Mayor plans to cross Florida Straits on makeshift raft

U.S. Coast Guard, Cuban migrants
In this image taken on Jan. 4, 2016, released by the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard personnel left, try to assist a group of Cuban migrants on a makeshift vessel in the Florida Straits. The U.S. Coast Guard says it's documenting increasing instances of violence and non-compliance at sea among Cuban migrants. (U.S. Coast Guard via AP)

DEBARY, Fla. (AP) — The mayor of a central Florida city is planning to visit Cuba and return home on a makeshift raft so he can better understand what Cuban migrants go through when crossing the Florida Straits.

DeBary Mayor Clint Johnson tells the Daytona Beach News-Journal he plans to visit Cuba in mid-April. He says he understands the risks of crossing the Straits on a raft, adding he loves “living outside the box.”

RELATED: These airlines have applied for the following routes to Cuba

Johnson says he’ll go to Havana with his wife, bringing along bolts and oar locks. He plans to obtain other pieces for his raft in Cuba.

The 30-year-old says he hopes to reach Key West in about two days.

He says he qualified for a license to travel to Cuba under professional research or journalism reasons. He’ll blog about his trip.

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