Bahamas, South Bimini, Bimini Beach Club Marina: Threatening Officials – December 2018

Published 5 years ago

Alex Johnson says:

Dec 22, 2018 03:53 PM

On December 12th at 2 am I was tied up to the center dock at the closed Bimini Beach Club marina, on the south end of South Bimini, when I was awoken by a man shouting. I climbed up out the companionway and noticed headlights directly across from me pointed at the companionway, from a vehicle parked on the sand at the south end of the marina. I turned to see the man who was on the dock, about 10 feet away, and he demanded my passport and paperwork. He was not uninformed, and he held a handgun in his left hand, arm stiff and pointed downward. I returned with cruising permit and passport and gave it to him (he took it with his right hand, gun still held in his left). I asked for him to show me a badge or identify himself as law enforcement, but he would not, and he demanded to know why I didn’t have a stern-light on (I was tied to a dock). He informed me it was a $200 fine for not having the stern light on, and that I was subject to criminal prosecution for trespassing. He informed me that if this charge went through, I would be arrested and never be allowed to return to the Bahamas. At some point, another man arrived, also plain clothed, and they looked over my paperwork together and made a variety of comments, including that if my passport wasn’t stamped, then I was in the Bahamas illegally. I asked the first man to put the gun away, and he holstered it behind his back with difficulty. Near the end of the ordeal, the first man asked me for permission to board, and I told him “not unless you can show me id to prove you are law enforcement”.The two men had already given back my passport and cruising permit (after I asked them to), and after my final request for identification, if they were to board, they decided to leave without boarding or showing me ID. Before they left they mentioned that if no one showed up by noon the coming day, then everything was ok, to forget about it…I asked if that meant that I should remain tied at the dock until the afternoon, or if I should leave in the morning..they did not give me a definite answer as to what action they would like me to take.

Strong North winds and incorrect Navionics chart data for Nixon Harbor (its shallower than shown) had driven me to tie up at this marina in the afternoon of December 11th. I had cleared customs at South Bimini Airport and paid $300 cash for my cruising permit on December 10th.

I believe these men were some kind of law enforcement officials, but it was totally out of order the way they approached me, and threatened me with legal consequences, wouldn’t identify themselves (at one point before leaving, the man with the handgun out told me his first or last name, and quickly rattled off a 5-6 digit badge number) etc. I believe they were trying to coerce money from me, or potentially bait me into some kind of altercation (imagine waking up to a man with a handgun out at 2am, who won’t identify himself, with a vehicle spotlighting your point of entry/exit with it’s a siren or police lights).

If anyone from the Bahamian or US government would like more information, please contact me at [email protected]

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