Wayward boats create safety hazard at Williams Park ramp

- The Williams Park boat ramp in Hillsborough County can be a busy spot.

“On the weekends there’s probably 150 boats that go in this place, easily 150,” Kevin Russ said.

That heavy traffic on and off the water is the reason Russ was so concerned when he noticed a half-dozen different boats were beached at the park. 

The bottoms are covered with sharp barnacles, and the older vessels aren’t secured at all. Russ says the ships are a safety issue for other watercraft and children.

“If this big boat right here flipped over on top of somebody it’d kill them, bottom line,” he said.

The Marine Safety unit from Hillsborough County Consumer and Veterans services looked into the issue Tuesday. Officials say they are in the process of running the boats’ registrations and getting in touch with the owners.

BC Bradley says he’s one of them.

“Every time we have a bad blow out here, some of these vessels are not properly moored,” he said.

That may have been the case in Sunday’s storms.

According to the county, the boats were anchored in the river, and it appears one came loose and entangled the others.

“It ends up with a big conglomeration of power parked boats on the beach, then we all get to figure how we're gonna get them back in the water,” said Bradley.

In situations like this, county officials say it’s the responsibility of the boat owners to remove the ships from the shoreline.

Bradley says he’s hoping for a good high tide later this week, so the rest of the boats can go back in the River.

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