Speed, Scandal, and the High Seas: The Don Aronow Story

This video from the 1980s, narrated by historic television personality Tom Brokaw, explores the enthralling and dangerous intersection of speed, power, and crime in Miami, revolving around the life and legacy of Don Aronow, a legendary figure in the world of power boating. Aronow, portrayed as a blend of daredevil, engineering genius, and master self-promoter, was a towering figure in the Miami boating scene, known for his company that produced the iconic Cigarette boats. These vessels, synonymous with speed and luxury, became symbols of Miami's affluent, thrill-seeking society but also played a significant role in the darker underworld of drug smuggling.

The story unfolds with the murder of Aronow, who was gunned down in his car in a gangland-style assassination, casting a shadow over his celebrated status. Despite his connections with high-profile figures, including politicians and law enforcement, Aronow's dealings were not just with society's elite but also with its criminal elements. His murder led to a deeper investigation into the nexus between high-speed boating and narcotics trafficking, revealing a complex web of relationships and transactions.

Aronow's business achievements included securing a lucrative contract with the US Customs Service to build Blue Thunder catamarans intended to intercept drug smugglers. This deal, however, was tainted by his subsequent sale of the company and the contract to Ben Kramer, a known drug smuggler. This transaction highlighted the blurred lines between legitimate business and criminal activity, casting a pall over Aronow's legacy and the glamorous world of power boating he epitomized.

The investigation into Aronow's murder and the related money laundering schemes exposed the deep entanglement of the power boat industry with drug trafficking and organized crime. The revelations about Aronow's connections and the origins of the boats used by Customs to combat drug smuggling added a layer of irony to the tragic narrative, underscoring the complexities and contradictions of Miami's drug war era.

This story, as reported by Tom Brokaw, not only captures the essence of a tumultuous time in Miami's history but also reflects on the broader themes of ambition, corruption, and the high cost of living life in the fast lane.

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