Senator Marco Rubio requested an investigation Wednesday into the jetty where Marlins superstar José Fernández and two friends were killed in a weekend boat crash.
Rubio, a Florida Republican, made the request to the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the two federal agencies responsible for navigational aids designed to keep boaters away from the dangerous rocks of Miami Beach’s Government Cut inlet. The Corps is responsible for maintaining the pair of jetties off the inlet. Fernández, Emilio Macias and Eduardo Rivero died Sunday from a crash on the baseball star’s powerboat, which landed upside down on the northern jetty.
The unlit spit of rocks has a reputation for marine accidents, though the Coast Guard said after the crash that flashing channel markers should be adequate to guide boaters around the rocks.
In his letter, Rubio, a boat owner who lives in West Miami and faces reelection in November, suggested he personally has had concerns about navigating the jetty where Fernández died.
“As a boater myself, I have experienced firsthand the challenges this particular jetty can present to others trying to navigate around it,” he wrote. “I respectfully request your agencies coordinate to produce a comprehensive assessment of the jetty near the Government Cut channel as well as offer any pertinent recommendations to enhance safety for boaters to navigate around and through them.”
His letter cited a Miami Herald article about the jetty’s potential hazards and said it was not enough to rely on good seamanship to avoid hazards. “Responsibility falls on each individual to follow safety standards, as well as our governments and agencies to maintain navigational beacons and permitted structures that may be potential safety threats.”
No lights illuminate the jetties, and the northern one in particular has spots underwater during high tides. Fernández 32-foot powerboat, the Kaught Looking, was found crashed on the jetty around 3:30 a.m., about 45 minutes before high tide.