Deputies arrested a man operating a sailboat that was flying a foreign flag when it ran aground in the Banana River near Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Tuesday morning.

William J. Morris is being held without bond at the Brevard County Detention Center in Sharpes on charges of giving a false name or false identification by persons lawfully detained, reckless operation of a vessel, improper lookout/violation of navigational rules and improper display of registration.



“He might have had some problem with the sail,” Ryba said. “Nothing else on the boat raised any suspicion at this point.”



The 30-foot vessel did not pose a security threat when it beached at 11:30 a.m. near State Road 401 and Grouper Road, on county-owned property north of Port Canaveral.


But Morris' story was jumbled, perplexing investigators from the Air Force and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office who responded to a call about a suspicious boat.


“It never ceases to amaze me,” sheriff’s Agent Christopher Ryba said. “I think he gave us three or four separate names. But he wasn’t real vocal.”

A flag with Arabic letters flew from the vessel, but Ryba wouldn’t say which country it represented. Morris, who spoke English, also refused to provide proof of ownership or a sailing itinerary.


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