On weekends and holidays Miami-area sandbars like Nixon and Haulover frequently transform into some of the area's hottest water party spots. But policing the areas is exceedingly difficult, and after a spate of high-profile accidents at Nixon -- including the May 4 death of 23-year-old Ernesto Hernandez, who was killed after being sucked into the running propellers of a boat operated by DJ Laz -- the Key Biscayne Village Council has moved to block off the area from motorboats as a safety initiative.
The night of the Fourth saw more tragedy on Biscayne Bay. Just before 10:40 p.m. a 32-foot Contender with five young people on board smashed into a boat carrying a family of eight, then careened into another vessel. Four were killed and three seriously injured, making the crash the area's bloodiest boating accident in recent memory. But in South Florida, where a culture of permissive partying has long coincided with famously lax boating regulations, it was far from the first.
For more read this week's feature story on the tragedies and Florida's lax boating regulations.
Video by Adam Hendel.