WAvNA residents attended this meeting because we asked that derelict boat problem In Biscayne Bay be placed on the agenda.

Subject: Summary of Meeting of the City of Miami Beach Marine and Waterfront Protection Authority (MWPA), March 9th, 9AM

Attendees: BMC: Gayle Durham, Tim Carr, Amy Litos, Arianna Aguero.  WAvNA Board: Shawn Bryant, Tim Carr.

Summary by Amy Litos and Arianna Aguero

  • The WAvNA Baywalk and Mooring Field Committee (BMC) was introduced to the meeting participants. 
  • Captain Steven Feldman, City of Miami Beach Police Department, gave a police report regarding Area 1 to 4. Area 1 covers South Point to Dade Blvd (excluding Venetian and Belle Isle).
  • Member Ben Mostkoff- MWPA Board Member led the discussion regarding our concerns. Pictures provided by WAvNA of derelict boats were reviewed and discussed, including a sailboat being used as overnight jet ski storage for an operator doing business in Miami, not Miami Beach.
  • During Marine Patrol discussion by Sgt. Sanchez, City of Miami Beach Police Marine Patrol, we learned that the Coast Guard is not yet working with our police on citing boats in the bay for violations. However, the city has not reached out to the Coast Guard yet about help with derelict boats. The city is bidding out removal of each derelict boat. It takes a few hours to collect responses from 3 companies. Recently it cost the city $7,000 to remove a single boat. The owner was in Europe unable to return due to Covid and left his boat in the bay next to Lincoln Rd. The boat was removed, but there is a supreme court case that challenges certain authorities from removal of property in this manner. (the city’s annual budget to rectify boating police issues is only $60,000)
  • Because some boats have changed hands and have not been properly registered, the police have noted that fines are not getting to the appropriate persons.
  • Miami beach police marine patrol is not open 24/7 but recently they did extend their hours from 10am to 11pm. (Fri-Sat-Sun) There are 2 officers on boats.
  • The number of illegal charters is astonishing. Last weekend the City, with help from Coast Guard, gave 33 citations. 16 for covid violations plus a few noise violations.
  • These agencies are all working to monitor Biscayne Bay violations: Miami Beach Police Marine Patrol, Coast Guard, DERM, and FWC – Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
  • The city is pushing to close Monument Island, a historical landmark, on a permanent basis. It is now closed due to covid. The City is suggesting to surround it with rocks and an additional net for a collared effect. The Board passed a motion to amend a letter to the Commission (LTC) to recommend keeping Monument Island closed, except for official city vessel (or possibly educational purposes) and add a non-motorized zone for the island and immediate surrounding waters. (Sgt. Sanchez is in favor, stating that there is little to no benefit to keeping it open.)
  • During Covid beach closings, the Julia Tuttle became a de facto beach. FDOT-Florida Department of Transportation- has been alerted and some enforcement has been done by FHP – Florida Highway Patrol. Captain Feldman will reach out again and follow up next month.
  • Moving forward on an as-needed temporary basis, Sgt. Sanchez will manually collect and report specific statistics regarding citation information for derelict boats.
  • According to Code Compliance, there is an officer 24/7 at Miami Beach Marina and since February there have been 54 violations. 49 violations (two per charter) were specific to South Beach illegal charters.  
  • WAvNA board member, Tim Carr, was nominated by Commissioner Mark Samuelian for the MWPA board. He will replace Dr. Sunshine whose resignation was announced at today’s board meeting.

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