.

"I was having my first cup of coffee and here comes sheriff boats and fish and game boats and they're coming in with guns on their sides and everything," Yarley recalls. "I had no idea what was happening."

Yarley says Florida Department of Environmental Protection officials told him and more than a dozen other houseboat owners they are trespassing on state land. When he asked if he could anchor in the middle of the river instead of on a small island, he says they told him no way.

"There are marinas where I can take it, but it's going to cost me more than I can afford," Yarley said.

WINK News contacted the state DEP and they referred us to trespassing laws and the signs posted along the river. They say the house-boaters are in violation of Florida statutes regarding state lands and trespassing.

As the sign states, the permanent mooring of vessels and the placement of personal property on these lands is unauthorized and constitutes illegal trespassing on sovereign submerged lands and state owned uplands and is a violation of Chapters 253, 373, 403, and 810, Florida Statutes. The sign also notifies owners of the need to remove permanent vessels and structures.

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