The Mangolis amendment to SB 1126 failed.
The bill SB1126 passed!
A special thanks to all those who made their position known to their respective representative.
Another good day for cruisers in Florida!
The hostile Gonzalez amendment failed. The Bill HR 955 was passed by the Florida House [today, April23].
It was a close vote 50 to 67.
Phil & Monica Johnson + Katherine Lucia
URGENT MEDIA ALERT:
Anti-Boating Legislation Debated in Florida House Tomorrow:
BoatUS Asks Boaters to Speak Up Now
TALLAHASSEE, Fl., April 22, 2014 – A last-minute amendment snuck in under the radar to be attached to a piece of pending Fish and Wildlife legislation in the Florida House of Representatives and Senate could throw out a statewide effort to develop consistent and rational anchoring options for cruising boaters and severely impact anchoring in some of the most important areas along Florida’s coasts, says Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). The national boating advocacy group, with over 100,000 members in the Sunshine state, is urging boaters and the boating industry to speak up now against the “Margolis/Gonzalez Amendment” which would establish a dangerous precedent for the rest of the state and completely ignore an ongoing Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission anchoring pilot program.
Florida Senator Gwen Margolis (Miami Beach) and Representative Eduardo “Eddy” Gonzalez (Miami Springs) introduced companion amendments to House Bill 955 and Senate Bill 1126 (the Florida Fish and Wildlife Bills) that would allow Miami-Dade and Broward Counties to restrict anchoring. The Florida House of Representatives is voting on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Bill tomorrow, Wednesday, April 23, and will consider adding the Margolis/Gonzalez Amendment that would allow Miami-Dade and Broward Counties to restrict anchoring.
“We need all boaters in Florida to contact their state representatives immediately without delay and ask them to pass a ‘clean bill’ without the amendment in order to stop this anti-boater initiative,” said BoatUS President Margaret Podlich. “The proposed Margolis/Gonzalez Amendment directly counters the state’s on-going pilot anchoring program, and leaves boaters to the whims of any special interest who decides they don’t want boats anchoring in their community.”
Added Podlich, “Recreational boating in Florida has a $10.35 billion economic impact. For a number of years BoatUS and our members in Florida have worked tirelessly to prohibit localities from enacting a patchwork of laws and ordinances that restrict the anchoring of non-live-aboard vessels outside permitted mooring fields. We want to ensure that the active, responsible, cruising boaters continue to have an array of options, including anchoring out, using moorings and tying up at docks. We do not want to go back to the old, and broken, system of confusing local laws which make legitimate cruisers unwelcome in local waters.”
BoatUS says boaters can go to:
to easily email their legislators
to call them!
It seems that out of state boaters are a BIG target for Florida state revenue, or local exclusion – “don’t anchor in my front yard.” Thousands of “tourists” spend the winter months in Florida, arriving by auto and RV. The stores, owners of rental property, restaurants, etc. are overjoyed to have the revenue that the “snowbirds” bring into the State. Boaters also bring revenue, although in fewer dollars, since there are fewer boaters. But boaters seem to be targeted, since they are easier to identify and track. This is anti-interstate commerce, which is controlled by the federal government. What is wrong with the Floridians? The waters are public waters. The politicians are too sensitive to local quacks who want to control everything.
My wife and I keep our boat in a wet slip at a marina in Florida all year, as we have for the past four years. We spend 5 – 6 months per year cruising Florida waters. Sometimes we stay at marinas and sometimes we anchor but we anchor about 75% of the time. This past season, 2013-2014 we spent approximately $10,000.00 while in Florida waters fishing, dining out, buying groceries, buying fuel, buying clothing, paying for repairs, paying for slip rentals and a good deal more. If our anchoring rights as guaranteed by the US Constitution and the State of Florida Constitution are infringed upon in any way we would be forced to spend our time and money in a more boater friendly environment. Since the marine industry is the second largest revenue producer in the state of Florida, the legislature should do everything possible to attract and maintain this enormous revenue base. Restricting anchoring would NOT attract or maintain this revenue base.
Louis F. Spagna, PMP, CQA
Wow, Florida seems to be intent on making the state a home for the wealthy and to trample on the rights of American citizens. Evidently, ocean view and access is for those who donate big bucks to elected officials.
Those of us who use the waterways and anchorages in Florida while spending significant dollars are of no value to the State. Regulations making it difficult to spend money in Florida make it easier to sail to the Bahamas or Mexico or other places than to leisurely sail through Florida.
Rep. Gonzalez, Most cruisers who travel to or through Florida waters on their way to the Bahamas are respectful of all water oriented people and places. This includes water front homes , public places and state and federal parks and lands. When it becomes to much trouble to “head south” through Florida waters many cruisers will bypass these waters and head straight for the islands. Thank you for you time.
Richard and Sue Schneider
I have no doubt that this legislation was created in reaction to some influential handful of connected citizens who don’t want somebody anchoring in front of their view. Strange, if I could afford waterfront property I would relish the prospect of seeing boats anchored there. In any case, the average citizen is completely unaware of this initiative, and if they knew would probably oppose it. Unfortunately, being transients, those that anchor out have no political clout or leverage. Local marine businesses are not always supportive of anchored boats, with marinas often actively behind some of these anti-anchoring laws. The harsh reality is that well-connected locals and businessmen will continue to push this type of not-in-my-backyard type of legislation. Luckily, these places will be in the vast minority, and there are always other, more friendly waters to visit where I will go to anchor and support local business.
Your article covered every thing that was important. We have a problem in st. augustine that has passed city counsel w/ prepaid mooring, if things make no reasonable understanding they pass it, no vote required as a tourist town, city counsel hold all the cards. thank you for writing the article, respectfully