12438168652?profile=RESIZE_710xA video posted on Instagram by Wavy Boats went viral and led to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission charging two teens from Gulf Stream and Boynton Beach for allegedly dumping trash in the ocean. The teens had been attending Boca Bash, according to the arrest report. Photo provided

By Mary Hladky

Two teenagers have turned themselves in to face charges of illegally dumping trash into ocean waters on April 28, the day of the Boca Bash annual drink-fest on Lake Boca.

A 15-year-old from Gulf Stream and a 16-year-old from Boynton Beach are charged with causing pollution that can harm human or animal health, a third-degree felony that can result in five years of jail time and up to a $50,000 fine.

The incident was filmed by Wavy Boats, which takes videos of boats across Florida, and posted on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. More than 400,000 people have watched the YouTube video.

Wavy Boats cameraman Seth Stern told investigators with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that the dumping took place between 4 and 5 p.m., according to the agency’s May 3 arrest report.

The two boys were on a boat named Halcyon, out of Gulf Stream, that carried about 13 people. The video shows that as the vessel exited the Boca Inlet, one of the teenagers left the helm, picked up a large basket and dumped its contents into the water. He then held the basket over his head “pumping the basket up and down as if he was celebrating the dumping of the trash into the water,” the report states.

The second teenager followed suit, picking up a trash bin and dumping it, the arrest report states. They then headed back to Boca Bash.

The two were identified by officials and teachers at the schools they attend — Boca Raton High School and Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach.

The Coastal Star is not naming them because they are juveniles.

Investigators went to the home of the Gulf Stream teenager and interviewed his father, who they said is the owner of the Halcyon.

“The illegal dumping of trash into our marine environment is a serious crime, and we worked closely with the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office to determine the appropriate charges,” FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto said in a news release. “Callous disregard for Florida’s environment will not be tolerated.”

When investigators spoke to the father of one of the boys, he said, “This is not a representation as of who we are,” the arrest report states.

In a statement, one of the families said, "We take the responsibility of caring for our oceans and our community very seriously, and we are extremely saddened by what occurred last weekend at Boca Bash. We want to extend our sincerest apologies to everyone who has been impacted and rightfully upset by what occurred."

The statement also said the incident should be "a teaching moment" for the teens "and they should certainly participate in community service and ocean conservation efforts" as a consequence.

Jennifer McGee, an FWC biologist who holds a Ph.D. in veterinary medicine science and specializes in aquatic animal health, told the investigators that “the pollution discarded into the ocean from the occupants of the blue vessel is harmful to the marine environment as well as poses a risk to human health and safety.”

In announcing the arrests, the FWC said the agency’s investigation into the trash dumping is completed.

The FWC investigated the case because Lake Boca falls under state jurisdiction.

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