DeBary-raft 16x9

DeBary Mayor Clint Johnson testing a homemade raft similar to what he plans to build in Cuba in Daytona Beach Shores, FL. Photos by Beach Safety Ocean Rescue


Despite warnings from the U.S. Coast Guard, a Florida mayor is planning to make sea-journey from Cuba across the Florida Straits on a homemade, motor-less, makeshift raft. Coast Guard officials met with the mayor last week, expressing concerns for his safety while urging him not to go through with his plan.

In a statement, the USCG said, “We respectfully urge the Mayor to reconsider his trip, which will best case result in a search for him. Worst case, his trip may result in grave consequences… Not only are the consequences of a voyage on hand-made vessels potentially deadly, but they also put unnecessary risk on the lives of our Coast Guard men and women who respond to enforce U.S. law and keep those at sea safe.”

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Anderson.


The DeBary mayor says he plans to cross the Florida Straits on a raft to better understand what the migrants experience. In a facebook post, Mayor Clint Johnson wrote, “I appreciate and respect the U.S. Coast Guard Southeast recent concern for my personal safety and the safety of possible responders. I will continue to be as cooperative as possible in the final planning stages.”

DeBary Mayor Clint Johnson spent the weekend testing his makeshift raft for his upcoming trip.


posted by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee