Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, is requesting the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in assessing the safety of the jetty near the Government Cut channel in Miami Beach.
Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, whom Rubio honored yesterday on the Senate floor, as well as two of his friends, died when their boat collided with the structure on Sunday.
The Miami Herald recently reported that the jetty in question has long been problematic for boaters.
The full text of Rubio’s letter to the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requesting the investigation is below. A PDF of the letter is available here.
September 28, 2016
Dear Admiral Zukunft and Assistant Secretary Darcy:
Florida leads the nation in the number of registered boats and thus, unfortunately also leads the nation in boating related fatalities. While state and online education and safety courses are good resources for boating enthusiasts, the federal government has a role in ensuring residents and tourists are able to enjoy Florida’s beautiful waters safely. Responsibility falls on each individual to follow safety standards, as well as our governments and agencies to maintain navigational beacons and permitted structures that may be potential safety threats.
As you well know, Florida is home to numerous jetties, which serve an important role in guiding boat traffic, protecting coastlines and preventing sand from entering channels. These structures must be maintained to ensure they remain functional as well as safe. Recent reports from a tragic and fatal accident have called into question the visibility of a specific jetty in Miami Beach. While our hearts are heavy with grief for the numerous lives lost every year on the water, we can do more to save others.
The jetty in question has been described by many as difficult to see at night, especially during high tides when the structure is submerged. As a boater myself, I have experienced firsthand the challenges this particular jetty can present to others trying to navigate around it. As such, I respectfully request your agencies coordinate to produce a comprehensive assessment of the jetty near the Government Cut channel as well as offer any pertinent recommendations to enhance safety for boaters to navigate around and through them. I appreciate your attention to this important matter and look forward to your expeditious response.
United States Senator
cc: The Honorable Rick Scott