We need some serious advice and council.
We are live a-boards anchored out on our 42' long range trawler
in Gulfport, Fl.
We stay here because the city provides parking and a dinghy dock
Unfortunately what they don't provide is marine
protection. (but they do have a patrol that comes out once a month, they claim limited funds)
Being a "live a-board" here in Gulfport, we are treated like third class citizens.
Our dinghies are register as well as our vessel.
We keep at clean appearance, we move our boat at least once or twice a month, the bottom is cleaned every month, and we use the marina for pump-out.
The problem is as follows:
Two months back , we were harassed by a boat full of teens that had been drinking.
The operator was at the controls of a new 20' Jetski boat.
They thought it would be fun to circle us at high speed within 35-45' of our boat, creating large enough wakes to upset our 17.5 ton vessel and break a few things inside.
We have two service animals
that work with children
, one was injured during this episode.
I brought our dogs
to the dinghy dock
30 min. to use the "bathroom" after the disruption, only to find the boat that terrorized us was there, full of beers cans and empty beer
There were not enough life jackets on board, nor was there a Florida registration
sticker on the boat. (I was told later but the police that it was a new boat and they didn't get the sticker in time to take it out for a spin)
However, the local police, told me that it was my word against the kids
that I accused and even though one of the passengers seemed sorry for their actions, the police let them go knowing the boat was illegally on the water
It even left the dock without nav. lights, and it was 11pm.
The other night, a man in his mid 30's, on a 23' center console fishing
boat, was out with friends on a calm night, and drifted within 50' of us at 1am.
There were 3 people on board and the music
To get their attention, I hit them with a spot light and asked to either move away or lower the volume.
They called us names, cursed, etc . .
But, he did start the motor
and very slowly, moved away.
20 minutes later, he drifted back to us and was within 35' of us and the music
Again, I hit them with the spot light, asked them to please move again, but there was resistance this time, with threats, so I kept the light on them till they moved.
I sat and watched, as they moved away.
I watched as the owner brought the boat to the public dock, unloaded his two passengers, turn the boat around, and came straight at us, full throttle, bow straight up.
He circle us several times at an aggressive speed, and as close as he could get.
Knowing not to call the Gulfport police, I called the USCG, but was told they couldn't help and to try the Florida Fish
and Wildlife Commission.
All the while, we are being dangerously circled.
The aggressive boat turned and left, but only to circle around other boats and then return to us again.
During the second "attack", I had the FWC on the phone
pleading for help, only to be informed that resources are low and no one is available to help. However, they would call the Gulfport police on our behalf for help.
By this time, the threading boat left and disappeared into the darkness ( during this time, he had turned off all his nav. lights)
5 min. later, I heard the sounds of powerful motors coming towards us, in the distance.
Sure enough, it was him coming back for a third attack.
I call the FWC again pleading for any help. They said they would call the Gulfport police again.
After the third attack, I sat up waiting for another. During that time, I realized that 500' away where approx. 25 people fishing
off the local pier.
Since I was told before that it was my word against the "aggressor", I would loose.
So I call FWC again, and asked (on my behalf) to have the Gulfport police meet me at the dinghy dock, so they could take my statement, and match it with witnesses from the pier.
I waiting over 75 minutes and the Gulfport police never arrived or called me - by that time, my witnesses had gone home.
I would have gone myself, but was afraid to leave my wife aboard, or worse yet, bring her with me in the dinghy and risk another attack, without police available.
Any advice on how to handle these kinds of problems legally.
We were told not to protect or defend ourselves by both the USCG and the FWC.
Again, our word against the aggressor.
Thank you for any suggestions,