The latest drinking spot in town isn’t a new bar.
It’s the north-end waters surrounding the Longbeach Village.
Villagers have reported an increase in boaters who moor their vessels overnight and are often loud and intoxicated.
“We don’t want to turn into Cortez, where you have all these drunks living out here on boats,” resident Patty McBride told Longboat Key Police Chief Pete Cumming at the Jan. 9 Longbeach Village Association meeting. “There are people screaming all night. It’s a constant problem.”
The issue of overnight mooring and “live aboards” has surfaced in recent years in the Village.
Police have received complaints about boaters docking their vessels and staying overnight at Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub and Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant, Cumming said.
“This is completely at the discretion of property owners,” Cumming said. “They’re allowed to stay there as long as they have permission.”
Vessels are generally allowed to stay overnight in the town’s waterways as long as they have sufficient lighting and are equipped properly but generally can’t stay for an extended period, Cumming said.
According to town code, a person cannot moor his vessel for more than 72 hours in a 30-day period unless he moors at a commercial marina, yacht basin or yacht club or has received a temporary permit from the town manager.
Residents also told Cumming about a concrete vessel that sank twice in the bay.
When a vessel sinks, police notify the owner, who has five days to remove the boat, Cumming said. Police arrange to have the boat towed at the owner’s expense if the owner doesn’t respond within five days. The fine is attached to the boat’s registration so that if an owner attempts to register a new boat, he must pay the fine prior to receiving the registration.
Police are also researching issues related to parking for residents of Jewfish Key, which is accessible only by boat.
Frequently, the island’s residents and renters park at the Linley Street boat ramp and travel by boat to the island.
Docking from the ramp isn’t illegal, according to Cumming, although parking is prohibited between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Village Association Acting President Michael Drake said that an ordinance dating back to the island’s development requires Jewfish owners to ingress and egress from a designated parking area in Cortez.
Cumming told the Village Association that he would order increased patrols in the area to address residents’ concerns. He also told them to call police if they see suspicious activity.