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Does your own name sound good on your new island? The feds might not agree

Thinking of buying an island? Think twice about legally naming it after yourself.

The U.S. Board of Geographic Names won’t allow it, as David and Tamra Marabella found out after purchasing the 1.6-acre unnamed island in 2015. It’s tucked between Florida’s Fanny Keys and Palm Island on the bayside of Marathon’s Old Town.

Marathon City Council members on Tuesday unanimously approved of the island being named Bella Mar Key.

“They bought it. They can name it whatever they want,” said Mayor Mark Senmartin.

But that’s not exactly true, seeing as how the government board has a policy requiring that if the land is to be named after a person, he or she must have been dead for five years.

“The usual thinking is that you could possibly name something after someone living and they could do something horrendous,” said Lou Yost, executive secretary for the Board of Geographic Names.

The name Bella Mar translates to “Beautiful Sea.” Now, the Monroe County Commission will vote on the island name at its meeting on Wednesday at the Marathon Government Center.

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