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A Floatopia-Style Party Is Planned at Haulover Beach This Month

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Floatopia-style parties — where attendees bring inflatable rafts and get hellaciously drunk on the ocean — would be totally fine if people just cleaned up after themselves. But instead, partygoers have treated the ocean like an open garbage can and left beer cans, food wrappers, loose garbage, and all sorts of marine-life-killing flotsam drifting in the current. After years of complaints from residents, Miami Beach city officials last year moved to ban floating ocean parties from South Beach. The city banned coolers and floats from the sand March through mid-April this year, for example.

So instead, revelers are heading north — to Haulover Beach. And they're changing the event's name as well.

According to a Facebook event listing, more than 320 people say they'll attend the "Floatnik" party at Haulover April 23. The organizers say the festivities are supposed to last from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (The event's search tags at the bottom even say "Floatnik Floatopia Float Beach Party" on the invite page.)

As is the case for most Floatopia-like parties, the organizers appear to mean well and demand that attendees avoid taking glass or polystyrene onto the beach.

"For newbies: it’s easy... grab a float, some good people, hit the beach, relax, float, meet people and most importantly, PROTECT THE BEACH you came to enjoy by not littering... 'Floatnik' in a nutshell!" the event page says. "This is a FREE event we put on for you, EVERYONE is invited... except people who can't do the only thing we ask for: PUT THE TRASH IN THE TRASH."

The organizer, a group called South Florida's Grown and Sexy, has also launched a website to recruit volunteers to clean up the beach afterward. But in the past, representatives from the Surfrider Foundation have told New Times that Floatopia organizers are almost always overwhelmed by the amount of garbage these events create and — no matter how many volunteers they round up — rarely, if ever, leave the beach like they found it.

"Every organization starts the same way, saying they're going to hand out trash bags and keep the beach clean," Catherine Uden, the secretary for the Broward County chapter of Surfrider, told New Times last year. "But even if they have 20 volunteers, unless they have those 20 people swimming after the garbage, they won't be able to stop the trash from floating out into the ocean. These people want to treat the ocean like some pool in Vegas, but they don’t understand it’s an ecosystem and not a frat house. There are animals in there that are endangered."

Representatives from the Miami chapter of Surfrider did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this latest planned party. But pressure from environmentalists also shut down Float Bash on Virigina Key last August.

Likewise, the new Floatnik appears to be a very clear attempt to find a loophole around Miami Beach's Floatopia crackdown. Besides changing the name (did they think environmentalists wouldn't notice?), the organizers moved the location a few miles north to Haulover Beach, just out of Miami Beach's jurisdiction. (Haulover is operated by Miami-Dade County.)

"Buena suerteHaulover," Michael Grieco, the Miami Beach commissioner who fought hard last year to kick the event out of his city, wrote online late last week. "#Notopia."

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