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A video posted on Instagram by Wavy Boats claimed to show boaters dumping trash into the ocean during Boca Bash. Photo provided

 

By Mary Haldky

Boca Bash lived up to its wild reputation this year as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission made 18 arrests for boating under the influence or drug possession during the April 28 bacchanal on Lake Boca.

The commission also is investigating a possible instance of illegal trash dumping after a video circulated on social media showing a group of young people on a boat throwing trash from two large garbage cans into the ocean near Lake Boca. The video was shot by Wavy Boats, a popular Instagram account. The video shows the boat’s name as Halcyon out of Gulf Stream.

“We cannot be more angered or disturbed by these actions,” Boca Bash organizers said on their Facebook page. They said they immediately began trying to identify who was on the vessel.

“By no means do we believe this is a representation of the gathering,” they added. “We implore and expect boaters to keep the waterways clean, uphold proper boating etiquette and follow state laws on the water.”

In a statement and video released on April 30, the FWC said several trash-dumping “subjects” have been identified and the agency is working with the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office to determine appropriate charges.

An agency spokesman said that anyone involved who wants to come forward can call the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office posted 18 arrests made by FWC on April 28 and early April 29 on its booking blotter.

During last year’s Boca Bash, the same number of people were arrested and five calls were received from people needing medical help.

Boca Bash, always held on the last Sunday in April, is loosely organized online and is not sponsored or endorsed by the city.

FWC takes the law enforcement lead because Lake Boca, actually a wide section of the Intracoastal Waterway, falls under state jurisdiction. Boca Raton police assist its officers.
This year’s crowd size was not immediately known, but in past years as many as 10,000 have attended the event that draws hundreds of boats.

FWC’s enforcement targets anyone boating under the influence.

As it has in the past, the city closed Wildflower and Silver Palm parks and limited access to Spanish River Park Marina in advance of Boca Bash.

They serve as staging areas for fire rescue and law enforcement. Limiting public access is intended to prevent people from coming to the parks to try to hitch rides on boats.

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