The city's Bight Management District Board today will consider a new policy aimed at enforcing the well-established law that prohibits liveaboard boaters dumping raw sewage into the waters of Key West.
City staff is recommending adding some teeth to the rule by making owners of dinghies or tenders that tie up at the historic Bight's dinghy dock behind Turtle Kraals show proof that their main vessel is receiving pumpout service.
If approved, the policy will bar dinghies from anchored vessels to dock unless the owner can show proof, a receipt or a service record, that they are pumping out legally.
"Approving the policy will authorize staff to tow, impound and charge impound fees to unauthorized or nonconforming dinghies," wrote Mark Tait, the Bight marina manager in a recent memo to the board.
The board meets at 5 p.m. today at Old City Hall, 510 Greene St.
On Dec. 11 the board voted 7-0 to postpone staff's proposal to install new rules for liveaboards, including enforcement of sewage pumpout.
The city commission has the last word on any Bight rules.
At issue for the board Dec. 11 were questions such as how often should pumpout take place and how to enforce a new law.
Dinghy owners need to show they are participating in the county's pumpout program, which is free of charge to liveaboards, or present receipts that show their vessel was serviced within 14 days of a request to dock, according to staff reports attached to today's agenda.
Customers who can't supply proof of pumpout service will have "one nonconforming day of dockage for their dinghy," the proposed policy states.
The dockmaster will explain the pumpout proof requirement and warn the customer that dockage isn't available in the future without the evidence, staff says. A $25 impound fee is required for the release of a towed dinghy.
Repeat offenders will have their dinghies removed from the dinghy dock to the impound spot at the dockmaster's office, where they will have to pay a fee in order to get them back.
Monroe County has a program that offers free sewage pumpout for all anchored vessels in the Key West waters, so "there is no excuse for anchored vessels in unincorporated Monre County not to pump out," Tait wrote. "There is nothing in place to provide for enforcement of non-conforming or illegal dinghies that dock without authority at the dinghy dock. Staff needs authority to remove illegal and nonconforming dinghies."
A $25 impound fee will help make up for staff time allotted to monitor "and cleanse the dinghy dock of illegal or nonconforming dinghies," Tait wrote.
Also today, the board will hold elections of chair and vice chair. Michael Knowles has served as chairman for three years, the clerk's office said.