She drove to Watson Island, looking for another spot to ride with her family, but found a new anti-Jet Ski sign there too.
Turns out, the signs — egregious typos and all — were indeed put up by the city, but they weren't meant for privately owned Jet Skis. The Miami Parking Authority erected the signs to stop companies trying to rent out Jet Skis near city boat ramps, said Stephanie Severino, Miami's deputy director of communications.
"They were trying to make these people do their business in other areas, not on the city ramps, because they are not allowed. So what the signs need to say, and what the MPA is working on with our department, is perhaps that no commercial business is allowed," Severino said.
On Wednesday — one day after New Times asked about the signs — they were abruptly taken down, but not because of the spelling problems. The city realized the signs weren't clear about the rule applying only to commercial Jet Ski companies, Severino said, which aren't allowed without a permit.
"There have been fatal incidents [with Jet Skis in the past], and that's what we're trying to avoid," said Severino.
Just a few yards from where the Dinner Key Marina sign was posted, Miami Water Sports charges tourists a few hundred dollars to go Jet Skiing, parasailing, and kayaking. On Tuesday, one employee fueled up a Jet Ski resting on a boat while another dealt with the flood of tourists signing liability waivers. One of several South Florida businesses owned by Jacques Lebaz, the firm is officially registered under the name Coconut Grove Kayak Inc. and has at least eight Jet Skis available.
One employee said they do not use the boat ramps for their Jet Skis, and they do have a permit to run a commercial business at the Dinner Key Marina. When contacted by phone, business owner Jacques Lebaz said his English was not good and asked to receive the questions in writing. Shortly after New Times sent an email, another man responded on Mr. Lebaz's behalf.
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"You can see I have a permit for a floating dock to keep the Jet Skis. We have nothing to do with the boat ramp. I have all the permits that are required; my boats are all inspected," said the man, who refused to give his name. "We do have a permit because we're based at Dinner Key Marina."
A representative of Dinner Key Marina confirmed that Miami Water Sports has a permit to run their business there. All of which makes the sudden appearance of the sign and the presence of a security guard incorrectly forbidding residents from using the ramp even more confusing.
For now, the signs will stay down until the city can clarify its message — whatever it might be.