Sandbar rules go to County
By David Goodhue [email protected]
Posted-Friday, February 23, 2007 6:51 PM EST
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Party spot called an ‘embarrassment'
The free-for-all party on the Whale Harbor Channel Sandbar, which has recently gained national attention, including on television police reality shows, may soon get toned down.
The five-member Islamorada Village Council unanimously approved an advisory panel's recommendations that will affect revelers on popular party weekends at the sandbar. The recommendations have the support of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Coast Guard and the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said Monroe County Sheriff's Office Capt. Joe Leiter, at a Feb. 22 Village Council meeting.
On busy weekends, such as the July 4 weekend, Memorial Day and the Hospitality Expo in May, the new rules would ban boats longer than 26 feet from anchoring on the sandbar during peak times. Leiter said boats this size tend to have cabins that make it difficult to see what's going on inside and determining how many people are onboard.
The panel also recommended no more than three vessels be allowed to raft together on the sandbar. This will make it easier for marine law enforcement officers to maneuver between vessels and control situations without officers leaving the safety of their vessels, Leiter said.
The Near Shores Water Citizens Support Committee has been working on these recommendations for six years, said member Bay Neal. The kind of events on the sandbar and the attention they receive lately have become somewhat of an embarrassment to the Upper Keys, Leiter said, and have consumed too many law enforcement resources.
Last year's Hospitality Expo was the largest marine law enforcement operation in the Keys, Leiter said. “If you had a cop on a boat, he was probably in Whale Harbor Channel,” he said. This left many other areas of the Keys “unprotected and unpatrolled,” said Leiter.
The sandbar is outside of the Village of Islamorada's city limits, so the recommendations must be voted on by the Monroe County Commission before becoming law, Leiter said.
That is a ridiculous idea. Banning over 26' boats or rafts greater than 3 boats won't do anything to control the crowds or the partying. Here's yet another example of stupid legislation simply for the sake of doing something about a problem. Then the officials can sit around and pat themselves on the back, while nothing changes.
You Cant Have A Good Time Anymore ,,,,,,
Man when PC reaches the Keys and falls on the side against a good party, the world is truly a f@#$ed up place
Chesapeake Bay Powerboat Association
Maybe this will cause my 25' Outlaw (with cabin) to appreciate in value
I am still safe with my 29' Fountain.
The Cafe' is for SOLD!!!!
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