Florida boaters have been caught dumping waste into the ocean in crimes

A pair of Florida teenagers at the center of a viral video of them dumping giant bins of trash from the side of a boat into the Atlantic Ocean have surrendered to authorities.

The suspects, a 15-year-old from Gulf Stream and a 16-year-old from Boynton Beach, turned themselves in to police on Friday, NBC Miami reported. They have each been charged with a third-degree felony count of causing pollution with intent to harm or injure the health or welfare of human beings, life or property of animals, plants or water, according to arrest reports filed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation. Commission.

If convicted, the teens face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

“Illegal dumping of waste into our marine environment is a serious crime, and we have worked closely with the Palm Beach County Prosecutor’s Office to pursue appropriate charges,” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto.

“Insensitive disregard for Florida’s environment will not be tolerated,” he continued. “This is a learning opportunity for everyone involved: Florida’s natural resources are precious and we must all do our part to protect them.”

A viral video of the incident, shared online by content creator Wavy Boats, shows 10 people on a boat traveling from Boca Raton Inlet on Sunday afternoon. At one point, a teenager can be seen lifting a can full of trash over his head and then throwing the contents overboard.

“He emptied the contents of his basket directly into the water,” the arrest report said. “He is seen holding the basket above his head and pumping the basket up and down as if celebrating the dumping of the waste into the water.”

A second skipper on board then follows suit and dumps bottles, cans and other waste into the ocean.

The FWC said on Monday it had launched an investigation into the matter after the video sparked a series of complaints. According to the arrest report, agency investigators used the boat’s registration to track down the owner, the father of the 15-year-old suspect.

“This is not a representation of who we are,” the father reportedly told the investigator, who visited their home on Tuesday.

Both teens were booked into the Palm Beach Juvenile Detention Center and then released Friday evening. Prosecutors have 30 days to decide whether they will be tried as adults.