6 - 20 Feb 2013
I initially did a review when we arrived on 6 Feb concerning issues with renting the boats. After staying 2 weeks at Marathon, I am posting some updates. When we arrived, we were greeted by one of the MWR folks and given a letter from 2005 that explained the rules; many of them were currently out of date. We hardly ever saw someone from MWR again, unless we hunted them down to ask a question. About half the campers received the internet codes when they arrived and half did not. We had to get it from another camper and passed it on to at least one other camper. I learned from reading reviews on this site about the free laundry, but another camper went into town and paid $4 a load because they didn’t know. The facility has one large-capacity washer and dryer near the cottages and I never had to wait the two times I used them. The washer and dryer each take about 45 minutes to run through their cycles. The best thing we found about this campsite is the location. We towed a trailer, so it was easy for us to get around in our truck. We loved the close location to several State parks, especially Bahia Honda. For those who don’t have a seperate vehicle to get around, it isn’t a great place to stay since there isn’t any recreation available on the station. Our neighbors rode their bikes around, and said when they got tired the local taxi company would haul them and their bicycles back from anywhere in Marathon for $5.00. Yes, the dog Roscoe was allowed to roam. He’s friendly and I’m an animal lover, so I didn’t mind. When I saw him “dumping” in the camping area, I simply let one of the coastguardsmen know and asked them to please have someone police the area. As far as renting one of the boats, we never saw them leave the station. Here is an update we received on current rental policy in an email from Casey Malloy, the regional MWR director: “Required documentation: up until Dec 12, the only requirement to rent a boat was a specified online boat safety class. However, after the inspection the requirement is to attend a AUX (8 hour) boat safety class in person. This is the process we are currently addressing. As to the specific documentation, completion of the class should be signed by the local flotilla training POC. Again, we know that is a strain for our customers and that is why we are going forward to request a change to that requirement based on Florida Law and the lack of available classes. In addition, our plan (nothing is completed) to waive the Auxiliary course to anyone with a qual letter from their OINC certifying them as coxswains for small boats. For cutter men they have to present a Deck Watch Officer or coxswain certification. For both they have to be either assigned and/or no more than 3 years from their last underway assignment.” If you want to rent a boat, I suggest you contact them for the current rental information. Give yourself plenty of time because most of the Coast Guard Auxilary courses are taught over a month-long period. Also, I don’t know if “the local training POC” in this case means the course has to be taught in the Florida Keys so you need to get clarification on this before wasting your time. If anyone has the answer, it would be much appreciated if you posted an update.