Saving a Boat Ramp

jpatcourtneyjpatcourtney Posts: 4 Greenhorn
I need your help!

My local boat ramp in Miami B has been under attack for the last three years. A few prominent people who live in a nearby condo have been doing everything they can to shut it down. This week was the last straw.

They convinced the city to put up a big gate that will block the ramp. For now they're going to close it from 10pm to 7am, which means no more Tarpon fishing the bridges at night and never getting on the water at dawn again. The worst part is the city of Miami B did it without telling anyone. They just quietly put up the gate without any public notice or meeting.

I've been asking the city to take the gate down, but I haven't made much progress yet. Which is why I'm hoping you guys can help. 

Is anyone here a resident of Miami B, or know a resident? And would you be willing to write an email to stand up for access?

Are there any organizations that fight for public access and boat ramps?

Does anyone have experience defending a boat ramp? How did you do it?

Any just good ideas on how to go about this? I'm up for anything. How do you get what you want from local govt? Those condo owners seem to already know.

Replies

  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 892 Officer
    Public access in Dade County is in short supply. When traveling around the state the difference is really noticeable. Very sad. The developers have taken over.
  • jpatcourtneyjpatcourtney Posts: 4 Greenhorn
    CaptJ said:
    Public access in Dade County is in short supply. When traveling around the state the difference is really noticeable. Very sad. The developers have taken over.
    Ya unfortunately big condo buildings are both more organized and more well funded than groups of boaters and fisherman. It can feel like an unfair fight.
  • stc1993stc1993 Albany, GA Carrabelle, FLPosts: 5,966 Admiral
    Sue them for not publicising it & having public input.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,444 Captain
    I used to launch out of that ramp for many years - at all times day or night... and never the slightest fee... Then the City posted the ramp closing it between 10 pm and dawn... First they wrote tickets - then they started towing vehicles and trailers... That was a few years back now and I simply quit using the ramp to launch from.  Of course  the ramp closure at night had more than one motivation... Yes, a few residents complained (after fifty years someone decided it was too noisy at night - at least that was the excuse...  remember this was at least ten years ago maybe longer ).  What had much more impact in my opinion was the opening of the Purdy Lounge right across the street - and of course they needed parking at night...  You can figure out how it went from there.

    I first hit Miami Beach when I came here to go to school, in 1971 - and little has changed.  Everyone follows the golden rule... The guys with the gold make the rules...   Since I run night trips in that area (started in 1996 so I've been doing it for a while...) my alternative is still 79th Street (Pelican Harbor - and that place is a laugh a minute....).  I don't want my anglers meeting me there - so I've always picked them up down at the ramp at 18th Street on Miami Beach where it's well lit and reasonably safe (mostly)...

    I'm not surprised that they put up a gate to control access to the ramp - You can bet it opens up at night with valets in attendance since the Lounge draws a big crowd in winter... Good luck in getting anyone to pay attention to you on the Beach... As for me - I've been operating under the radar there for many years so I'm not likely to say boo... about it.

    Just having a clean well lit (mostly) place to pick up and drop off my customers is enough for me... Down the road at that big Miami Beach Marina (the last facility on the end of Miami Beach just before Government Cut)- they want me to pay just to drop off customers there.... 

    After reading this you won't have to ask me why I work my day trips either out of Flamingo or Chokoloskee.... and tow my little skiff on the road more than 20,000 miles a year - year in and year out....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 892 Officer
    Visit almost any other town in Florida and compare facilities to those available in Miami (or the lack thereof) and it becomes apparent how our politicians have little concern for the average citizen's recreational activities. That is unless you consider the BILLION DOLLAR Stadium downtown which nobody goes to. Growing up here one could enjoy the outdoors with limitless opportunities. A bicycle and fishing rod would suffice. Now, sorry but that area is posted or gated, or both. How about Haulover boat ramp on a weekend, or even better on a high tide? Oh you want to park at a fishing pier? Very sad. It seems our choices are no choice.
  • Gary SGary S Posts: 1,574 Captain
    Mathewson Hammock ramp is still in the dark from the last hurricane that went thru. Wonder where all that money went.
     Almost all ramps in Dade County are closed due to the idiots that refuse to take their trash with them. That goes for the places that people can fish fro shore too. Used to be able to fish a few  canals in south dade but the slobs ruined it for everyone. I believe that is why they closed the ramp just outside Flamingo, overtime I went bass fishing there I would pick up a bucket of trash.
     You might try a city commission meeting, but you will probably just get a lot of stares.
  • jpatcourtneyjpatcourtney Posts: 4 Greenhorn
    I think there is a real shot at stopping this if the commission had to do it publicly. There is huge support for public access to the beach and bay.

    Unfortunately these things are done quietly and under false pretenses. The ramps are slowly destroyed over the course of many years (as Capt Lemay elaborated on), and then the sad shell of what's left if much easier to completely get rid of.

    The boat ramp at Morningside Heights is a good example. It's been slowly squeezed and allowed to deteriorate for years. Most recently a few people pushed to remove half the trailer parking spaces because "nobody really uses the ramp anymore." It won't be long before that ramp is just totally gone.

    Money is part of it, but it's also about organization. I think we need to be better about making noise when these things happen. The condo associations, neighborhood associations, businesses etc are much better organized than fisherman using a ramp, most of us don't even know each other. I didn't know you used that ramp Capt Lemay.

    I'll keep ya'll updated.


  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,444 Captain
    I only work night charters in the Bay (this is my 24th year...).  Day trips are out of Flamingo or Chokoloskee.  Literally, I haven’t been able to do more than pick up or drop off my anglers at the 18th Street ramp - for ten years now...

    As much as the urban parts of the Bay have deteriorated in recent years I’m probably going to start running night trips up in Jupiter...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • rule303rule303 Posts: 16 Greenhorn
    I need your help!

    My local boat ramp in Miami Beach has been under attack for the last three years. A few prominent people who live in a nearby condo have been doing everything they can to shut it down. This week was the last straw.

    They convinced the city to put up a big gate that will block the ramp. For now they're going to close it from 10pm to 7am, which means no more Tarpon fishing the bridges at night and never getting on the water at dawn again. The worst part is the city of Miami Beach did it without telling anyone. They just quietly put up the gate without any public notice or meeting.

    I've been asking the city to take the gate down, but I haven't made much progress yet. Which is why I'm hoping you guys can help. 

    Is anyone here a resident of Miami Beach, or know a resident? And would you be willing to write an email to stand up for access?

    Are there any organizations that fight for public access and boat ramps?

    Does anyone have experience defending a boat ramp? How did you do it?

    Any just good ideas on how to go about this? I'm up for anything. How do you get what you want from local govt? Those condo owners seem to already know.
    Is this the ramp by the police station? I used to launch there all the time, but it has been closed to park for a while. too bad, it was a good safe location...
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,444 Captain
    That's the one...and it was a good little ramp years ago...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • rule303rule303 Posts: 16 Greenhorn
    And it was free too!
  • GifisherGifisher Posts: 67 Greenhorn
    edited October 11 #13

    I live near there, and used to use it day and night as well. Before they started rebuilding it a month or two ago, it was for Miami Beach residents only. I think that rule is only a few years old, but it will stick when and if the job is ever completed. No one can splash their boat there now due to a new fence that blocks the two ramps, and encompasses several parking spaces.

    When they changed the ramp to MB residents only, I used it one day thinking I was ok since I'm a long time MB resident. When I returned, my truck and trailer had been towed, and $500 in cash to get them back. I was pretty steamed to say the least. I later found out both truck and trailer had to be 'registered' with MB city hall to be able to park there. I complained to the right people, and eventually got my money back. Even so, what Capt Lemay and others have said is true. Public recreational facilities for the average tax paying citizen are dwindling. The numerous Jet Skis that use that ramp and the noise that comes with it don't help either.

    Good luck with what you're trying to do; it may be a losing battle...

  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,444 Captain
    Made a point of checking the ramp last night since I have a night trip coming up and that ramp is where I've been picking up my customers for years.... As noted above it's completely fenced off except for a small entry point in the fence where residents of the high rise on the north side of the ramp can gain access so I'm out of business there.  At a glance the ramp and the two piers are in good condition - but it's all closed off now.  I did note that they've reduced the already small parking area for vehicles with trailers to half the size it was so I'm guessing they intend to severely restrict its use in future.  I'll make a point of contacting the Miami Beach P.D.'s marine patrol unit (the building just south of the ramp to see if I can get more info on the situation.  Should be fun - that police department doesn't even list a marine patrol unit on its website....

    Guess my anglers will be meeting me at Pelican Harbor now (oh joy....).
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 892 Officer
    Little by little our access to the resource is eliminated. Growing up all one needed was a bike, rod, and a mirrolure to catch all the fish you wanted. No video games, getting into trouble, just good clean fun. Now you have to pay to do what we took for granted.
  • GifisherGifisher Posts: 67 Greenhorn
    Ramp is now open, fence has been removed FYI...
    If you use it, make sure you're a Miami Beach resident or you will be towed.
    If you're a Miami Beach resident, and haven't used it yet, make sure you call or email MB City Hall to register your vehicle and trailer.
    Good luck!
  • Gary SGary S Posts: 1,574 Captain
    Most water access gets closed due to trash that is left behind. Just about all fresh water ramps in Dade are gone because of it.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,444 Captain
    Thanks for the heads up.. I've been having my customers meet me at the 79th St ramp (Pelican Harbor...).  Even though it's been all re-done (the 79th ramp even has Porta-Potties now (but not in good condtion at all....), I'm still not comfortable having any of my out-of-towners in that area... I haven't ramped out of the 18th St ramp  -ever since they restricted it to residents... For about five years now all I've used it for is a pick-up and drop off spot... I'm just fine with 79th but want my anglers in a nicer environment if at all possible since I only run night trips in the Bay these days....  In daytime I'm a hundred miles away down at Flamingo or Chokoloskee...

    Yes, trash and bad behavior are the things that shut down ramps... but in Miami Beach's case.... not so much.  They're so into developing and making money that something like the only ramp that the city still has... gets short shrift I'm afraid....  Like I said before.... the "golden rule" applies - the guys with the gold, make the rules on Miami Beach... 
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • 10kman10kman Posts: 535 Officer
      Having lived on the East Coast Fla for 25 years it was a real treat to move to
    West Coast.The West Coast watched and decided we don't want to be like that,
    we want mangroves,access to the water,huge areas of public land(10k area) and
    public ramps.In Collier Co,Naples we have six public ramps for which Colllier
    residents pay $100 yearly fee to use.
        Yes, we will look like Dade/Broward ten years from now but we still will have
    good fishing.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,444 Captain
    I'm often tempted when I think about the future here in "paradise" where our prospects are for more of the same stuff I've been watching since 1971... more concrete with less and less access for ordinary folks locally... The best I can say is that it is convenient to the Park out of Flamingo -and Biscayne Bay at night is still a magic place - hassles and all....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
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