Monday, May 13, 2013
Help Me Howard: Dry Dock
If you live in South Florida you may own a boat, or even better, go boating on someone else's boat. Of course you know, a boat requires a little maintenance, like getting the salt water out of the engine, but if you store it at a marina, are they required to supply you with water? It's why one boater called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
John Paul Roxo: "Well, that's my second wife. I used to call her goofy because she was blond."
Needless to say, John and that bride are divorced, but he did get to keep the boat named Goofy.
John Paul Roxo: "I love boating. I have been boating for 45 years."
John loves to fish, and can get into the water quickly by keeping his 23-foot Thunderbird at a county marina.
John Paul Roxo: "We're here at Crandon Park Marina, dry dock."
Now, when you say dry dock, that normally means stored out of the water, but dry dock has come to mean something else to boaters at Crandon Park Marina.
John Paul Roxo: "We were told we were going to have water when it started, and there is absolutely no water right now."
Actually, there is a little water, two spigots near each other at one end of the marina.
John Paul Roxo: "If somebody is right here in the middle, to go there you need 500 feet of hose to get there, so it's very inconvenient."
The marina, run by Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation, decided to renovate the place with locked gates, lights and security cameras for 130 boats.
John Paul Roxo: "Beautiful place, very convenient."
But with just two faucets for up to 130 boats, the owners say the county is making it very difficult to take care of their boats.
Patrick Fraser: "What happens if you don't rinse your boat, you don't flush your engine?
John Paul Roxo: "Oh no, you can't do that. It ruins your boat, it ruins your engines. It needs to be done."
Before the renovation, the marina only had two faucets, but John says as part of the remodeling, boaters were told there would be water faucets every 25 or 50 feet. But instead some boaters have to run a hose 300 or 400 feet.
John Paul Roxo: "The person that designed this thing has no idea about boats, and he doesn't have a boat."
John suspects it was a foul-up by the county, since they did run pipes under ground to install water faucets every few feet. But they never hooked them up and paved over them.
John Paul Roxo: "And there is a lot of people very unhappy, and everybody that came here bringing the boats said, 'Where is the water? My God, I can't believe they did that."
Well, Howard, you have read the lease the boaters signed. Does it guarantee them water?
Howard Finkelstein: "No, the lease does not guarantee water faucets throughout the marina, and there is a clause in the lease that says that the renter has looked at the premises and is satisfied. However, when John signed his lease, construction was about to begin, and he was told the water would be easily accessible. If this got to court, a judge could say, if you promised them water faucets, give them the faucets, or give them their money back."
When I spoke to Miami-Dade County, I was told this was no mistake, that in order to conserve water and prevent runoff into the bay they only hooked up two faucets, that they had no record of complaints from boaters and if demand grew, they could hook up more faucets.
Then, a few days later, the county ran two water lines the length of the marina with faucets for boaters. One was put right behind John's rental space. The county also told me they are now going to get a permit to dig through the asphalt and install permanent faucets for the boaters in the marina.
John Paul Roxo: "Nobody understands they they didn't do that to begin with."
Many of the boaters, like John, are now better off, with a few more faucets to help till the permanent faucets are installed throughout the marina.
John Paul Roxo: "Well, I learned if it wasn't for Patrick, I tell you, nothing would have happened here. I thank him very much, because now they got them moving, and they're gonna do something about it."
The county told me they had no record of complaints about the faucets. John says 15 to 20 boaters complained to the marina office, so who's right? Both. The boaters complained verbally to the office. The county goes by written complaints or e-mails. Verbal doesn't count. If you complain to an government agency or a business, e-mail it or send a letter.
A salty situation left you adrift? Need a place to dock? Store it with us. We will turn on the tap and rinse and clean things up for you.
With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News.
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