|FYI — June 2003|
|By Brad Dunn|
In March unidentified vandals took a chainsaw to seven manatee-zone signs in the Indian River Lagoon near Melbourne. All that remained of the large, wood postings, which had just been constructed, were pairs of pilings that dangerously poked out into the waterway. The vandals let the decapitated signs float away, posing yet another nautical danger; at presstime only one had been found. U.S. Coast Guard patrols placed buoys around the amputated pilings that they had discovered and combed the area for others.
Dave Roach, executive director of the Florida Inland Navigation District in Jupiter, says the billboards will costs about $2,500 to replace. "Typically, vandalism on our signs takes the shape of some spray paint," he explains, according to Florida Today. "This individual is creating a public safety hazard to his fellow boaters."
Apparently the vandals took issue with a recent court ruling that upheld the state's policy of manatee slow-zones, after a group of boaters challenged it last year. The zones were established by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission in May 2001. About 500 were installed at the beginning of the year in the Indian River Lagoon and Banana River to indicate the swaths of protected water, each of which ranges from about 500 to 1,000 feet wide.
Even the state boaters' rights group Standing Watch decried the act, issuing a statement that read, "We will not condone vigilante or commando tactics that endanger the lives of innocent members of our boating community."
The Brevard County Sheriff's Office viewed the incident as neither a prank nor a political statement, but as a possibly fatal crime. Police are offering a $1,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest and threaten to impose felony charges on the culprits.
"If it kills somebody," says Deputy Jim Troup, "then we're looking at manslaughter."
Aquamajestic has merged the best design elements from road and water and created a truly different boat. It has a convertible top you can lower with a handheld remote, as Pike is doing here. So roll down the top and windows, crank up the stereo, and cruise the Intracoastal like it was Route 66.
Look for Pike's test of the Aquamajestic 27 in an upcoming issue of PMY.
This article originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.