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Archive For: Keys8 – Marathon and Boot Key Harbor

  • Seeking Fellow Boater in Marathon. FL

    If you know or have seen Wayne Shosie, please contact SSECN or Laurel Long at the info below.

    Hello, I’m trying to contact Wayne Shosie on MV “Blue Max”. I’ve been told he is in the anchorage at Boot Key Harbor City Marina Marathon, FL.
    Thanks for any assistance you can give.
    Contact info: Laurel Long
    904-472-5546
    laurel382@gmail.com

  • More on Still Missing Sailor, Vicinity of Marathon, Florida Keys

    If anyone has knowledge of Paul Murray’s location, please contact his Dad at the number below or through our Contact number 336-446-9381.

    paulmurray

    Paul Murray

    We are looking for Paul Murray -aboard Sailboat Double Feature (Boot Key Harbor west of Boot Key bridge)

    He went to Stock Island (Key West) to help a friend (Donnie) move his boat to Marathon. They ran aground, got in the dinghy and safely made it to shore on June 16. Folks at Robbie’s Full Service Marina at Stock Island tell me that Donnie has gone to New York but no one knows where Paul is. He isn’t answering phone (likely destroyed in boat mishap), isn’t responding to texts or FB messages and hasn’t accessed his bank accounts in last 2 weeks! We have contacted his friends and family but no one has had any contact.
    If anyone has any ideas I can check out or knows anything, please let me know ASAP. I am Paul’s dad.
    Bill Murray and can be reached at 248.974.8218

    4/3/2016 Larry,
    Attached is a corrected version of the Monroe County’s press release about my son’s disappearance:
    Family, detectives looking for information about missing man 
    Sheriff’s detectives are hoping to help locate a Marathon man whose family and friends say they have not seen nor heard from him since June 16th. 
    48 year old Paul Thomas Murray, who lives on a boat in Boot Key Harbor in Marathon, told family members he was going to help a friend move a sailboat from Robbie’s Marina on Stock Island to Boot Key Harbor on June 16th. A short time after that, the sailboat he was supposed to help move, called the “Hornet” was located, grounded on some rocks a short distance away from Robbie’s Marina. No one was on board. 
    A friend of Murray spoke with Murray’s father. He said the owner of the boat, Donny Vanaria, and Murray were going to move the boat together on the 16th. A man whose nickname is “Red” reportedly told Murray’s father that he woke up at 4 a.m. on the 17th and the boat was aground; he said neither Murray nor  Vanaria were on board, but Vanaria returned by dinghy and asked Red if he would take care of his dog because he had to leave town. 
    Since that time, there have been no reports from anyone who has seen or heard from Murray and his family says there has been no activity on his credit/debit card or cell phone. 
    Anyone who knows anything about Murray that might help find him, or find out what happened to him, should contact Major Crimes Detective Dawn Agusto at 305-289-2410.

    7/15/2016
    There has not been any progress in the investigation. The MCSO Major Crimes Unit is trying to investigate but there is a lack of information at this point.
    We think that Paul left Boot Key Harbor on 6-16 to help a man deliver a boat (S/V Hornet)from Stock island to Marathon. They left that evening and the next morning the boat was crashed on the rocks outside Robbie’s Full Service Marine. (it is still there on its side full of water – I will forward a pic). While the owner made it to shore and then left town immediately, Paul was not seen again.
    The sheriff’s office is looking for persons who have specific information about Paul arriving at Stock Island and boarding the boat. Right now, no one has come forward to help us figure out what actually happened.
    Thanks for your interest and help.
    Bill Murray

  • Good Words for Marathon Marina and Boat Yard, Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL


    Marathon Marina and Boat Yard lines the northern banks of the western Boot Key Harbor approach channel, west of the now permanently open bascule bridge.

    We have stayed here several times and love it. The pool has the best view around and the people are friendly. Brought the boat down from Naples and booked a month and will go back and forth. I would recommend this marina highly.
    Nancy Meyers

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Marathon Marina and Boat Yard

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Marathon Marina and Boat Yard

  • Monroe County to Expand Pumpout Services, Boot Key, Marathon, FL


    This expansion of pumpout services in the Marathon area is certainly good news for cruisers. Our thanks to Chuck Baier and Susan Landry for forwarding this article by William Axford in KeyInfoNet.com.

    The city of Marathon is looking to expand wastewater services for boats by providing Monroe County with a location to receive vessel waste for the Middle Keys.
    Should a location be provided, the city will most likely be working with Key Colony-based company Pumpout USA, which is contracted with the county to remove vessel waste.
    Chuck and Susan

    The Great Book Of Anchorages http://www.tgboa.com
    Navigation Notices http://www.marinalife.com/navigationUpdates/index.cfm
    Our Blogs
    Trawler Beach House http://trawler-beach-house.blogspot.com/
    Voyages of Sea Trek http://sea-trek.blogspot.com/

    Marathon to expand wastewater services for vessels
    Boaters are not charged for pumpouts
    BY WILLIAM AXFORD
    waxford@keynoter.comSeptember 24, 2014
    The city of Marathon is looking to expand wastewater services for boats by providing Monroe County with a location to receive vessel waste for the Middle Keys.
    Should a location be provided, the city will most likely be working with Key Colony-based company Pumpout USA, which is contracted with the county to remove vessel waste.
    At Tuesday’s city council meeting at the Marathon Government Center, council members were expected to approve a resolution amending the city’s wastewater utility fees and rates, implementing a $112 a month fee to dispose of waste at a city facility.
    There is also a 14-cent-per-gallon surcharge.

    “The city is trying to make sure we have a way for vessels to remove their untreated sewage within the areas of the Keys,” said Zully Hemeyer, head of the city’s utility department. “We do not want to discharge waste near shore waters because of the potential health risks. This is just another way we can ensure the water is kept clean.”

    For the full article, go to: ARTICLE NO LONGER AVAILABLE

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Marathon, Fl

  • Faro Blanco Resort to Re-Open, Marathon, FL


    Our thanks to Chuck and Susan for sending this notice of the re-opening of Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Clubmarina. Open the link below for more on this beautiful resort.

    For those of you familiar with Marathon in the Florida Keys, you know that Faro Blanco Resort has been closed for a very long time. It has been announced that the all new Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club is scheduled to open in December.

    Chuck Baier and Susan Landry

    The Great Book Of Anchorages http://www.tgboa.com

    Navigation Notices http://www.marinalife.com/navigationUpdates/index.cfm

    Our Blogs Trawler Beach House http://trawler-beach-house.blogspot.com/

    Voyages of Sea Trek http://sea-trek.blogspot.com/

  • Port of Entry Facility in Marathon, FL to be Completed by Spring of 2015


    SSECN first reported this story in January of 2014 (http://cruisersnet.net/?p=133372) at which time the facility was to have completed by December of this year. Our thanks to Chuck Baier of Beach House Publications for sending this article by William Axford from KeysInfoNet.com.

    New Customs entryway in Marathon is getting closer
    By WILLIAM AXFORD
    Renovations to bring a U.S. Customs and Border Protection office to Florida Keys Marathon Airport are set to start in the next 30 to 60 days.
    The construction at the airfield’s terminal is the first step in having a Customs agent at the airport and making it an official port of entry for travelers entering the U.S. in the Keys. It could open in spring 2015.

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Marathon

  • High Praise for Marathon Marina and Boat Yard and Staff, Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL


    Marathon Marina and Boat Yard lines the northern banks of the western Boot Key Harbor approach channel, west of the now permanently open bascule bridge.

    Great Marina! We have pulled our trailerable Macgregor Sailboat from Atlanta to the Marathon Marina for the past 3 years. Each visit is a great one. The staff takes such good care of us, even though we are not a mega sailboat. Wifi works well throughout the marina. There is a great restaurant with wonderful food right on the premises. They have updated their pool to a lovely saltwater pool (no more blood shot eyes from chlorine). There are grocery stores, a West Marine, and plenty more restaurants, well within driving distance or a $5 taxi drive.
    On our last visit we needed a haul out due to engine trouble. The crew operating the machinery were very professional. They took such great care of our boat and the rate was reasonable.
    On our first visit to the Marina, my wife was getting ready to toss me a stern line when she fell into the cockpit of our boat and broke her foot. Judy from the office was such a help. She instructed us where we could get medical attention and offered to help in any way we needed.
    For those who wish to attend a worship service on Sundays, there is a great church just down the road called Marathon Baptist Church. The Pastor is very caring and the congregation of locals are welcoming and warm hearted.
    We continue to return knowing we will enjoy every day of our visit to this wonderful marina.

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Marathon Marina and Boat Yard

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Marathon Marina and Boat Yard

  • More on Depths on Sister Creek, Marathon (Alternate Passage from Hawk Channel to Boot Key Harbor)


    Sister Creek is an alternate entrance to Boot Key Harbor, which runs, more or less, north from Hawk Channel. In the “sagging utility lines posting (http://cruisersnet.net/?p=84316)” both Claiborne and our very special Florida Keys correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, cautioned that boats drawing more than 4 feet should not attempt to use Sister Creek to access BKH.

    At normal high tide I have entered with 6’2 draft and no bumping, several times seeing depths once inside in the teens.
    Cory

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Sister Creek

  • A Month-Long Stay at Sombrero Marina, Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL

    Sombrero Marina - Click for Chartview

    Sombrero Marina – Click for Chartview

    Sombrero Marina resides on Boot Key Harbor’s southerly banks, near the bay’s easterly limits, just east of unlighted daybeacon #5A. Skipper Reeves points out the marina’s pro and cons.

    We stayed @ Sombrero Dockside for 1 month. Never could get internet as promised. The people on the docks are wonderful and are very welcome to new comers. They love the place. Dave the Prince of Poop is a hard worker and will POUT on Thursdays and Mondays if needed the fee is $5 and $10. Dave is always cheerful even when replacing old dock boards in the hot sun. The parking lot is right at the docks and locals/tourists speed through the curve fast so watch out when biking/walking to nearby stores. There is a golf course across the street with a nice walking trail. A patch of grass is provided as a dog walk and some users from the marina never pick up after their large dogs.
    The Dockside Cafe is on the grounds and is a good place for a cold beer and has a great Mahi sandwich, but the music is so loud the acoustics so bad you can’t hear the music for the sound level. I assume the singers are good.
    The tiny kitchen is quickly overwhelmed by the crowd and service depends on the size of the crowd. You share the showers and such with the bar. The laundry is in a shed and seemed to always have one or more machines out of order. The huge demand for dock space in the winter keeps the place full at $23 @ Ft plus elect and pump outs.

    Sombrero Marina

    Sombrero Marina

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Sombrero Marina Dockside

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Sombrero Marina Dockside

  • Praise for Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL

    Boot Key Harbor - Click for Chartview

    Boot Key Harbor – Click for Chartview

    Home to a very popular, busy anchorage and mooring field (usually has a waiting list), Boot Key Harbor lies in the heart of Marathon and north of Vaca Key. This review comes from our friends at the “T&T” (Trawlers and Trawlering) nautical mailing list.

    Boot Key harbor in Marathon has a few hundred mooring balls at a reasonable rate that includes dinghy dockage, showers, car parking and laundry access. The harbor has better breezes than on the mainland or in canals.
    There are many restaurants nearby, Sunset Grill facing west adjacent to the 7 Mile Bridge being our favorite. There are many other favorites too with great Happy Hour specials such as Lazy Days. The popular Salty’s however recently burned to the ground. There is a local theatrical group and movie theatre plus Publix, Winn-Dixie and Kmart are nearby. Next door is the city park with ball fields, tennis courts and amphitheater. During the winter months there are numerous flea markets, festivals and other special event.
    Its 50 miles to Key West by city bus, inexpensive.
    Rick aboard “Dark Star”, 44′ Marine Trader DC

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Marathon

  • Lightning Strike in Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL, off Hawk Channel

    Boot Key Harbor - Click for Chartview

    Boot Key Harbor – Click for Chartview

    Boot Key Harbor lies east of Marathon and north of Vaca Key. The crew of Mi Amante was very fortunate indeed to have escaped with only equipment damage.

    We were hit by lightning at Boot Key Harbor the night before Thanksgiving. Suffered a lot of electrical component damage but we lived. 1:30AM – ‘CRACK – BOOM!”. Our neighbor on her mooring ball saw the strike – “sparks everywhere at the top of your mast!”. We are fortunate…
    Mo s/v Mi Amante

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Marathon

  • Mooring Fees In Marathon, FL

    Marathon, FL – Click for Chartview

    The current rates for mooring are: $22 daily, $110 weekly and $300 monthly. For more information on pricing, go to: http://www.ci.marathon.fl.us/government/departments/marina-and-ports/pricing/

    What are the fees for mooring balls and anchoring in Marathon?
    Jim Upfold

    Jim, Dinghy dockage and mooring balls from the city rent for $22 per day, with lower rates for longer terms. Basically it costs as much to anchor as to moor, unless you don’t go ashore much. Anchoring itself is free, if you can find a spot in the small remaining area.
    John Kettlewell

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Marathon

  • Biodiesel Available at Burdines Waterfront Marina, Boot Key Harbor, Marthon, FL

    Burdines Waterfront Marina - Click for Chartview

    Burdines Waterfront Marina – Click for Chartview

    Burdine’s Waterfront Marina overlooks the Boot Key westerly approach channel’s northerly banks, just a quick hop east from Pancho’s Fuel Dock.

    Please make your cruiser’s aware that B100 biodiesel is available at Burdines in the Florida Keys. It is locally produced, not imported from Miami.
    Nancy Lillie
    Marathon BioDiesel, Inc
    305-522-9136
    888-842-9315 Fax

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Burdines Waterfront Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Burdine’s Waterfront Marina

  • More Navigation Advice on Marco Island to Marathon

    Captains Dave and Nan Fuller offer good advice and recommendations of routes and stops on the sail from Marco Island to Marathon, as originally posted on the AGLCA Forum, www.greatloop.org.

    We made this leg of our Loop in August 2013, and it was the roughest open water we have yet encountered, probably because we were on a deadline to get > to the Keys. Our Carrabelle to Tarpon Springs leg was glassy smooth as we were patient and waited nearly 3 weeks for a suitable weather window. I mostly used NOAA and Weather Underground for my weather forecasts from Ft. Myers to the Keys but did not make a go-no go decision based on weather as it was predicted to remain the same for several days and it was within my personal tolerance of seas 2-3 feet. We had wind from the northeast and east during the three day trip from Ft. Myers to Islamorada. Day one, we traveled from Ft. Myers to Marco where we met a close friend and his wife for dinner and then the next day we left Marco for the Little Shark River anchorage in the Everglades. Everyone told us to beware of bugs, but there was
    sufficient wind blowing day and night so they were almost zero problem in August. I was even able to grill out after dusk and only had a few horseflies to deal with. We highly recommend Little Shark River as an anchorage as it is well protected in every direction except southwest and if you go a little deeper up river, it offers protection in every wind direction. The trade-off will be the amount of bugs to deal with. After spending one night at anchor, we continued around the Cape and to the Keys. We have friends in Islamorada, so we did not go to Marathon by boat. We spent a few days in Islamorada and rented a car to go to Key West and be tourists.
    If I take this route again, I will stay further offshore going around the Cape. We basically followed the boundaries of Everglades National Park and went over so much shallow water that I finally shut off my depth alarm. We never hit bottom, but this is an area where shallow water is the rule and the charted depth pretty much matched what we experienced. Interestingly, the closer we came to shore, the bumpier it became and the further off shore, the smoother. This was with a 25 MPH east wind. We had constant 2 foot seas with occasional 3 and 4 footers. I think that the bottom profile is such that because of a slow slope, it gives the wave energy extra lift making for steeper waves and the deeper water makes them more of a roller profile. Normally, when you are behind a reef, you experience smoother water than on the windward side, but that was not the case here. Waves were on
    our port forward quarter resulting in nearly constant spraying and were more bothersome than uncomfortable. However, our dinghy came loose and was thrashing about on the davits and we just had to let it swing as it was not safe to go on our swim platform to secure it. It did some damage to the
    davit mounts and bracing that required repairs, but the dinghy sustained zero damage.
    I am not an expert on weather in this area, but my understanding is that typically the winds are out of the northeast (bad weather) or east (prevailing) or even southeast (best possible for this leg). I understand it is rare to have winds out of the west quadrants unless associated with a storm. We spoke to one skipper in Marco who had come from Key West the previous day and said they got beat up by 6 footers in the same wind conditions, but they took a much deeper water track than hugging the coast as we did. There is only one area you will need to watch with a well-marked channel marking the opening between two reefs. You make an S turn and it is very easy – no problems. As you approach the Keys, crab pots are EVERYWHERE and can only be described as a mine field, even in the middle of the marked channel. Keep a sharp lookout, go slow, and forget your depth alarm – it will be useless.
    If you follow Tom’s weather musings for the Big Bend crossing, he posts a disclaimer that his advice is dispensed based on a specific boat with its characteristics and his tolerance for risk which clearly falls on the conservative side. I share his risk philosophy of being conservative as this is supposed to be fun boating – not a race or a delivery captain mission. Each skipper is responsible for their own decisions after gathering all available data. You should make your decision based on your personal risk tolerance, your boat’s ability to handle different sea conditions, your level of competence and training, and your personal tolerance for what conditions you are willing to accept. Keep in mind that this leg is open water and is a LONG way from help if something goes wrong. VHF radio coverage is spotty in places, and cell phones simply won’t work as you go around the Everglades. I personally carry an EPIRB just in case the VHF or cell phone won’t summon help. You should be prepared to be self-sufficient for this leg or travel with a buddy boat.
    If you can be patient and are not on a specific timeline, you can pick a suitable weather window and have a non-memorable open water trip to the Keys.
    Dave & Nan Ellen Fuller

  • Hawk Channel Plagued with Crab Pots between Rodriguez Key and Marathon, FL

    In response to reports of numerous crab pots in the west side approach to Marathon (http://cruisersnet.net/?p=131869), Captain Lindberg’s remarks refer to 50 statute miles of the Hawk Channel between Rodriguez Key, just north of Key Largo at mile 1145, and Marathon at statute mile 1195.

    We just came back from sailing Fort Lauderdale to Boca Chica and back 12/23/13-1/3/14. The pots were so bad between Rodriguez Key and Marathon that we had to drop sails and motor. We had planned on putting out two fishing lines, however it was impossible with all the pots.
    Brenda Lindberg

    This was our experience as well during the week of January 6th, 2014.
    Be Aware and Careful !
    DeeDee Lisenby

  • Port of Entry Facility in Marathon, FL to be Completed by December, 2014

    Marathon, FL - Click for Chartview

    Captain Chuck Baier sends us a good news story from www.keysnews.com about design and construction that is beginning on a new customs clearing facility only two miles from Boot Key Harbor in Marathon. Currently, entering cruisers must travel over an hour by bus to Key West to clear customs.
    For the full story, go to
    http://keysnews.com/node/52783

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Marathon

  • Incredibly Generous Offer From SSECN Sponsor Key Lime Sailing Club to Support Mooring Field Challange in Federal Court

    Key Lime Sailing Club in Key Largo, 305-451-3438, www.keylimesailingclub.comIn response to a number of SSECN articles and editorials concerning the abuse of anchoring rights by official Florida mooring fields and in support of a lawsuit currently in Federal Court, SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Key Lime Sailing Club, is offering all cruisers up to a $100 credit at their facility, if you will contribute the same amount towards the legal expenses of the Federal court challenge to the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. All donations should be sent to Key Lime Sailing Club in Key Largo, FL (see below), NOT to SSECN. For more on the Federal Court challenge, go to http://cruisersnet.net/?p=129877.

    If you would like to donate $100 or more to this legal fight and get full credit of $100 toward a Vacation in the Tropical Florida Keys, that includes a cottage and a 22′ sailboat send a check to Key Lime Sailing Club & Cottages 101425 Overseas HWY #922 Key Largo Florida 33037 and in the memo put Anchoring Rights Fight. I will forward the funds raised and credit each Person back $100 to a future stay at Key Lime Sailing club & Cottages. Note: Credit is Limited to $100 but Please send more if you can. Lets keep our waters Free for us to “Roam about”.

    www.keylimesailingclub.com

  • Results of 12/18/13 Meeting At Boot Key Harbor Marina Between FWC Representatives, Marathon Local Government Leaders, and the Cruising Coummunity

     It is now the morning of 12/19/13, and we have already been on the telephone with “Katrina,” Administrative Assistant for the Boot Key City Harbormaster, and have learned that a meeting did indeed take place last evening, at Boot Key Harbor City Marina with representatives of the FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Service), local Marathon, Florida governmental officials, and a host of cruisers. If you have been following this situation both here on the SSECN, and/or on the Cruisers’ Forum (see both http://cruisersnet.net/?p=129366 and http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f57/civil-rights-attorney-needed-marathon-fl-116693-11.html), you know that a HOST of cruisers have lodged serious complaints and questions about “heavy handed” actions on the part of FWC officers in boarding and inspecting vessels both at anchor, and on the city provided mooring balls, in Boot Key Harbor.
    The Marathon local government became integrally involved in this matter following a very substantial cruising community presence at the last city council meeting. Unfortunately, the on-line minutes of this meeting are not yet available, but we are told the city government expressed serious concern about the actions of the FWC, and it apparently became quite clear that local government was very much an ally of the entire cruising community in this matter.
    One of the prime movers in this entire affair has been the captain of the sailing vessel, “Thin Line.” Late in the day on 12/19/13, the master of this vessel posted a note on Cruisers’ Forum, which we have reprinted below! It makes for very interesting reading, and provides what is probably the BEST summary of the 12/18/12 meeting!
    Back to the timeline, the result of all this early interaction was that a meeting was arranged for the evening of 12/18/13 to bring together all interested and concerned parties. As alluded to above, this meeting was indeed held, and, thanks to our conversation with “Katrina,” we are able to provide a summary of what took place.
    We interviewed “Katrina” on the morning of 12/19/13 at some length about this important gathering, and were told that the meeting encompassed better than three hours, and provided a forum for many cruisers to voice their concerns to Captain David Dipre, lead FWC representative, who “chaired” the meeting. We were told the give and take between cruisers and the FWC “went fairly well,” and many “left with a positive note.”
    Captain Dipre suggested that all cruisers and boat owners who experience future problems with FWC officers, contact him directly at 305-289-2320. He and his fellows also brought along books of Florida boating regulations which were distributed at the meeting, and it was discussed which regs applied to the situation in Boot Key Harbor.
    And now, we will leave our reporting mode, and enter into some editorial comments. ALL CRUISERS AND LOCAL BOAT OWNERS WHO BROUGHT THIS SITUATION TO THE FORE, AND SHONE A SPOTLIGHT ON THE ACTIONS OF THE FWC, HAVE DONE A GREAT SERVICE FOR THE CRUISING COMMUNITY! With this much attention being paid, it’s a very safe bet that FWC officers operating in Boot Key Harbor will be very mindful of courtesy and their own conduct regulations for some time to come!
    It is the editorial opinion of the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net that Boot Key Harbor is once again, and will most likely remain so for some time to come, a welcoming place for both resident and visiting cruisers. And, that’s a very good thing indeed, as Boot Key Harbor is the finest and most protected natural anchorage in all of the Florida Keys.
    Be ASSURED that the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net will continue to monitor this situation closely. Let’s all hope the meeting of 12/18/13 closes this unfortunate chapter which has blemished an otherwise sterling cruising destination in the Florida Keys. Please let us know about your experiences in BKH by sending e-mail to Contact@CruisersNet.net, or following the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below!

    And now, PLEASE READ THESE IMPORTANT WORDS FROM THE CAPTAIN OF THE “THIN LINE:”

    Sorry I haven’t been able to respond until now, our harbor internet is being worked on so I couldn’t write last night and I had to work today.
    Last nights meeting was well attended, both by boaters, the FWC, and other interested parties. There were 2 FWC Capt’s, and 1 officer, 4 USCG, as well as the Mayor and several city council members. While the discussion was at times heated and several times seemed to derail and go off track, overall there was much good discussion. What I find interesting is the varying opinions of the way the meeting turned out. I personally think the meeting accomplished everything we set out to do. We,,

    1. Brought attention to the problem.
    2. They acknowledged our voice by having the meeting, and by those who attended.
    3. They were in PR mode and attempted to put a human face on the FWC, Capt Dupree represented them well.
    4. The FWC acknowledged there were problems with some laws and they are working on getting them resolved.
    5. Cleared up some rumors that were blown way out of proportion.
    6. We were able to establish that almost, if not all, of the questionable interactions were from 1 particular officer. (training issue)
    7. Capt Dupree stated that his officers are being instructed to show greater discretion and more respect for the boaters in Boot Key.
    8. Both Capt’s have instituted an open door policy, as well as gave out personal numbers to discuss issues as they happen instead of letting it come to a head.
    9. Agreed we need to keep this open dialogue and should have a town hall type meeting a couple times per year.

    Sure, some of the people that attended wanted a full blown apology, with FWC admitting they did something wrong and groveling, obviously that was not going to happen. They do have to maintain the integrity of the field officers (even if they were wrong) however the general impression I got was they were there to repair the relationship. The Mayor and the city showed a huge amount of support and validation for us as boaters and wanted to make sure this was resolved. Overall the people that attended were well behaved, well mannered and even though a few wanted to bring pitchforks and torches, they checked them at the door. Most importantly my kids were there from start to finish, they got to see how people can rally together and change things. It was also another example of always standing up for what is right, even if it’s not directly affecting you right now, it could have eventually and it was just plain wrong. Everyone stood together, we made our voice heard and to me, that means we won this battle.
    Thank you to everyone for your support, your phone calls and your kind words, they helped tremendously! For those of you that were going to skip Boot Key, don’t, you’ll be missing out on a strong community of amazing people I’m proud to call friends.
    *_The following is what I said at the meeting when I was asked to speak. I hope I represented the harbor well and I tried to walk a “thin line” between being an upset boater/member of this community, and being a city employee. _*

    *We are here tonight to raise questions, questions we as boaters need answers to. Hopefully tonight we will all leave here a little wiser and with far less anxiety. The FWC’s presence in the harbor starting on Thanksgiving day was overwhelming to say the least. Nightly spotlighting, and late night boarding of vessels without cause brought a sense of fear into Boot Key Harbor. This is a family community of live aboard boaters, these are our homes. I also know that FOR NOW… these are not offered the same protection, but they should be offered respect. A little bit of tact on the part of the FWC officers in question and we might not be here tonight.
    Capt Dupree you said something the other day that stuck with me, it’s something I think might have prevented the entire situation in the harbor if those officers here would have followed your advice. “Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should” Just because you can board a vessel at 11pm, waking a family, scaring the children AND the parents out of sleep and into a state of disorientation, doesn’t mean you should. Using discretion and a little bit of tact, goes a long way with the public, just as the decision of your officers went a long way in creating this negative situation. Their actions have reached far beyond the mangroves of Boot Key Harbor. There are articles nationwide in magazines, internet and other media, and the city marina is fielding calls daily from all over the country about this situation. On cruisers forum alone there are over 15k views and word is spreading fast. We all await the outcome of this meeting. Many people have decided to skip Boot Key until this is resolved. This lost revenue creates a ripple effect that also reaches far and beyond the harbor. Cruisers bring money, dispensable income that infuses the economy here in Marathon. These businesses also have an interest in the outcome of this meeting.
    I understand after talking with you, several of these citations were warranted. Many times the one ticket written was the least of the many infractions the individual could have gotten. Other times the citations have been odd, if not just plain bizarre. Writing tickets for things nobody has ever heard of, again, “Just because they can”. Capt Dupree, what we want is consistent interactions and for you to pass this message to your officers in the field. We are not going to live in fear, we will not put up with heavy handed officers, and we WILL call into question at the highest levels, the necessity of actions such as nightly spotlighting and shining into my 8 year old daughters bedroom window. How many nights in a row do you have to “check my registration”? Capt Dupree we welcome the dialogue and the help in returning Boot Key Harbor to the way it was before Thanksgiving. Respect is not something that comes with a gun and a badge, fear does not earn it and it is not blindly given. When it is not given to us we question that authority, so tonight lets try and repair what has been damaged and show each other mutual respect.. Thank you. *

    What was the reason for the heavy handed and (in my view) illegal police activity?
    Captain Mike Wright

    Captain Wright wrote, “What was the reason for the heavy handed and (in my view) illegal police activity?”
    Captain Wright,
    1. What was the answer you received from FWC?
    2. What do you expect to change as a result of the meeting?
    Thanks
    Jim

    My good friend Walt Avery has retired from his career as a marine biologist working in Tampa Bay on seagrass restoration to live aboard his lovingly restores Pearson 39. He is a waterman with as good a knowledge of the rules and regulations as any one I know but he is now fighting a jack-booted FWC in Marathon’s Boot Key Harbor.
    He relates the story of a family with children rousted in the middle of the night for inspection.

    I don’t know how aware you or those in the Marine Industries Association are of what is going on but he reports that FWC is running off law abiding yachtsmen with enforcement of obscure regulations (like needing a 12-volt system on your dingy to maintain a yellow over white light over the long winter night.)
    Law abiding yachtsmen are facing criminal prosecution for bizarre laws.
    The restaurants are losing customers who don’t want to get caught taking their dingies back to their boats after dark without full lighting, not just a motoring light.
    Boot Key Harbor, which generally has a waiting list this time of year has a 20% vacancy due to FWC tactics including late night inspections and demands that out of state yachtsmen from states that don’t require registration of documented vessels must now register their boats in Florida if they stay longer than 60 days. Think of having to pay sales tax on your yacht’s value if you want to come and spend money in Florida.
    I want to spread the word. Our marinas could be next.
    Merry Christmas,
    Kevin

    Actions speak louder than words. Hopefully, the meeting will help the situation. But don’t get your hopes up. This has been going on for decades in Boot Key Harbor. I was there in 1988, when they did a joint operation with the Florida Marine Patrol, Monroe County Sheriffs, Customs and immigration, and the FWC.They sealed the harbor on both ends,and using a bullhorn, ordered everyone to return to their boats and standby for boarding. They then spent the entire day boarding boats and writing frivolous citations. I believe Capt Dipre is the same guy who was some kind of spokesman for the FWC at the time. He went on the local radio station and basically said they planned to keep on doing it. Boot key Harbor has been the subject of harassment for decades, with occasional periods of relative calm, followed by more harassment.
    Also see the Sept 2007 issue of southwinds, and scroll down to the “letters”, where this then “officer” Dipre is mentioned, regarding another raid. It appears he is probably behind most of the harassment, but seems to be softening his image a bit at the recent meeting.
    http://www.southwindssailing.com/pdfs-issues/southwindsseptember2007.pdf
    This Dipre guy has been defending his cops for the past 25 years, with any relief being short lived!
    Scott Kuhnen

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Marathon, Florida’s Boot Key Harbor

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Boot Key Harbor City Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Boot Key Harbor City Marina

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