Local law enforcement agencies are converging on the Middle Keys’ biggest anchorage to enforce sanitation and safety laws. KEYS WEEKLY FILE PHOTO

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay announced Monday that his office — working closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard — has begun an operation in Boot Key Harbor in Marathon aimed at improving safety and sanitation as well as enforcement of the laws relative to public safety.

Residents and liveaboards of Boot Key Harbor will notice a dramatic increase in law enforcement on the water by all three agencies as they establish a constant presence there and in the immediate area.

They will be looking for derelict vessels, safety violations, illegal sanitation discharges as well as any illegal activity, including but not limited to littering and drug sales.

The sheriff’s office and its partners will be looking for compliance, but those who do not resolve any issues could face fines or arrest.  

“I know that many liveaboards in this community are good people who are following the rules and the law,” said Ramsay. “Nonetheless, the residents of Monroe County and the sheriff’s office will not tolerate overt lawlessness on or off the water. I want to thank those mariners who do follow the law. I appreciate their partnerships just as much as those of other law enforcement agencies such as the FWC and U.S. Coast Guard.”

If you live on the water in Boot Key Harbor and the surrounding area: Now is a good time to make sure you’re properly pumping out your waste, your safety gear is up to date, your registration is paid and all the other things required for legal living on the water. It’s also a good time to pay any citations or fines you may have and resolve any warrants.

The operation is expected to continue into November.

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