Time’s up for Cape Coral ‘zombie boats’


It’s a war Cape Coral residents say they’ve been fighting for more than a decade.

The owners of the now infamous “zombie boats” had until Friday to remove the rotting boats – but as of Friday morning they are still unused and docked, gathering mold and grime.

Ken Rankin lives across the canal and has led the charge to get the boats removed. The German owners are rarely there, and he and others say enough is enough.

“We’ve got an absentee foreign slumlord who owns this place and doesn’t give a damn,” he said.

Rankin and other neighbors say they’ve done all they can do.

“The one boat that’s broke, I tried to buy a long time ago from him and he wouldn’t sell it,” said neighbor Charles Evans, who’s lived nearby for 32 years. “I’d like to see ’em gone. I wish they’d take of it. No more dragging your feet.”

Turns out the boats aren’t the only problem.

Neighbor Lawrence Schlax said the roof was blown off in Hurricane Charley and never fixed, leaving the inside of the house full of mold.

Many say they’ve seen oil and sludge leaking from the boats, too.

The city has granted the owners an extension, but the extra time is up.

“I know the owners have been offered money to sell it, just because the neighbors wanted to get rid of it,” Schlax said. “And he’s turned them down. It’s a mess, a real mess. It’s been a problem for at least 15 years, if not longer than that. It’s an eyesore.”

The city can now do one of two things: fine the owners or move the boats and bill the owners later. A meeting on the status of the boats is set for later on this month.

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