More than 50 volunteers from the Suncoast Reef Rovers dive club were joined Saturday, Sept. 8, by members of the Venice Marine Police, Venice Fire Rescue, and Sarasota County in clearing a record 8,700 pounds of sunken trash from the Higel Marine Park in Roberts Bay.
With inflatable lift bags provided by Sea Tow, they were able to retrieve three small boats, a heavy swing keel and mast from a large sailboat and numerous concrete slabs. One of the sunken boats even contained copper tubing and mason jars, which could lead one to wonder if some sailor was operating a floating still.
A front-end loader provided by the City of Venice Public Works assisted in loading all of the debris into a nearby dumpster. And Venice Mayor John Holic treated the volunteers to a lunch of barbecue pulled pork at the Venice Yacht Club at the workday’s conclusion.
For nearly two decades, the Suncoast Reef Rovers have conducted annual cleanups beneath the Venice Fishing Pier and along the rocks of the Venice Jetties in addition to the Mooring Field.