About 60 liveaboard cruisers turned the cleanup of Boot Key Harbor into a game. While collecting 30 tons of trash — yes, 30 tons — they played a spirited game of scavenger hunt. Twelve teams competed to see who could find the “grossest” piece of trash, nominated the most valuable team member, and took before-and-after “selfies” after five hours doing a very dirty job.

“They filled a 20-yard dumpster and then some,” said City Marina’s Katrina Spelker.

The recent cleanup was organized by Hilary and Charles Badoian, five-year residents of Marathon. (Charles also serves on the city’s Near Shore Water Committee.)

The dozen teams combed the harbor under the direction of Charles who helped coordinate efforts in places that needed it most. They were aided in their quest by downloading the Goose Chase app for their smartphones. The teams were able to broadcast their own progress — first beer can found! — and keep up with other teams’ race for the finish. The affair ended with a barbecue and awards ceremony.

Hilary said the crew used a variety of skiffs, kayaks and bigger workboats to clean up the mangroves. In one instance, a half-sunken skiff was refloated to serve as a garbage barge and towed back to shore, brimming with yucky junk.

“What’s odd is that we found many old televisions,” Hilary said. “And that’s not something a liveaboard boater would normally have.”

The residents of Boot Key Harbor strive to hold one such clean up every year.


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