Miami-Dade police investigating after video shows boat crew popping balloons into water
Detectives with the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Illegal Dumping Unit are taking the lead in a multi-agency investigation after video surfaced this week of a boat crew popping balloons while on the vessel, authorities confirmed to Local 10 News on Wednesday.
The video sparked outrage among environmental advocates.
It’s the way that these people disposed of the balloons that is contributing to the trash in South Florida’s waters.
A South Florida boat dealership posted the video, which shows a person popping balloons on the boat’s rail one by one following an event.
Many of the balloons became loose and went overboard into the water.
Another video shows the rubber balloon debris floating in the water.
All of this reportedly happened at the Bayshore Landing Marina in Coconut Grove on Tuesday afternoon.
Boaters said the incident happened onboard a charter boat.
David Fuller, with Salty Miami, a sailing charter that prides itself on environmental awareness, said he was shocked by the video.
“We were shocked to see on social media that they were deliberately popping these balloons and letting them fall into the bay,” he said. “The most shocking part is that the day before this happened, I was coming out of the channel and I saw a massive sea turtle literally in front of this boat where they were popping these balloons.”
The damage the balloons can cause to South Florida’s marine wildlife is catastrophic, and Miami-Dade police confirm that it is illegal to dump balloons in the ocean.
City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell says the video should serve as a reminder to all to not to use our ocean like a trash can.
It’s unclear, however, whether the people seen popping the balloons in the video would face criminal charges or fines.
“Detectives are currently working the case and are following all leads,” Detective Luis Sierra told Local 10 News in an email. “Protecting our environment and our marine life is a shared responsibility.”
The Miami Maritime Group Outboard Division released the following statement on the incident:
“At MMG we pride ourselves on protecting and spreading awareness on the beautiful waters we get to call home. The same waters our friends, colleagues and clients get to enjoy on the beautiful vessels we sell. We do not pride ourselves in exposing the mistakes of others, however we decided the events we witnessed today deserve to be seen with your own eyes to truly understand the level of neglect and complete lack of care of which numerous boaters, captains and passengers alike are treating our oceans with.”