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Florida Topless Charter Boat Controversy

It's a curious mix of "Hooters" and "Gilligan's Island"-a charter boat service with a bikini-clad crew who drop more than just an anchor.

They'll drop their tops once they get a few miles offshore.

But this sort of seafaring is a bit too salacious for city officials in one Florida town.

Gil and Kathi Coombes have run charter boats for years. But it wasn't until this January their business really took off. That's when they added Bikini Girl Charters.

Kathi Coombes of Smokin' em Charters says, "they will serve drinks and food and sandwiches and run out the baits and lines and do everything a regular mate would do but they're just in a bikini."

Their company, Smokin' em Charters, features bikini-clad deck mates who, for an extra fee, will drop their tops entirely once they get a few miles off shore. But there's a strict no-touch policy. Gil and Kathi say adding bikinis has opened them up to bachelor parties and other group outings- keeping them booked solid 4 or 5 days a week.

Kathi Coombes says, "Oh it's been great! We've got a lot of phone calls. A lot of phone calls."

The boat moved here to the Fort Pierce City Marina at the beginning of March, but it didn't last long. Not once these brochures advertising topless charters started showing up at the city's Tiki Bar Restaurant.

In less than a month, Marina Director Dean Kubichek kicked the business out of the city docks.

He said "There's a lot of family events here. We can't have brochures with nudity or anything else having to do with it. We can't have it on city property."

Kathi Coombes says, "I don't know I don't think it's very fair it's not like we had full shot images or girls walking around nude on the dock. We didn't even have girls walking around in bikinis on the dock..so nothing was ever seen."

The Coombes claim discrimination. They've moved to aprivate dock, where they say they don't get the same stream of business.

They promise a fight to bring their Bikini Charter back to the city marina.


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