The Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) has created an online survey to gather thoughts and opinions on Florida anchoring rights and the process being undertaken to propose draft legislation to allow municipalities to restrict anchoring in the state public waters within their geographical boundaries. You do NOT need to be an SSCA member to take the survey, it doesn’t ask for your email address, and it takes only about 10 minutes. Here’s the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SSCAANCHORING2014
SSCA will be representing their membership and boaters in general at the upcoming meetings (Vero Beach, Sep. 3; Bradenton, Sep. 4). It has been working for years with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), landowners, boaters, and legislators to come up with workable solutions to deal with anchored derelict, abandoned and long-term live-aboard boats without affecting cruising boats. SSCA helped immensely with the current FWC Anchoring & Mooring Pilot Program, and, whether you’re for or against it, excessive anchoring restrictions were mostly avoided by going through a thoughtful process, in my opinion. It could have been a lot worse.
Now, for the “lot worse” – FWC seems to be under pressure from certain municipalities who did not participate in the Pilot Program, but want to restrict anchoring. In the July 2014 meeting, a framework for proposed draft legislation was established and will be further discussed at the upcoming meetings (a public comment period will follow). The proposed concepts for consideration and comment include no-anchoring zone distances from private waterfront property (300′ is noted) and public facilities – mooring fields, boat ramps, marinas, etc… – (150′ is noted), plus conditions that would exclude boats from being stored at anchor. (See http://www.waterwayguide.com/waterway-updates/news/GEN/4185/ALERT-Florida-anchoring-regulations-meetings-announced for details of the proposed concepts, plus more information about the two meetings in September.)
If you are a Florida resident, please also let your legislators know how you feel about your freedom to anchor. If you are a cruiser anywhere and have not already, consider joining SSCA – it not only helps defend anchoring rights in Florida and practically everywhere else, it is a great gathering of local, coastal and world-wide cruisers with a lot of resources and events. But either way, please take the survey. Here’s the link again: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SSCAANCHORING2014
Mike Ahart, News Editor, Waterway Guide