Live aboard boater turns to 8 On Your Side after marina eviction

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Eric Curtis couldn’t believe it. He’s lived aboard his boat at the Dunedin City Marina for the past four years and last Wednesday he was notified that he is being evicted.

“So what I have to do at this point is go find an apartment to rent, a condo,” said Curtis. “Hopefully furnished because I have no furnishings.”

Curtis lives on the boat with his dog Lucy and 13-year old son. He explains, the boat in the slip next to his leaked some fuel in September.

“She had a little bit of fuel, maybe three ounces from an overfill of her tank,” said Curtis. “And I helped her clean it up.”

That cleaning job was apparently not good enough. Federal regulations require that the boat owner and any others who are aware of a “discharge of oil” from any such vessel are required to immediately notify the national response center and that didn’t happen.

Curtis explains, he believes his eviction notice is the direct result of a not so positive interaction with a marina employee who has since resigned.

“He goes, you’ve got to report this. And I was like, report what? This isn’t even my boat,” said Curtis. “I live in the boat next to here. Why are you asking me about somebody else’s vessel? “

Frustrated, he and other boat owners took their concerns to Dunedin City Councilmembers at their meeting on Thursday night.

“This is not a way to live life,” Curtis told commissioners. “I have 14 days to leave the marina with my 13-year old son and a dog, and go where?”

Herman Maddox is a former law enforcement officer who spoke on Curtis and the other boat owner’s behalf.

“Being former law enforcement, I think about what a person’s intent was,” Maddox told commissioners. “When I look at what Eric did, what Carolyn did, they found out about it, so what did they know? When did they know and what did they do about it? So he fixed it. He did what he should do.”

But City Manager Jennifer Bramley tells 8 On Your Side this was not a small leak by definition.

“The fuel spilled out into the marina, and into St. Joseph’s Sound,” said Bramley, who explains multiple agencies had to respond to contain it. That being said, she does plan to meet with the two renters to straighten things out.

“I definitely need to speak to the slip renters, directly,” said Bramley. “One has hired an attorney, so I would like to sit down and speak with that attorney with our attorney as well.”

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