Florida Keys ‘liveaboard’ arrested after flashing Coast Guard family on shore, police say

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After Hurricane Ian whirled past the Florida Keys late last month, it left flooding and more than 100 displaced boats in its wake.

Some of those boats are used as homes by people known locally as “liveaboards.” They often have a contentious relationship with state wildlife police and the U.S. Coast Guard, who scrutinize them for marine violations that include polluting nearshore waters and creating hazards to navigation.

Last Tuesday, officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission issued a citation to 45-year-old Jason Veloy Hatch, saying his 48-foot cabin boat was a hazard to navigation after it broke free during Ian and he anchored it within the Garrison Bight Channel offshore the northern end of Key West.

The citation stated he had 72 hours to move or the vessel would be considered derelict, FWC Officer Jason Rafter said.

The next day, a Coast Guard officer living in Navy housing on Trumbo Point said Hatch exposed himself to his family, including his wife and 8-year-old son, according to an FWC arrest report.

The Coast Guard officer, whose name is redacted in the report, provided a sworn statement and photographs of the incident, the state agency said.

The officer said he and his family were watching Hatch being confrontational with a Coast Guard crew that was “attempting to assist in the relocation of the vessel outside of the navigable channel.”

Hatch told arresting FWC officers that he became angry when he saw the Coast Guardsman’s family either videotaping or photographing him, “and removed all of his clothing, purposefully exposing himself to the family,” the report states.

Hatch, who could not be reached for comment, spent four days in county jail on a first-degree indecent exposure charge before being released on a $25,000 bond.

In another liveaboard incident in October 2019, a man living on a makeshift houseboat off Key West doused himself with gasoline and held up a lighter as Florida Fish and Wildlife officers came aboard to conduct a welfare check on his vessel.

An FWC officer shot him three times to prevent him from igniting the cabin, according to police. The officer was cleared in the shooting.