Cities brace for Boca Bash, an all-day party on wa­ter

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - LOCAL - By Anne Geg­gis Staff writer

DEERFIELDBEACH– Sun­day marks the re­turn of Boca Bash, when boaters con­verge for a day­long Lake Boca party. But the waves it made last year has Deer­field Beach shut­ting down its boat­ing ramp­for the day.

The city put up signs Thurs­day, say­ing the Pi­o­neer Park boat ram­pat 423NEThird St. will not be avail­able to the pub­lic start­ing at 3 a.m. Sun­day. The spillover from Lake Boca has been caus­ing prob­lems, city com­mis­sion­ers agreedWed­nes­day.

“It’s pro­gres­sively got­ten worse over the years,” said Deer­field Mayor Bill Ganz. “The boat launch has got­ten so you have a lot of boater­swhoare in­tox­i­cated and bel­liger­ent. The neigh­bor­hood has had peo­ple park­ing in the ceme­tery, in the swales.”

Once a year, for about the last decade, Lake Boca has be­come a sea of boaters inan­in­for­mal gath­er­ing that typ­i­cally hap­pens the last week­end of April. Fu­eled by word­ofFace­bookandTwit­ter, it’s got­ten larger and larger. And it has cre­ated rip­ples be­yond Boca.

Drone views posted on the event’s Face­book page show boats clus­tered so tightly that it looks pos­si­ble to walk boat to boat for a large ex­panse over the lake.

Deer­field Beach Com­mis­sioner Joe Miller calls it, “Wood­stock on the Wa­ter, with­out the bands.”

Cory Cod­ding­ton, whose fam­ily has lived ad­ja­cent to Pi­o­neer Park, on North­east Sixth Av­enue for the past 30 years, ap­plauded Deer­field’smove.

“The line was so long to get into the boat ramp, when we went down our street, no one would swing over to let us get to our house,” he said.

Or­ga­niz­ers of the event could not be reached for com­ment Thurs­day.

Boca Ra­ton po­lice spokesman Mark Economou said his city started re­strict­ing Sil­ver Palm Park to ve­hi­cles with per­mit­ted boats a few years ago. Pedes­tri­ans try­ing to catch a ride with other boats were ty­ing up traf­fic, he said.

Other­wise, the event has gone off rel­a­tively in­ci­dent-free, ex­cept for a hand­ful of ar­rests, mostly for boat­ing while in­tox­i­cated, he said.

But he said he can see why it has be­come a prob­lem for Deer­field Beach.

“Be­causewe limit ac­cess to the Sil­verPalmBoat ram­parea, many head to Deer­field and try to get into the In­tra­coastal that­way,” he said.

Pom­pano Beach of­fi­cials said they will be staffing the 14th Street Boat Ramp, 2815 NE 14th St. Cause­way, with ex­tra park rangers in an­tic­i­pa­tion of more traf­fic brought by the bash.

ageg­gis@sun­sen­tinel.com, 561-243-6624, or@An­neBoca . Visit our Deer­field Beach com­mu­nity page at Sun­Sen­tinel .com/Face­bookDeer­field.

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