If you’re going to Key West, make sure you check your chart before you drop anchor. The Navy just cracked down on boats anchored in restricted waters there, issuing citation to 37 vessels, including some that were being used as vacation rentals.
The problem was that the boats were anchored in restricted areas around the Naval Air Station in Key West. The Navy wanted to clear them out of potentially dangerous areas near bunkers on Fleming Key that store explosive materials. Fleming Key is connected to Key West by a short bridge and is just across Garrison Bight from the Naval Air Station.
Naval Air Station Key West Security Forces issued the citations in conjunction with the Coast Guard, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Key West Police Department and Naval Criminal Investigation Service. Boat owners face a $250 fine for the first violation. The restricted areas have been marked on charts since 1989.
Capt. Bobby Baker, commanding officer of the Naval Air Station, told the Miami Herald that the Navy has continually warned boaters about anchoring in the restricted areas, “and we’ve had some success in compliance without issuing tickets. But some boaters have chosen to stay anchored where they shouldn’t be.”
“Today we focused on Fleming Key,” Capt. Baker said, “but the public should be aware that we have restricted areas around much of the base and we encourage boaters to make sure they’re aware of their surroundings.” Read more: