Illegal Jet Ski Operations in South Florida

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Video obtained by NBC 6 shows what residents along Biscayne Bay say is happening on an island not far from downtown Miami. The images show the huge mess left behind from parties the residents claim are aided by illegal jet ski operators.

The residents exclusively told us they fear the situation with the noise, crowds, and danger to those renting from what they say are illegal operators will get worse between now and the parties New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Biscayne Bay condo resident Eric Cormouls-Houles says, “ Every time you have a holiday weekend, the crowd multiplies.” He also stated, “we had called the police. It seems like it takes them a very long time to get to the island to try and sort things out. “

The residents in the condo building at 22nd Street and Biscayne Bay say their doorstep has turned into a location where jet ski operators who don’t have the legal clearance to do so, are renting jet skis to partygoers who head over to Pace Picnic Park. Dominique Bailleu, who lives in the high rise condo here, told us,

“What happens here on the street it’s pretty simple. It’s like a taxi station to go to the island. So people are coming in with two jet skis—one driver—one empty jet ski. They load up people who are paying their fee to go up on the island.” He also says, “No it’s not a legitimate business activity.”

The island is located between the MacArthur Causeway and the Julia Tuttle Causeway to the north. It’s less than a mile from the shore. Several months ago we showed you how police were cracking down on those renting jet skis without the proper credentials. Tragically, two tourists were killed including 32-year-old Sabrina Daniels. Her mother told us those renting the jet skis broke the rules. Angela Hester spoke to us in August and stated, “ My daughter would be alive today if the procedures were followed properly.”

The City of Miami told illegal operators to knock it off. A letter went out stating, “ if you are currently operating without permission and have not yet ceased operations….you are instructed to immediately cease.” But the residents tell us that hasn’t happened. “ We have seen an increase in disruption—noise,” Eric says.

And now there’s another nuisance for those living here. Dominique says drones are flying from the island over to their building. “ I opened the blinds and there is a drone right basically three feet from the window inside the space of the balcony,” he says.

We reached out to Miami Dade Police, police in the City of Miami, and Miami City Hall. The city sent us a statement saying,” Pace Picnic Island is within the jurisdictional boundaries of the City of Miami. However, weekly custodial maintenance is handled by a county vendor.

The Miami Police Department’s Marine Patrol has scheduled enforcement there this weekend and will continue those operations beyond the holidays. The Miami PD will be coordinating with other Marine Law Enforcement agencies from neighboring jurisdictions to address enforcement issues in the area.”

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