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Brevard Law enforcement "Direct Effort" aimed at a

Daddy Dave

Well-known member

On March 26, Officer Jack Martin and Lieutenant Randy Bowlin conducted a boating safety and boating under the influence detail on the St. Johns River. Other officers involved in the detail were Pat McEnroe, Jason Cory, Herb Frerking, Guy Carpenter II, Greg Shuler, Robert Miller, William Lowry, Vann Streety, Loren Lowers, Jay Eddy, Bryan Lee, and Lieutenants David Lee, Steve Thomas, George Waldeck (Pilot), and Robert Jefferson. Also assisting in the detail were Investigators Paul Graham and Camille Soverel. The BUI trailer was on scene and was utilized for the special detail. Five arrests were made for boating under the influence, along with five arrests for reckless operation, one arrest for felony attempt to flee and elude, and two narcotics arrests. Approximately 147 vessels were inspected, and 321 users were checked, resulting in numerous citations being issued for various boating safety and resource violations, along with 36 written warnings.
and we are all much safer now that our numbers are properly spaced and our life jackets have no pin holes in them. If they woulda just stuck with real violations they might have had time to get some more drunk drivers or drug users off the water but while harrassing over number spacing some of them got away or didnt even get checked.
I'm going to play devil's advocate here....if the law enforcement in question here would have been actively going after drug users and dui's and whatnot, people still would have been inconvienenced and pissed off. The bottom line is if your hull numbers aren't spaced correctly- your wrong. If you've been drinking too much and you fire up your boat and take off-your wrong. None of us are perfect, I certainly am not but if we are going to improve our image as a community we need to step up and police ourselves and support law enforcement. Now if they cross the line and illegally harass us their wrong but if they didn't have anything to look for they would stop. If BIGDADDY's post is correct, there were some of us who were wrong. The army has taught me one lesson real good...if your wrong admit, fix the problem, and drive on with the mission.
they should be protecting our borders for illegals, drugs,muslim murders and of course girls in g-strings yep they are illegal too instead of trying to protect us from ourselves who else would we hurt out there!!! from what i have seen if you do something stupid you get a face full of mud & loose a few plug wires or teeth!! they should be protecting real AMERICANS not attacking them !!!
Ya know, its hearing the stuff like this that makes me not come south. I like it just fine up here in Lake Cnty. I know theres alot of good runnin down there but crap like that is bad news. You could be as legal as can be and they would find sumthin to get you on. Can't afford that.
BlackPowderScout makes a strong point. As a person who makes his living on the water every day, I see law enforcement quite often. Hull registration numbering is a key opportunity for them to stop a boater and look further. With airboats, open exhaust is another. Seen plenty of PFDs ticketed for a slight tear - usually the result of a fractured boater attitude. Same with the fire extinguisher needle indicator.

Each of us has the responsibility to run legal. Like it or not, BUI is a leading cause in all boat accidents. I'm guilty sometimes, myself.

As I see their numbers, the BUI infraction was less than 10% of all contacts that day. That's too high, but, probably in line with any concentrated affort at any weekend recreational activity where crowds gather.

Not sure if this was the case last week, but, just after the recent FAA gathering over there, a Southernairboat.com forum member was discussing mufflers with some who had not participated in the FAA trailride and the forum member was blasted for even suggesting mufflers.

Wondering if this was a case of the outer 10% bringing wrath upon the rest of our brother / sisterhood?
Big Daddy - I wondered about that as well. The 10% getting things focused on the larger group and all pay. All it takes is one to get the law's radar zeroed in, then typically all around are getting looked over hard.

Louisiana and Texas were fairly relaxed about beer on the beaches at times, when I look back 15 years or so. But I can remember more that one occasion where one fellow would boast loudly "What you looking at" as the law drove by. Hmmm, the girls in bikinis, the crowd of people drinking, the two or three staggering drunk, any of the three would work. Heck, with the pictures ya'll post, if I was the law I would be visiting every boat just to get a better look at the rigs, some of them are mighty sweet.

But typically after one loud mouth, the group would be getting checked by the law. Then the DUI, Public Intoxication, underage drinking, underage driving, etc. tickets got passed out. Weekend ruined by just one or two.

We know they are going to be checking so spend the first weekend of the spring getting everything in order. Look at those fire extinguishers, believe me, you don't want one not working when you need it. Life Jackets, check them over, your like may count on them one day. Heck a case of beer or a vest is about the same cost. And the jacket should last three years (even two under bad situations). Then numbers spacing are chicken ****, but it is like an inspection sticker on a car. If it is expired, then most law say there will additional violations in lots of cases.

Not saying they were not out of line, sounds like they might have been. But I promise, if they hit several functions and not one BUI was written, a few phone calls about the waste of manpower and salary writting tickets for holes in life jackets would end their visits. However, one BUI per function and their bosses say good job protecting the innocent boaters out there.
Five BUI out of 147 Vessels checked. Very small percentage.

My bet, once again, is worse results would occur with any other such "concentrated" law enfircement effort directed at any othe public gathering.

Guess I missed one heck of an airboat party. Wish I had been there.

Manual and auto inflate PFDs are available from KRVSA at very attractive pricing. Join KRVSA and the price is even better. Probably a pretty good warning for all Florida airboaters - be prepared or pay the price.
Comments from a Brevard Airboat Club Officer - one who hosted top FFWCC Leadership at the January FAA meeting at the Brevard airboat Clubhouse.......

Regarding your E-mail about the FWC conducting a boater Safety and BUI detail, on the St. Johns River.
FWC May have told you that it was a boater saftey and BUI Detail, but if you talk to the people that were there you might get another definition.

1. 19 Officers worked this detail and You forgot to mention the Helicopter.

2. 2 officers were there under cover. Watching and walking through the crowd.

3. The area were this took place is on public land only accessible by boat. (Unless you have permission from the surrounding property owner or SJWMD.) This leaves two exits. NORTH or SOUTH. North you have 2 public boat ramps before you get to 520. There are some homes on the lake with private ramps, and its idle zone only. South River Has only 2 public access and numerous private.

My thought on this issue:

Last year the New FWC Officers (This area was changed to TYPE 1 Management area a couple of years ago) started to sit at various boat ramps to check Air Boaters coming home. This usually happened on Thursdays, always with the assistance of the BUI trailer.
The FWC found out that all these Air Boaters were going to congregate on Easter Weekend and race their airboats! They targeted this group of people while assembeled at this location. They used undercover officers and the Helicopter for survalence. The Other officers were waiting near by to rush in and make arrest. FWC set out to stop and check every Airboat. AND THEY DID! Issuing tickets
FWC ruined a enjoyable holiday weekend for a lot of airboaters.
FWC Lt Randy Bowlin and officer Jack Martin did a poor job. The planning of this operation included the use of expensive equipment and countless overtime for officers on a holiday weekend. It also did not take into account that not eveybody is guilty.
I attended this event. I arrived to see a helicoptor circling the event and a FWC officer stopping another boat. It was intimidating to say the least. On my way home, I was stopped in the middle of the lake and received a "warning" notice that said "in compliance."
I honestly beleive the FWC could have done a better job. Our Law enforcement is for the people. We are not all guilty just because we operate a airboat!!
rick do you have a fax # I have all of the info for the state represenatives ,FWC and the sheriff jack parker. I also have a sample letter addressing this situation that needs to be posted I just do not have the time to do it maybe you could post a link in word so we could change the name of the person sending it and ad their take one the race at toho so we could all respond before it gets cold and they do it again :( stop the fl wildlife costopo campaign against airboaters I will PM my cell phone # to you
You Guys I can't believe you have not figured it out yet,you are dealing withe a loaded deck the very people that are giving you such a hard time about Airboating and the Southern way are all so the the very one's wearing the Badge over 90 percent of the Law Enforcement officers I know in Florida are from the very States that the folks that are giving you a hard time are from they all got tired of the policing in the cold and they moved to Florida and even though they are my friends and Brothers in Law Enforcement they just don't understand the Southern way and I just have to just shake my head at some of the things they do and the calls they make and even though I do not have all the facts on what conspired at the Races on Saturday I was there and the actions I whitnessed by the FWC was embarassing to me as a Law Enforcment officer and BigDaddy that was good advice and the very same advice I gave Thunder make some calls and file a formal complaint and a few of you asked why the Sheriff's office let this happen well it is because State Officers have authority over them.I hope this will help you understand what is going on.
Yes and your Address so I can send you the prints I made for you and if you need a Law Enforcement officer that was there and was a whittness to some of this count me in you can refer these politicians to me and I will be glad to talk to them.
The FWC commissioners are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Florida senate. The commission was totally reorganized in July of last year. For more detail read this:


Here is a list of the commissioners including their biographies:


Here is their site home page:


Since the seven commissioners are politically connected to the Governor and not elected, a strategy needs to be developed to deal with the complaint. I would guess that dealing with your senator or directly with the Governor, any of you have ideas?

I have a copy of an email that was sent to FL Rep. Mitch Needelman ( mitch.needelman@myfloridahouse.gov ). I've contacted the person that wrote if for permission to post it here. I think it was pretty effective about getting a response because the same message was also forwarded to Major Andy Love from the "FWC" ( Andy.love@MyFWC.com ), as well as the Brevard County Sheriff's Office ( jack.parker@brevardsheriffsoffice.org ). Everyone that got the email also saw the email address of everyone else that got it.

The response from Mitch Needelman's Legislative Assistance (Bill Johnson) thanked him and stated that he would talk to FWC about the matter. It also stated "feel free to contact me in our Tallahassee Office".

The response from Andy Love stated that there had been other complaints referencing that particular "Boating Safety Detail". He stated that others had told him about multiple checks and the feeling of being harassed or targeted. He also stated that he has been in contact with the supervisor in charge of the detail and was accessing the enforcement method used.

Here's some contact information for those wanting to get involved:

State Representative Mitch Needelman
District Office:
Suite A
1565 Sarno Road
Melbourne, FL 32935
Phone: (321) 984-4848
Email: mitch.needelman@myfloridahouse.gov

State Representative Thad Altman
District Office:
Suntree Station
7025 N. Wickham Road, Suite 108
Melbourne, FL 32940-7503
Phone: (321) 752-3138
Email: thad.altman@myfloridahouse.gov

Game and Freshwater Fish Commission
Lt. Martin 1-888-404-3922
Major Andy Love email: Andy.love@MyFWC.com

local branch: 321-984-4880

Brevard County Sheriff Jack Parker
Email: jack.parker@brevardsheriffsoffice.org

Cracker - From what you say, it might be even more effective to email the Govenor with copies forwarded to the FWC Commisioners & Andy Love. What do you think?
Word of airboater discontent with the "FWC Easter Shock and Awe" detail has definately reached the top. The lead FWC / DLE officer is:

Lt. Col. Mike Wiwi
Deputy Director, North Law Enforcement Operations
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissions

Might be a good place to send eyewitnwess accounts.
It depends on who at the FWC made the decision to take this action. If the problem is handled at the level where it is now that may not be necessary, but it would not hurt.

It would help us to understand the action if they would tell us what triggered it.

I was not there but you would think a big operation like was described would be used to go after a drug cartel or similiar criminal activity, and not just an airboat gathering.

It surprises me that there was a problem with th FWC at a sanctioned race. There are sanctioned boat races all over FL whcih are normally co-ordinated with the local and county law offices including the Coast Guard.

I have not seen the FWC get involved with the local inboard and outboard drag races here in Eustis, but we have not had a race since the FWC reorganized last July.

It is my current understanding that USCG required safety gear is NOT required in a sanctioned race or regatta / and, that participants in a sanctioned race or regatta canot be charged with careless or reckless driving as a result of an accident occurring as a result of that regatta or race.

I can see it now: "FWC charges Dale Earnhardt, Jr. with driving off a designated trail as a result of his crossing the yellow stripe and with wanton destruction of private property for spinning into the infield".

Or: "FWC issues Bernie Little a ticket for speeding and careless driving as Miss Budweiser fires it up in front of the Cypress Gardens crowd."

or: "FWC stops every boat on the Homosassa during July 4th ritual of scallop season, cites three for BUI. "This recreation thing with boats has gone on LONG ENOUGH, It's GOTTA STOP - OR ELSE SOMONE"S GONNA HAVE FUN ON THE WATER" We can't have that now, can we.

Stay Tuned.
So does this mean the FWC will be busting everyone this Saturday at the F.A.A., C.C.A.A. meeting at Lake Hernando? What better place to harrass airboaters.