Without beaches to go to, Miami’s waterways packed with boats

Miami Beach Police Marine Patrol out in force this Memorial Day weekend

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach on Memorial Day weekend is usually filled with tourists and residents walking the streets and going to the beach, but with Miami-Dade County’s beaches closed until June 1, the water surrounding the coastal city is filled with fun seekers.

That’s why Miami Beach Police Marine Patrol is out in full force on the water.

Many of the people here are locals who have been unable and, in some cases, unwilling to go out in public. But Saturday, two months into the pandemic, they feel it is time.

“You gotta take what you can get. If you have a boat, the water is amazing " Miami resident Lola Rubeinstein said. "Everyone is about and about; it's like back to life again.

The charter boat business is booming, too, primarily because people on the mainland can get out on the water.

“People don’t have a lot of places to go, so they resort to coming out on the water," Javier Fernandez, an officer with Miami Beach Police Marine Patrol, said.

The marine police patrol have been busy keeping an eye on yachts, boats, personal watercraft users, even kayakers, all mingling in the same open space. On the water, social distancing rules apply here, too.

Officers here know it just takes one mistake and a short second for something to get off track.

“We’re looking for vessels that are rafting together. We’re looking for vessels that are exceeding the capacity that are set forth by those rules and, apart from that, we’re doing our regular marine patrol duties which include enforcing speed violations.”

They said they haven't had many problems yet on the water.

On land Saturday, however, three people were arrested for being out on the closed beach. They were protesting the delay in opening and ignored officers warnings.

About the Authors:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.

Michelle F. Solomon is a multi-platform producer/reporter for Local10 and is the podcast producer/reporter/host of the station's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and producer of Local10.com's DigiShorts.