Boaters need to respect the rights of bayside Islamorada residents

July 9, 2014 

Pleasure boats seemingly go on forever off private property at Lower Matecumbe Key in July 4.


The problem of a party beach in a quiet residential area really hits home when it is your own home that is in that quiet residential area.

July 4 weekend, for example, there were more than 100 boats and at least 500 people on this half mile of beach, boats as far as the eye could see. The music was not quite as loud as on previous weekends, probably due to the Sheriff's Office boat that cruised up and down the beach once in a while. Despite "private property" signs, two guys and their dog from one of the boats sat on my dock until I informed them that they were trespassing on private property, although they already knew that.

The weekend before, a large commercial boat drifted off anchor and was pushed by storm winds up on the sandbar off my house. It almost took out my dock and then plowed a trench more than over 40 feet long, 2 feet deep in some areas in the grass flat as it pulled and pushed itself off ground and out of the shallow waters. The grass flats just off the half-mile long sandbar are carved with prop scars and the sandbar is enlarging as a result of the damage to the grass beds.

This party beach is very stressful to residents and even property values may be affected. The joint jurisdiction over this area by the state of Florida, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the village of Islamorada makes it difficult to find a solution that is acceptable. There is also some public opposition to any containment of the situation.

There is a kernel of anarchy in a free society. It comes with freedom that has disdain for the rights and property of others, including public property. Without reasonable control and the force of law, the inalienable rights of all are lost.

The freedoms we revere, protect, die for and celebrate on July 4 includes the right to protect one's own property, and to request that the government that collects our taxes care, serve and respond to threats against public and private property. We understand that this is sometimes complex and difficult, and that the village of Islamorada is working on it, but the property owners on Lower Matecumbe Key are growing very weary of the party beach situation that invades our privacy and impacts our environment with increasing frequency.

Martin Moe


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