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  • Anchoring Rights Lobbying Volunteers Needed

    If you are able to participate in person with the lobbying efforts in Tallahassee, please contact Mike Bodin. Even if you are uncomfortable offering personal testimony, your presence in the group is a big help. See http://cruisersnet.net/162138.

    ANCHORING RIGHTS VOLUNTEERS NEEDED READ MORE!

    Marine Trawler Owners Association 2/10/17
    As many of you know, we have formed a coalition of boating groups to represent our “Boaters’ Rights” position with force in Tallahassee. Donations from fellow boaters (primarily AGLCA, MTOA, SSCA, and DeFever) allowed us to secure Capitol Access as our lobbyists.

    At times, we must also show up in person to serve as a visual commitment to the legislative committee in Tallahassee to support our position to legislators.

    Presently, we are conducting a general survey of boaters who might be able to assist.

    This would entail a day commitment two or three times during the legislative session in Tallahassee to attend committee hearings.

    We need Florida boating residents as well as out of state users of the AICW for in-person testimonials at the state capitol. In Tallahassee, anchoring committee hearings will commence within the near future and about a dozen boating representatives are needed. They will testify in person to committee members expressing their desire to anchor, the burden of not being able to anchor, as well as, their use of the AICW.

    Anchoring committee dates have not yet been scheduled but we should prepare for this future event and coordinate our presentations.

    If you can be available to participate please contact me.

    Mike Bodin
    MTOA Public Advocate
    (captmike12@gmail.com)

    And from AGLCA:

    Unfortunately, I haven’t had a rush of volunteers sign-up for our new Advocacy and Fundraising Committees since my post Monday. Thanks to your generosity, the fundraising is not an immediate issue. But we do need some help on the advocacy committee. Bills pertaining to anchoring are expected to be introduced in the near-term by legislative committees in Florida. As they are issued, I’ll be looking to a small group of members to provide feedback on which provisions are acceptable to us, and which are not. If you are willing to provide this feedback, but are hesitant to “officially” join the advocacy committee, please email me.
    Kim Russo
    Director
    America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association
    krusso@greatloop.org
    843.879.5030

  • Many New Comments on Florida Anchoring Rights Flip Flop

    Since first posted in November, this essay by Dick Mills has elicited many lively pros and cons, all obviously with heart felt sentiment!

    This essay on anchoring and the “apartment yacht” comes from our good friend and longtime cruiser, Dick Mills.

    I read something in the news that made me sit up straight and think, “OMG it’s time to flip flop on the anchoring rights issue.”

    The news item said that entrepreneurs in the Miami-Lauderdale area were buying up old boats, anchoring them, and then renting them out to all comers as a very affordable kind of apartment. Considering the high rents for apartments in those areas, those apartment yachts should be very popular.

    Today, the apartment yacht story is merely an amusement. But then I thought back to the 2004/2005 hurricanes in Florida. Those storms left behind tens of thousands of damaged vessels that the insurance companies were in a hurry to declare totaled. Many could still float fine, and could be bought as salvage for pennies on the dollar.

    I envision the years following the next big Florida hurricane when these apartment yachts by the thousands fill up all available spaces in all our favorite anchorages. (Where would they land their dinghies? The landlord may become wealthy enough to provide a launch service for his tenants.) If that happens, then I expect that it is we boaters who will be leading the charge for legal restrictions on anchoring. If we are smart, we’ll start now before the fact.

    Of all the things I’ve read, one proposal seems to address the anchoring problem while making the least intrusion on cruisers. That is simply restricting the time a vessel can be anchored in one place to one week. Starting now, I am going to begin supporting that proposal.

    Dick Mills

  • Former Harbormaster Addresses Anchoring and Anchoring Rights

    Roger Long, a former Maine harbormaster and longtime cruiser, speaks on the issue of anchoring as a right and our responsibilities as boaters. He might be “preaching to the choir”, but he makes good points.

    It has amazed me for the decades I have been following the FL anchoring issue that virtually no one ever brings up the essential point. This is the one that the boating community should be hammering, hammering, hammering home. It should be the primary talking point and sound bite because it addresses both sides of the issue and is rooted in the underlying common law.

    The “Second Amendment” of our anchoring rights is the freedom of navigation enshrined in maritime law. A vessel is only navigating if it is capable of movement. That means not only having propulsion but competent crew on board. Anchoring an unattended vessel is poor seamanship as anchors drag. (Attended can mean being ashore shopping and sightseeing but with an eye on the weather and means for promptly returning to the vessel.) The main point is that there should be different requirements for vessels engaged in navigation and occupied and vessels without power or which do not have crew close enough at hand to return within a short period of time.

    I will not anchored my vessel overnight unattended as it is irresponsible to other craft and poor seamanship. If you take a road trip, the vessel should be on a mooring or in a marina. FL should simply make it illegal to leave a vessel at anchor unattended overnight. If it is not navigation they have every right to restrict anchoring. If it is navigation, restrictions should be minimal. Navigation requires that a crew be on board or capable of being on board quickly as well as a means of propulsion.

    BTW, I am a former Harbormaster from Maine.

    Roger Long

  • A Conclusion to Florida Anchoring Rights Issue?

    The anchoring rights issues raised in Florida Senate Bill 1548 have thankfully been laid to rest, for now at least, as reported below by Kim Russo, Director of America’s Great Loop Cruising Association. See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=147397 for background information on SB 1548.
    A belated Bravo to all individuals and organizations that facilitated the non-passage of any bill with anchoring restrictions. Keep your collective fingers crossed for a future non-passage!

    The Florida Legislature adjourned today without making anchoring restrictions law in Florida! So anchorages in Florida, for now, remain open to overnight cruisers. Following is a release from Phil Johnson, the Chair of Seven Seas Cruising Association’s Concerned Cruisers’ Committee:

    Release: 28 April 2015, Tallahassee Florida
    The 2015 Florida Regular Legislative Session has come to a close. It occurred 3 days earlier than scheduled by way of the House adjourning. We are elated to report that the freedom to anchor in Coastal Florida waters remains intact. Not one bill was adopted that includes any bans on anchoring.

    We applaud the way that the cruising and boating family came together this session, became organized, developed a clear strategy and then implemented it in a methodical, controlled way. We are proud of our association with
    the Lobbing firm Capitol Access and Lobbyist Jerry Paul, Robert Shave, and Jamie Miller. We are also appreciative of our team mates at Boat US and especially Bonnie Basham.

    Special thanks to the crew that worked so hard on this by attending the hearings and working the rigging from off-shore via their keyboards. At the risk of leaving someone out, We especially applaud the efforts of Judy Mkam, Kim Russo, Jim Neff, Mike Bodin, Phil Werndli, Jackie Werndli, G.W. “Casey” Jones, Bob Burns, Sue Ross, Kingsley Ross, Sally Marcinek, Becky DeVillier, Eric Eiscle, Brian Davidson, Brian Schaefer, Glenn and Eddie Tuttle, Scott Berg, Ken Chumley, Jay Campbell, Dave Skolnick, Wally Moran, Mike Ahart, Mark Doyle. These, and so many others in the extended online community, are true Salt Water Heroes.

    Remember, of course, that this annual process begins again tomorrow. There is an ongoing need to work through some of the problems raised by proponents of anchoring legislation. We will need to formulate a position on this and come to a reasonably amicable resolution so that this issue does not continue to a recurring threat. We are confident that we can do this in a way that does not eliminate the freedom to anchor throughout Florida’s coast. There will be a host of workshops held this summer and we will want our boating community to actively participate through their
    visible attendance. Also, we will need to continue building our political strength and this will require that we provide some support for our growing list of legislative champions. If you have not donated to the Fund Me drive, now is the time to help us pay the bills for this effort.
    http://www.Gofundme.com/Right2Anchor

    It is safe to celebrate. To all those captains and sailors at anchor in Florida today (or contemplating it), raise a glass to toast Maritime Freedom!
    Kim Russo
    Director
    America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association

    Larry, In my opinion, the declaration that we have won regarding the Florida anchoring restriction Bill is a bit premature. The Bill was not passed because the Florida Legislature decided to close down early and go home. This Bill and many others are just sitting and waiting for the Legislature to reconvene. Once they return, the Bill could very well come up for immediate vote or the compromise House Bill could be adopted. So we shouldn’t crack the champagne corks just yet. The Bill was not defeated, it has simply not been voted on…YET?
    Chuck Baier and Susan Landry
    The Great Book Of Anchorages
    Navigation Notices
    Our Blogs
    Trawler Beach House
    Voyages of Sea Trek

  • John J. Kettlewell on SB 1548, Florida Anchoring Rights Bill

    Renowned author and longtime cruiser, John J. Kettlewell, addresses the many contradictory issues raised by a current bill before the Florida legislature, SB 1548. To read the bill, go to: http://cruisersnet.net/?p=147397 and http://cruisersnet.net/?p=147455. While the restrictions to anchoring found in this bill pertain only to Florida, those restrictions, if enacted, might well find their way into restrictions imposed by other coastal states.

    Anti-Anchoring Bill is Anti-Safety
    John J. Kettlewell

    Once again Florida boaters and cruisers from all over are fighting an ill-conceived anti-anchoring bill (SB 1548 [link to: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2015/1548/BillText/Filed/PDF]) that purports to be about “safety,” but in reality would limit the number of safe harbors to a handful in much of the state. The main thrust of the bill prohibits overnight anchoring within 200 feet of most developed parts of Florida. As has been discussed here and in many places online, this measure would essentially outlaw all overnight anchoring in many popular places such as Manatee Pocket, anywhere in Ft. Lauderdale, most of Miami, Marathon, and most of North Lake Worth.

    All of these locations, and many more, are where cruisers routinely anchor safely while waiting for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas, or just to ride out a stretch of bad weather. I have done so in all of these places. During the peak winter season it is highly likely that there would be no marina berths available in these same locations, mooring fields would be full, and there would be no alternative but to keep moving night and day despite the weather. Even with the current availability of anchorages it is very difficult to find a marina berth or a mooring in high season.

    Sure, there are safety exceptions in the proposed law, for “mechanical breakdown or when imminent or existing extreme weather conditions impose an unreasonable risk of harm.” Who is to judge whether or not the weather is “extreme,” and whether or not it poses an “unreasonable risk of harm?” Am I supposed to move on in a gale because it isn’t “extreme?”

    Even in good weather what would an ordinary cruiser do? It is impractical and dangerous to run the ICW 24/7, and sometimes even if the weather isn’t “extreme” it is very difficult and uncomfortable to proceed outside down the coast while fighting the Gulf Stream. In short, this bill makes safe and comfortable cruising all but impossible in south Florida, and makes it very difficult in the entire state.

    Cruising boaters are above all else safety conscious. We spend thousands of dollars on safety equipment far in excess of any Coast Guard or other regulations. We do so to protect our lives and property, often valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    At the same time, we enjoy visiting new places where we can anchor safely, go ashore, enjoy restaurants and shopping, re-provision our vessels, and purchase marine equipment. On various trips to Florida I have spent many thousands of dollars specifically on safety equipment: liferafts, epirbs, radios, safety harnesses, anchoring gear, satellite phones, etc. etc. Most cruisers will not go where they would be forced to operate their boats in an unsafe manner, which is what this law would do.

    To anyone who has cruised Florida it is obvious that this bill would “impose an unreasonable risk of harm” to boaters on a regular basis. This is more than an anti-anchoring bill–it is anti-safety and anti-boating.

    John J. Kettlewell
    Author of Intracoastal Waterway Chartbook Norfolk to Miami, 6th Edition

    kettlewell

  • More on SB 1548, Proposed Legislation on Florida Anchoring Rights

    Our thanks to Capt. John Kettlewell for sending this KeysInfoNet article concerning SB 1548 Florida Anchoring Rights – see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=147397 for the full text of the bill and for additional comments.

    Proposed state bill would push some liveaboard boaters further out from shore
    By WILLIAM AXFORD
    March 18, 2015
    Liveaboard boaters anchored outside designated mooring fields in the Keys and elsewhere in Florida may have to find new locations to anchor if a bill in the state Legislature passes.

    Senate Bill 1548 aims to restrict vessels from anchoring within 200 feet of waterfront homes and designated mooring fields between one hour past sunset and one hour before sunrise. If passed, the 200-foot buffer would go into effect July 1, trumping at least the city of Marathon’s 50-foot buffer rule.

    ARTICLE NO LONGER AVAILABLE

  • [EXPIRED] Advocacy for Anchoring Rights in Florida

    Seven Seas Cruising Association has long been a strong advocate for boaters’ rights. Below are invitations to a Webinar and to Membership in the Association. Please remember that the struggle for anchoring rights is not exclusive to Florida; restrictions in one state will eventually affect other states.

    Hi Larry,
    Seven Seas Cruising Association has been very involved in protecting anchoring rights for all boaters, especially those in Florida. I thought your readers might be interested in the information below.

    Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) has been representing both their members and boaters everywhere at recent Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) hearings about anchoring rights, laws, and regulations in Florida. After several years of even-handed work with landowners and boaters the approach of FWC in the latest hearings is of some concern.

    The “devil is in the details” of course. FWC seems to be under a great deal of pressure to allow local regulation of anchoring in Florida. In particular, stand-off distances from mooring fields, from marine infrastructure (ramps, marinas, and other publicly accessible facilities), and private waterfront property were discussed. In addition, time limits on anchoring were proposed.

    Phil Johnson is chair of SSCA’s Concerned Cruisers Committee. He was named SSCA’s 2014 Member of the Year for his efforts on lobbying on behalf of Cruisers’ Rights. As Chair of the Concerned Cruisers’ Committee, Phil’s tireless advocacy of cruisers’ rights from New England to Florida and beyond has been of great benefit to all boaters. SSCA salutes his thoughtful, professional and successful approach, whether the issue is anchoring rights, over-aggressive marine policing, or mooring field management.

    Whether you reside in Florida, pass through Florida on your boat or are just concerned about boaters rights in general, you’ll be interested in the upcoming Seven Seas U webinar, “A Florida Anchoring Update” presented by Phil Johnson on January 6. Phil will update you on the very latest attempts for local Florida communities to restrict your ability to drop the hook in a safe anchorage. Everyone needs to be informed and involved to ensure our anchoring rights are preserved.

    The webinar will help you understand why this issue is important to all boaters and will let you know just what the Florida FWC plans. You’ll also hear the results of the August-September Anchoring Survey and their implications.
    The webinar is free to SSCA members and just $10 for non-members. Go to www.SevenSeasU.com for more informaiton and to register.

    If you are a Florida resident please let your legislators know how you feel about freedom to anchor. If you are a cruiser, sail or power, your membership in SSCA supports defense of your anchoring rights (among many other things) in Florida and elsewhere. Go to www.ssca.org to find out more.

    Thank you,
    Barbara Theisen
    Editor
    Seven Seas Cruising Association

  • Petition Concerning Florida Anchoring Rights

    Our good friend Wally Moran is circulating a petition concerning anchoring rights in Florida. The petition will be sent to Governor Rick Scott and the Legislative Assembly of Florida. If you are hesitant to sign petitions, you may choose to withhold your name.

    Other states, even other countries, are watching what Florida is doing. If these laws pass, they could have an impact on your cruising grounds. Please sign, and share, and protect all of our rights to the water.

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/323/655/890/stop-floridas-attempts-to-limit-access-to-public-waterways/#

  • St. Petersburg: Nothing SAINTLY About It! – A Special Anchoring Rights Report From Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd

    January 27th 2012

    St. Petersburg: Nothing SAINTLY About It!
    by Charmaine Smith Ladd

    Somebody grab the Brasso: St. Petersburg’s halo is badly tarnished! For a city who sports the motto of “Always In Season,” with their proposed anchoring ordinances it appears St. Pete is attempting to replace their friendly olive branch with a thorny Russian Olive branch and advertise instead: “Always Off Season” to cruisers.

    Essentially, what St. Petersburg’s ordinances propose is no access to downtown St. Pete for cruisers visiting the area. Is this the way to treat tourists? Imagine arriving by car and seeing a sign at the City Limits stating “Non-residents limited to a 72-hour stay.” Is this the Wild Wild West of old, “Hey stranger, we don’t like your kind ’round here. You best be out of town by sundown.” Am I in a time warp? Is this the Twilight Zone or is it the 21st century and someone has laced Florida’s oranges! It is all nothing short of madness.

    To ban liveaboards from anchoring is totally contrary to FL Statute, in fact it is blatant discrimination. There is absolutely no justification for it. It is as if to say anyone who lives aboard their vessel and does not navigate the waters is guilty of something and considered an undesirable. This rationale will ultimately lead to Florida returning to the “No Liveaboards Allowed” status they had years ago in marinas. Most marinas allowed it, but on the down low so as not to get a rise of their neighborhood watch monitors. Many of us have worked very hard to quell the fears marinas had of those who chose to live aboard. If we allow this to be done to liveaboards, then cruisers will be next. Of this, I have no doubt. These municipalities want you either in the cookie cutter mode of society or you’re out. This is the 21st Century, but apparently Florida does not know times have changed. Prejudice is prejudice–be it against color, creed, or aimed at those who live aboard a vessel rather than a house on land. Ignorance always fuels such prejudice. This situation is no different in that regard.

    What St. Petersburg will have to do is define when a cruiser becomes a liveaboard. This is the danger of their ordinance. Many cities already have tried to do this. Most recently in Stuart, the city in Florida that in 2008 had an ordinance stating after 72 hours at anchor a boat becomes a “Liveaboard.” It was immediately challenged and removed. This is the can of worms that St. Petersburg is opening again. It is an enormous problem. Derelict vessels has become “Derelict People.” Some cannot see through their greed and fear that either the derelicts will rob their house when they are gone, or that a boat on the water has a better view than they do! Either way, it’s ridiculous.

    The Pilot Program is perpetuating myths that allow those who only really want a clear view of the horizon a manner by which to kill the dream of living aboard. There are no other reasons as the excuses drummed up simply do not wash. We all know that millions of gallons of raw sewage gets dumped into Florida waters quite routinely. The septic systems for the homes that built where there used to be swamp (basically all of Florida) are not adequate and constantly seep or spill over into Florida’s waters. Sewage from boaters is nothing in comparison. Even the Department of Environmental Protection does not blame boaters for the pollution of Florida’s waters: they know better. We have orange groves that use fertilizers that pollute our waters, golf courses don’t stay green naturally. These pollutants all come from LAND. Should we as boaters begin to demand golf courses and orange groves be banned and houses torn down because they are the largest contributors to pollution in Florida waters? That would be absurd, would it not?

    Now that the cat is out of the bag on the ridiculousness of using boater sewage as a health issue that should be regulated, the powers that be are no longer using it. Yet it still remains on the Pilot Program agenda as an objective with which to be dealt. That is irresponsible, in my opinion, as it is misleading and arguably an untruth. So that takes us to the derelict and abandoned boat problem.

    If only these areas would deal with that very real problem: derelict vessels. Derelict vessels most often are those that have been stored for years. You know the “fixer uppers” that people can’t seem not to buy but purchase and let it for years. At some point, someone takes it off their hands for a few dollars and it continues to sit. Out of sight, out of mind. It sits there and rots. Most of these stored vessels are owned by those who live on land.

    There is a lot of ignorance about the lifestyle of those who live aboard be they cruisers or not. As if those who do are an alien species to be eradicated. The freedom to choose one’s lifestyle is there for everyone. Sure, there are bad apples in every walk of life…as we all know, there are millions more on land than on the water, yet severely restricting or ridding waters of inhabited boats will make the world a better place? It is laughable.

    Rather than resort to blanket ordinances that infringe on the inalienable rights of others in their pursuit of happiness, those who complain about boaters need to realize they do not own the water. Their ordinances are Constitutionally unsound because there are laws in place to handle those who break the law — be they on the water or on land. USE THEM. But give someone an inch and they’ll take a nautical mile! The adage doesn’t quite go that way, but tailoring it to make a point here certainly fits.

    To the powers that be in St. Petersburg, you are not listening to your public. It is evident to me that the waters of St. Petersburg are being held as if owned by those who live in homes there. If we allow such reasoning to go unchecked, waters held in the public trust for use by the public will be gated and available only to those in similar tax brackets — just as their land communities are. It will never end.

    The Pilot Program, in my opinion, has done far more harm than good for the State of Florida. We are throwing the baby out with the bath! The remainder of the States are laughing at us…one of the oldest Ports in the U.S. should know by now how to get it right and be an example of how things can work amicably between sailors and landlubbers. But noooo. The world must think mainland Florida has lost its mind. You can’t kill sailing and living aboard, people…remember, it’s how you got here!

    Tourists are tourists, commerce is commerce, and effectively your proposed ordinances are saying “We don’t want you here.” If you say that to citizens of the US, what do you say to foreign visitors? It’s shameful. President Obama is pushing hard to tout America as THE place for tourism. I don’t think St. Petersburg got the memo. So suck it up and get out the Brasso. Restore the saintly shine that halo of St. Petersburg and let it be the Port of the PUBLIC. Shake out your Unwelcome Mat and replace it with a Welcome Mat! Live up to your motto: “Always In Season.”

    Charmaine Smith Ladd, SSECN Special Correspondent & Representative
    Executive Director, Mariner’s BARR (Boaters’ Anchoring Rights & Responsibilities)
    csmithladd@marinersbarr.org

    Great report! The sad thing is that the laws they propose don’t solve the problems they say they are worried about. Derelict boats aren’t anchored in downtown St. Pete, and in any case existing laws can and should be used to take care of them. All these laws do is impact legitimate transient boaters who wish to visit St. Pete. I have read elsewhere that occupancy in their mooring field is very low–this is also a push to try to force people to pay for those moorings.
    John Kettlewell

  • Press Release Describes New Boating Rights Organization – “BARR” (Boaters’ Anchoring Rights & Responsibilities)

    The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net unreservedly voices its support for “BARR” (follow link below), and we heartily recommend this organization to the entire cruising community!
    One of, if not “the,” prime mover in organizing BARR is Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net’s very special Florida Keys Correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd. You go get em girl!!!!!

    Click Here To View the BARR Press Release

  • Captain Charmine Comments on Reaction to Her Latest Florida Anchoring Rights Article

    Captain Charmaine’s message below is actually a reaction to multiple comments received in response to her latest article concerning developments vis-a-via the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program in the Florida Keys (see http://www.CruisersNet.net/update-on-floridas-pilot-program-marathon-fl-mpac-meeting-held). However, I knew this article would get more visibility published as a fresh posting. so here it is.
    If you are at all interested in the question of Florida anchoring rights, PLEASE read Captain Charmaine’s thoughts below. They are worthy of every cruisers’ time and attention!

    Thank you all for your comments. Public outrage is exactly what is needed to stop this gross manipulation of the law by a few at the total dismissal of the expressed wants of the majority. It is even more stomach turning when one realizes the “chosen” sites for the Pilot Program are mostly comprised of the same cities that have been caught red-handed enacting and enforcing illegal anchoring ordinances. They lost in court, yet they continue to flex their muscles once again by creating a ploy to go around existing law.
    Law enforcement is caught in the middle of a political game and are being used to do the bidding of a few powerful people. The Pilot Program is a tool being used to dictate to law enforcement how to enforce the otherwise unenforceable. The politicians who backed the Pilot Program will distance themselves and run for cover once the general public grasps the enormity of the Pilot Program’s hidden agenda and total disregard for the protection of boats in navigation under the law. FL Statute 327.60(2) was written to shut the door on their attempts–the Pilot Program does not have to adhere to that Statute. Does it make it right to concoct an instrument that circumvents existing law? The Right of Navigation includes anchoring.
    Those who want to own the land and the water shall not succeed if we stand together to expose their greed and arrogance. Safety at sea is priority one. It should also be the FWC’s number one priority. Where it is permissible to anchor and for what length of time should not be a concern for any captain whose thoughts should be concentrated on safety first and foremost. This is a recipe for disaster. A captain may, in his or her haste to avoid an anchoring violation, leave an area under pressure when it otherwise would be prudent to stay. It is obvious that landlubbers who know nothing of why the Right of Navigation is imperative to safety, are the driving force behind the Pilot Program and its open door to enacting anchoring time limit ordinances.
    Please write the FWC and send a copy of it to Boat US. Allow your objections to be on the record. It doesn’t matter where you live, as the waters of Florida are held in the Public Trust for all. There is power in numbers and we need to speak up. Tell others about this injustice. Our servicemen and servicewomen fight for the freedoms of others abroad, yet we are still fighting to retain freedoms among ourselves right here in America. That is a very sad state of affairs.
    Tim’s comment made me recall this quote:

    “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” – Patrick Henry

    Again, many thanks!
    Charmaine

  • Important – Boat/US Releases Revised Summary of Florida Anchoring Rights!!!!

    Our good friends at Boat/US have asked the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net to help get the word out that they have just released an updated statement of Florida Anchoring Right, which are specifically designed for the use of cruisers, while they are underway. Boat/US has rendered the Cruising Community a GREAT service by formulating this document. May we humbly suggest that one and all make as much use of it as possible!


  • Cruising Community Reaction to SSECN Anchoring Rights Editorial of 3/1/11

    It’s no surprise that we have had a storm of reaction to our Anchoring Rights Editoridal of 3/1/11 concerning the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program, and any corresponding no-anchor buffer zones. Many of the notes below are well reasoned, and make for very interesting reading!

    Bravo to all the people that have taken time and put the effort into protecting boaters in the USA who love to travel on our waterways!
    THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!
    Sam Warr

    Just a short “thank you” for your timely notification to cruisers. I’m sure that Judy and I can speak for many other cruiser/liveaboards in telling you how much we appreciate your ongoing efforts to keep us informed, and more important, where to express any opinions “for the record” Thank you!
    Judy and Dick from “St. Jude”

    For All Concerned With Florida Anchoring Rights: I noticed that the great majority of the responses have been with negative complaint and much not relavent. It is out of order for all those to compare anchoring in the northern states with the opportunities in Florida. Florida is burdened with the opportunity for people to use boats as low income housing, unlike New England or even the Chesapeake. It is impossible to discount the concerns of derelict vessels adrift and abandoned in Florida waters. As a Florida liveaboard who has been frequently anchoring in Florida waters since 1972, the problem is of great concern to me, but not without an acceptance of the problem that faces the state authorities and my own dissappointment with high risk debris on the water and on the shores.
    My first concern with solutions would be to encourage the FWC or any other authorities to enforce the existing regulations that would limit the number of high risk vessels at anchor. This would include the inspection of safety requirements such as anchor light presence and quality, including placement, timing and intensity as well as satisfactory marine sanitation devices.
    I would also consider other pressures upon anchoring rights as negotiable, such as the requirement of recorded pump out compliance or, the most fair solution, a requirement that anchoring in Florida be accompanied by liability insurance that would cover the removal or abandoned derelict vessels. It is not acceptable that the “solution” would be to eliminate the possibility of anchoring in arbitrary areas within a distance of a mooring field or including entire counties. Stewart and Nancie Force onboard Aythya since 1972
    Stewart Force

    As usual politics just makes a simple solution complex and confusing. Why don’t they simply pass a law placing a time limit on anchoring. Say thirty days and you have to move. Boats not adhering to the rules could be subject to whatever is deemed necessary. Fines, impoundment, salvage or whatever. I would think a thirty day limit, with a warning after 30 days, giving the owner 48 hours or so to move would be a reasonable and common sense approach. While this approach would work, and would eventually get rid of the derelicts, it would not generate any income for the cities/state. My biggest fear is this idea will continue to grow, and of course we all know that the mooring fields will be in the best possible anchorages. Making all who do not want to contribute to the local economy seek anchorages farther away and possibly in poor holding areas. As always, it’s just follow the money.
    Phil Prater

    I am leaving Florida and will never return.
    Ed Hart

    Our last Florida experience was in 2005. Never again will I take a boat into Florida waters. We have used Florida only to get to the Bahamas, but we now go offshore from Georgia so that we do not have to experience the state.
    M Don Surratt
    USCG Masters License

    Someone start up a support group for our anchoring rights, I will contribute!
    Capt. Sterling

    Hello Claiborne,
    I am now sans boat. The new owner of At Last when asked if he would be cruising Florida, said “No Thanks” The boat is now in the Pacific Northwest. They are allowed to anchor up there.
    Capt. Dave

    Towns all over New England have mooring fields, but in most of them you can anchor just outside the moorings as long as your swinging circle won’t interfere with the moored boats. In some very busy harbors, like Newport, there is a designated anchoring area in the middle of the harbor surrounded by moorings. It isn’t much room, but the town recognizes the need to still maintain some space for those who want to anchor.
    I have been disappointed in the mooring fields in Marathon and Ft. Myers Beach because they both essentially eliminate the entire anchoring area. It is particularly frustrating when you are there and many of the moorings are unoccupied, just taking up harbor room, and you would like to visit.
    John Kettlewell

    Hello Claiborne,
    Really appreciate your valuable contribution to the cruising community with the Cruiser’s Net. We’ve just returned to British Columbia, Canada after 8 years sailing the east coast aboard our vessel, “Meriah”.
    I know how important it is to fight the battle for Florida anchoring rights in this struggle over municipal control of the waterways. I’ve been there and had to negotiate the sometimes inconsistent local regulations.
    There is obviously a lack of appreciation for the social and economic benefits as a quickly expanding new generation of more affluent cruisers make their way into warmer waters. This is no longer the hippie migration of the 60’s and since Florida has always been a haven for retirement communities, you would think that Florida municipalities would embrace this new community of cruisers.
    The point that I would like to make has to do with education. Most Florida residents and municipalities have no idea of who the cruisers are these days and how the average cruiser conducts his or her life. There is little or no understanding of the challenges or requirements for the cruising community. So what about developing a significant and informative media presentation as an educational tool to go along with ongoing negotiations. A program such as this should go a long way in changing some of the inward looking attitudes and anxieties of local residents and their municipalities.
    Keep up the good work,
    Captain Larry Peck

    Every time this issue comes up, I ask myself, “Why do I even bother going to Florida?” I have no objection to reasonable restrictions, but when I’m made to feel unwelcome, I look for other places to spend money or visit.
    To me this seems to have become a situation like we have here in Maryland where “city expats” move to the country and complain about the farmer next door, or move to a small fishing town and complain about the smell of waterman next door.
    There has to be a way of impressing the municipal authorities of how much we do spend in their communities. I know this has become impractical today, but just prior to WW II, my father had a similar problem with his CCC Camp. He paid his troops in silver dollars and the next day the city fathers had a sudden change of heart, welcomed his presence and begged him to not do it again.
    Jim Davis

    Please do not let them put laws like those mentioned in place.We are losing our Freedom piece by piece.I will never use mooring fields and will never spend my money in their vicinity.
    Claus Gnaedig

    Thanks for the update. I live in TN and cruse the rivers but hope to travel to FL soon. I won’t be at the local meetings but will email anyone identified with my support to preserve mooring opportunities for boaters.
    It seams the real issue are the hulks and non-complient MSD. Why isn’t the FL FDEP and FWC solving this problem and leave crusers alone.
    Dan Coyle

    Buffer zones should be no larger than 1/2 mile from the edge of the mooring field depending on the shape of the waterway in question.
    Rick Cass

    Anyone who has anchored in Marathon FL. before the mooring field, knows what can happen to one of the best anchorages in the Florida Keys.
    Marvin R. Heide

    And with the narrow width of the Waterway in many Florida communities it doesn’t take much of a restriction on anchoring to essentially outlaw all anchoring. For example, I’ve seen the suggestion that no anchoring within 500 feet of a mooring field be the norm, but where would that allow you to anchor in a town like Daytona Beach? The entire width of the water that is deep enough for mooring or anchoring is probably less than 500 feet.
    John Kettlewell

    I was involved in the last attempt in Sarasota. It is a political nightmare. We will be happy to help build a collective voice on our site too.
    Sailmonster.com

    After 40 years of cruising,I conclude that removing natural anchorages and replacing them with expensive mooring fields goes against everything the cruiser is all about. We dont need balls and we rarely need marinas. Most of all we dont need ugly,boring Florida period. It is merely a stopping off point on the way to the Caribbean Islands… A straight run from Norfolk,Beaufort or Charleston makes far more sense to serious cruisers. Florida has destroyed itself from inside. Why waste good cruising dollars on inferior destinations. When all our tourist dollars vanish, the locals can fight over the remaining stopping off point.
    Its all about excessive greed and very stupid politicians who dont understand economics.
    Captain Dave Johnson

    I am against ANY no anchoring zones in Florida. Any rules can be circumvented. Played properly, anti-anchorage politicians can beat their drum to citizens in the majority……low ond medium income……..that it is unfair for their tax dollars to pay for facilities used by “rich men”; showers, docks, etcetera, and effectively gut any funding for the mooring fields. In effect, you’ll end up with no mooring field, AND a no mooring buffer zone.
    I believe any cruising boater should be able to moor ANYWHERE that does not restrict navigation. “Boat squaters” living aboard hulks can be evicted by using current Federal sewage laws, when they can be proven to be breaking them. Otherwise, rich autocrats have ZERO business deciding if another mans boat is a “proper” boat.
    Unless live aboards are breaking the law by dumping raw sewage into our waters, no one should have the power to dictate to them that they cannot anchor ANYWHERE they chose to do so.
    Compromising with the devil is still a compromise. I suggest boaters of all social strata have an “anchor up”, and cover the water in boats, as a protest against any infringement on anchoring rights.
    ARMED and ANCHORED; get used to it.
    Jim

    We cruise Florida and the east coast extensively. Thank you for keeping the cruising community informed about t the developments surrounding this issue.
    I understand both sides of the concern. For example, we cruise the St. Johns River often. There is a great anchorage behind Turkey Island, but the best spot in that anchorage is occupied by an abandoned house boat that has been there for three years. I have also seen the trash hulks in Key west and St. Augustine that I have to believe are dangerous to the occupants. On the other hand, most of the people living on these boats have low paying jobs and they have to live somewhere. We don’t support forcing people out of their homes just because their house looks like a wreck.
    I would suggest there needs to be a reasonable compromise on buffer zones around mooring fields, perhaps just enough to make it somewhat difficult for anyone to commute to shore on a regular basis. Two miles might be a good number. Having said that, I’m curious about how these buffer zones would be communicated to cruisers anmd how they would be enforced. Also, what happens if the mooring field is full and a boat arrives in the area needing a place to stop for the night?
    I completed the great loop last year, and I can tell you there is a real need for a way to clean up all the derelict boats that are strewn along our waterways. At the same time, safety of mariners shoukld trump public outrage at unsightly derelict boats. A reasonable compromise must be reached.
    I would be happy to attend any meetings in the central florida (Tampa to Daytona) area, and thanks again for your work an behalf of all cruisers.
    Cpt. Bill Root

    Thanks for the update!
    Please let us know when & where the meetings are scheduled!
    Bureaucracy at it’s finest oh how they try to justify their jobs & numbers to protect us from ourselves!
    Thanks,
    Mike & Barbara Harbin
    M/V Elan

    Why do states/municipalities wish to discourage visiting boats? People on these boats, for the most part abide by pertinent rules / laws, etc. for sanitation and safety.
    These people often purchase real estate in areas visited thus supporting that market. They also support many businesses in the areas they frequent.
    States and municipalities should have reasonable laws to prevent harm to the environment or unsafe conditions. Otherwise welcome this as an opportunity and not consider this a problem that needs to be dealt with harshly.
    Philip Conner

    So if ALL of the Keys are to be a pilot mooring field, and the buffer zone is around the mooring fields, so there is to be no anchoring anywhere in the Keys?
    Michael D’Haem

    “All of Monroe County”? That’s almost 3,000 sq mi of water! Wow. big grab!
    Tom Murphy

    I assume by the “grassroots organization, since disbanded” you mean the Southwest Florida Regional Harbor Board, which grew out of the Boaters Action and Information League (BAIL) organized by Walter Stilley. The SWFRHB was a five-year test program that included the state DEP, The Southwest Florida Regional Planning Commission, the West Coast Inland Navigation District, and Sea Grant College at the University of Florida, so it was more than a grassroots organization — it had the full backing of the state. We were able to convince all the waterfront jurisdictions from Collier County through Manatee County (EXCEPT the city of Sarasota) to withhold enforcement of their various anchoring time-limit regulations, and to submit any anchoring problems to the SWFRHB for arbitration. During the five-year period, NOT ONE problem arose over anchored vessels! (I was chairman of the SWFRHB for most of those five years.)
    Will White

    To answer Captain Will’s question, “no,” the organization that I was speaking of which disbanded was the Florida Open Water Society, or some name close to that.
    Claiborne

    Hey there Claiborne….Bobbie Blowers here, aka “voice from the past”. We are currently living aboard our motorhome while our beloved Namaste is on the hard for a prolonged seige of much needed old boat repairs.
    We are, however, currently IN Fl and would like some idea of where and when these buffer zone hearings will be. We plan to return to the Chesapeake April/May to finish our boat repairs but if timing is such that we can attend one or more of these hearings before leaving the Sunshine State, we definately will. We are not at all happy with the state of affairs for boaters in FL so anything we can do to help……..
    Bobbie

    Claiborne:
    Even in such highly organized and wealthy communities such as Balboa beach, ca and L.A. and especially at Catalina island they have restricted anchoring areas; however, they are NOT closed off by large buffer zones, they are compact and anchoring is allowed, point this out to our glorious local cities!
    respectfully
    Gene Koblick

    Dear Claiborne:
    Thanks for the 3-1-11 up date. I was not knowledgeable of the details of the hard fought battle to get the Florida Anchoring rights for those in navigation. I do keep a copy handy and available at the helm Station but so far have not had to hand it to any boarding parties. The longest time at anchor anywhere has not been more than a week. We will be looking to anchor more on the eastern seaboard after reviewing our 2010 Marina Expenses. Will be making use of Vero Beach, Fernandina Beach, St Augustine mooring fields as we trek back North from Marathon. Looking forward to receiving future updates and participating were and when we can. 20 Mile Buffer zones is an outrageous thought and having Pilot programs Exempt from Federal Law not a good idea. Sincerely appreciate your efforts on the part of the cruising boating community and us retired cruisers. All the Best
    Capt Bob
    Lying Marathon Marina
    M/Y ALLEZ!

    Please note that Captain Ken DeLacy, author of the note below, has been one of the instrumental players in trying to bring sense to the Sarasota, Florida bayfront anchoring scene!
    Claiborne,
    A job well done blowing the horn on this and alerting the masses! May I post to our local group? Also may I print and distribute as some local boaters here don’t have email?
    Ken DeLacy

    Hello Claiborne.
    Again this year I attempted to cruise Florida mainly for the supposedly warmer weather – which appears to be a thing of the past. I was promptly boarded by both Coastguard and Customs & Immigration boats in Jacksonville and for two days was in effect arrested because yet another agency – Wildlife & Fisheries – had reported they saw about 20 young Latinos getting off my boat at Jacksonville Landing! I was Number One suspect people smuggler! Turned out in the end that they were simply teenagers walking past my boat on the dock to visit the Electronics Show downtown. Funny in a way – yet not so funny in other ways. I hear many stories of boats being boarded in Florida for no valid reason – and undoubtedly with the prime intent of giving an expensive ticket to boost agency budgets. My advice to cruisers – the last sane port of call in Florida is Fernandina Beach – and even there a DNR officer with a gun surreptitiously checks out boats at the marina.
    So I promptly returned to Georgia. Nobody bothers you at St Marys – and a very nice crowd of liveaboards help each other out. The City Dock at Savannah is effectively FREE – with free power and water. The Safe Harbour Marina just south of Thunderbolt is both inexpensive and delightful – both the showers and laundry have been renovated and nice friendly people there! The police boat at Isle of Palms simply waves a greeting and an overnight stay at Thunderbolt Marina will get you a free car to get groceries or visit Savannah.
    For those en route to or from the Bahamas – bypass Florida if possible and go outside. There’s a free dock at Daufuskie Island at a bankrupt marina – no power and water – and Bluffton too on the May River is a nice safe place to moor, visit and stock up on supplies. Diesel everywhere is steadily going up – and we might well see $5 a gallon this Spring. I’m waiting for warmer weather to start soon up to Chesapeake.
    Hope you’re keeping well
    Best wishes
    Arnold

    Claiborne,
    I’m a Florida resident and serious cruiser (4-5000 miles a year). I absolutely support the need to rid our anchorages of ‘liveaboard’ derelicts. We need legislation directed to that goal, not broad brush
    prohibitions. That said, buffer zones around mooring fields (which I heartily support) need to provide only for safety and security on both sides of the field. Fifty feet is far too small, 500 feet might be OK if
    the anchored boats are well anchored and have drag alarms set. I’ve seen too many incidences of boats dropping a small hook on a short scope and falling asleep only to endanger their neighbors. It seems to happen to me every other year on my cruises.
    Chateau de Mer

    Without anchoring freedom, few sailboaters will invest the time necessary to visit many of Florida’s more distant islands. If a sailor cannot anchor and spend a few nights at the island destination, then why spend the several days just to get there? Motorboats, on the other hand, can still zip out and zip back without too much effort and spent time. Just think… pristine island beauty…. no sailboats…. just motorboats. Makes you feel warm all over, doesn’t it.
    I agree with Chateau de Mer that the mooring fields must be able to offer some safety to their moored boats. Anchors can drag and anchor line can break. It seems reasonable that a mooring field should have a small safety buffer zone around it to prevent these slipped anchors from causing damage to moored boats. 500 ft seems pretty reasonable, depending on the geography, and maybe even as high as 750 ft, if necessary. What really matters is that the state does not allow a few boataphobic municipalities to diminish most of Florida’s bountiful and beautiful waterways by extending these buffer zones beyond the necessary distance to reasonably protect the moored boats. If a buffer zone extends out more than a few hundred feet, then it seems likely that its purpose goes beyond the safety of the moored boats and has more to do with usurping the rights of the boating community, and the state.
    Rick from Port Charlotte

    Dear Mr. Young,
    Leave it to Guberment hacks to once again have their employees study, plan, and develope a program to do something they are already doing in another area!
    The FL. Fish and Game already have a management plan that works for derelict Crab Traps! They should use the same for Derelict boats and Live-aboard hulks. Just plan on a one or two week period a year for each county to have all boats removed. Any vessel in that area during the posted time frame will be declaired abandoned and removed. Problem solved! And it didn’t take two years to plan, countless meetings and countless dollers wasted on the process of law making. Not to mention taking area away from boaters that want to drop anchor.
    What do you thing?
    Mike Laskowski

    Folks, you are seeing what happens when the “carpetbaggers” show up and want things their way. Florida just elected a new Governor… Rick Scott. Its time to climb on his back about all the wasted money being spent on foolish projects… He’s a big tea party guy, and is busy slashing funds for lots of things….maybe he can slash some more wasted funds from the budgets to stop some of these silly projects.
    Rob Homan

    FLORIDA, THE OUT OF TOUCH STATE. SPEND MONEY WHERE THERE THERE IS NO PROBLEM, BUT, LAY OFF TEACHERS, BECAUSE YOU CANT PAY THEM. THE STATES WATERWAYS ARE THE MOST PATROLLED WATERS IN THE UNIVERSE, GUESS THAT IS WHERE ALL THE CRIME IS NOW. LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS CURED ALL THE CRIME ON LAND, AND HAS NOW MOVE ON THE WATER TO SEEK OUT THE NEW CRIMINAL–THE SELF SUPPORTING RETIRED BOATER, SEEKING PEACE AND QUITE. ASK CITY OFFICIAL ON FLORIDA’S WATERWAYS, IF THEY ARE AWARE OF A CRUISING BOATER CAUSING A PROBLEM PASSING THROUGH. FLORIDA NEEDS TO GET REAL, NO WONDER THE STATE IS BROKE. HOW MANY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IS THE STATE LOSING BY THEIR STUPIDITY, TRYING TO ENFORCE VICTIMLESS CRIMES, THEY HAVE CREATED. CRUISING BOATERS ARE SOME OF THE MOST RESPONSIBLE CITIZENS IN OUR COUNTRY. FLORIDA IS CUTTING ITS OWN THROAT, CRUISING BOATERS ARE BY- PASSING THE STATE. AS I SIT ON MY BOAT, AND WATCH THE PARADE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT PASS BY. COAST GUARD, SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT, DEP, FWC, CUSTOMS AND THEIR HIGH SPEED CIGARETTE BOAT, CITY POLICE BOATS, DNR. SOMETHING REAL BAD MUST BE HAPPENING ON THE WATER. AM I TARGETED, BECAUSE I AM A LIVE ABOARD CRUISER. AND YES, I EARNED MY RIGHT TO BOAT IN FLORIDA. I ‘M RETIRED FROM TWO POLICE DEPARTMENTS IN FLORIDA, A US NAVY VETERAN, AND A FLORIDA ARMY NATIONAL GUARD INFANTRY VETERAN . THIS CRAZINESS HAS TO STOP. FIGHT CRIMINALS, NOT BOATERS.
    BOB BARTHOLOW

    We agree with Bob Bartholow regarding the number of law enforcement agencies on the waters in Florida. We have just started cruising this year and we are appalled at the amount of money that these agencies spend on patrol boats. Their “boat budgets” must be astronomical, it seems like only the fastest and most expensive will do.
    We want to experience all that we can while cruising and although mooring fields are a great addition to your choices, anchoring cannot be beat for peace and beauty. The problem we see within our limited experience is, if a mooring field is filled, and there is a “buffer zone” what do you do besides move on?
    With the traffic we have seen in the mooring fields in this short time, moving on will mean cruising outside of Florida
    Jann & Gary Merrill

  • Important – Florida Anchoring Rights Struggle Enters Next Phase

    Florida Anchoring Rights Struggle Enters Next Phase
    An Editorial
    By
    Claiborne S. Young

    Last Friday, February 25, 2011, stories began to appear in the Florida press heralding the next, evolutionary step in the Florida Anchoring Rights struggle. This development was not at all unexpected, but it does presage a call to arms for the cruising community. We MUST ALL heed this call if the Floridian anchoring rights which have been earned after so much blood, sweat and tears over the last decade are to be maintained.

    PLEASE Click Here To Continue Reading Claiborne’s Florida Anchoring Rights Next Phase Editorial

    As of today, March 2, 2011, there has already been a firestorm of responses from the cruising community concerning our editorial linked above. If you have ALREADY read the editorial, click the link below to check out the many messages we have received from fellow cruisers on this subject. If you have NOT read our editorial, please do that FIRST, and then follow the link at the end of that article to check out the response:

    PLEASE Click Here To Read the Voluminous Reaction to Our Anchoring Rights Editorial Of 3/1/11

  • Important – Florida Anchoring Rights Struggle Enters Next Phase

    Florida Anchoring Rights Struggle Enters Next Phase
    An Editorial
    By
    Claiborne S. Young
    Last Friday, February 25, 2011, stories began to appear in the Florida press heralding the next, evolutionary step in the Florida Anchoring Rights struggle. This development was not at all unexpected, but it does presage a call to arms for the cruising community. We MUST ALL heed this call if the Floridian anchoring rights which have been earned after so much blood, sweat and tears over the last decade are to be maintained.

    Let me not keep you in suspense. The story that broke details the naming of the first three “Pilot Mooring Field Program” sites in the state of Florida. They are Sarasota, St. Petersburg and all of Monroe County, which encompasses the Florida Keys. You can read the full story at:

    http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2011/feb/24/state-chooses-sites-keys-sarasota-st-pete-anchorin/

    Over the weekend, messages appeared on several other nautical mailing lists to the effect that this was a “new” development. NOT so! In fact, the naming of the pilot sites has been expected since 2009.

    To explain that statement, we must review the momentous 2009 legislative Anchoring Rights struggle. To detail that entire process would fill a small book, so please allow me to give you an executive summary.

    There were a host of pro-cruising forces working hard for the best anchoring law that could be obtained in 2009. Among these were Seven Seas Cruising Association, Boat/US, the Florida Marina Industries Association, the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net and a grassroots organization, since disbanded, which came into being as a direct consequence of the Florida anchoring situation.

    This coalition of pro-cruiser forces was squared off against the Florida League of Counties and Municipalities. As you might imagine, this group wanted to retain as much local control over anchoring as possible.

    What emerged from this battle was a serious concession from the League of Counties and Municipalities that broadened the definition of what it is for a vessel to be “used for navigation.” This was the loop hole that many municipalities had used in the past, as Florida state law, even before 2009, banned local anchorage regulations for vessels “used for navigation.”

    Now, anyone who has ever been involved in the good, old US of A legislative process knows that when you get a major concession from the “other side,” you’ve got to give something. And, what the pro-cruiser forces gave was a plan for a series of pilot mooring fields. The law further charged the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), in consultation with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, (FDEP), with naming the site of the pilot programs, and stated that these selections must be made by July of 2011.

    So, to anyone who has been following the Florida Anchoring Right struggle, it’s certainly no surprise, much less a shock, that the FWC has complied with the 2009 law and made its first three selections. Two more sites will be named along the Eastern Florida coastline sometime between now and this coming July.

    Well, if all this was expected, as indeed it was, by now you may be wondering, so what’s the big deal Claiborne. Well, I’ll tell you what the “big deal” may be, and to put it succinctly, that “big deal” is “buffer zones.”

    During all the debate which raged around the 2009 Florida Anchoring Law, and, in particular, the establishment of the pilot mooring field program, it came be to be generally acknowledged that, to be effective, there was going to have to be some sort of NO-ANCHORING ALLOWED buffer zones established around the pilot mooring fields.

    The argument ran that, without such buffer zones, cruisers could simply drop the hook 50 feet outside the mooring field, pay nothing, and dinghy ashore to take advantage of all the services established to support the mooring field, such as showers, dinghy docks, etc.

    Now, let me be very quick to point out, there were strong and well reasoned voices in the cruising community which did NOT accept this premise. At the height of the debate, we published an extremely thoughtful article, authored by SSECN contributor, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, in which she strongly asserted the notion that the pilot mooring fields in general, and any sort of no-anchor buffer zones in particular, were bad ideas (See http://www.CruisersNet.net/stay-vigilant). A fear that the no-anchor buffer zones might be abused was front and center in Captain Charmain’s arguments.

    And, indeed, I worried about this same thing. During a particular FWC meeting, one Florida municipality made what I thought was an outlandish statement that for a mooring field to be successful along their waterfront, waters as far as twenty miles away would need to be included in a no-anchor buffer zone.

    However, many of the pro-cruiser forces, including this writer, decided, perhaps uncomfortably so, that we were just going to have to live with the fear of bloated, no-anchor buffer zones if we were going to get the rest of the pro-boating portions of the 2009 bill enacted into law.

    And, that’s exactly what happened, and here we are in 2011, with the FWC carrying out its legislatively mandated duty of naming the mooring field pilot program sites. WHAT WE MUST ALL DO NOW IS EXERT OUR MAXIMUM EFFORTS TO MAKE SURE THE NO-ANCHOR BUFFER ZONES ESTABLISHED AROUND THESE PILOT SITES ARE A REASONABLE SIZE, AND THAT THESE BUFFER ZONES ARE NOT USED SIMPLY AS A MEANS TO INSURE THAT NO BOAT ANCHORS ANYWHERE NEAR THE COMMUNITY IN QUESTION!!!!

    Fortunately, the 2009 law provides the perfect forum for us to act. This statute specifies that the FWC “MUST” hold a series of public forums BEFORE the rules surrounding any of the mooring fields are decided on and approved! THE CRUISING COMMUNITY MUST BE WELL REPRESENTED AT ALL THESE PUBLIC FORUMS!!!! We must be heard, and we must LISTEN for any attempt to establish unreasonable buffer zones!

    The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net will do its part. As soon as the dates and sites for the various public forums are announced, we will post these stats on our web site, and send out special e-mail “Alerts.” Those of you who are members of other nautical mailing lists, Seven Seas Cruising Association, MTOA, or the AGLCA, PLEASE repost these blasts on your lists. WE NEED TO GET AS MANY CRUISERS TO THESE MEETINGS AS POSSIBLE. That point cannot be overstressed.

    Finally, let me give some advice to all cruisers, and particularly those who eventually speak at the mooring field pilot program public forums. Make no mistake about it, Florida does have a REAL problem with abandoned vessels and, what I term, “live aboard hulks.” These latter “vessels” are little more than hulls that will never move again, and on which some people “live.”

    The question is this, though! Is the best way to solve this problem by prohibiting everyone from anchoring, or only anchoring for a short period of time. Any of you who have read my earlier editorials on this subject know my answer is a resounding, “NO!” Rather, WE SHOULD EMPLOY MARINE SALVAGE LAWS AND MSD REGULATIONS TO CLEAN UP DERELICTS AND LIVE-ABOARD HULKS! For more on these suggestions, please see my earlier Anchoring Rights editorial at:

    http://www.CruisersNet.net/florida-anchoring-editorial-1-whence-come-the-anchorage-regulations

    OK, now you know about the latest when it comes to the issue of Florida Anchoring. PLEASE let us know what you think by e-mailing me at CruisingWriter@CruisersNet.net. And, most importantly, see you at the pilot field public forums!!!!

    As of today, March 2, 2011, there has already been a firestorm of responses from the cruising community concerning our editorial linked above. If you have ALREADY read the editorial, click the link below to check out the many messages we have received from fellow cruisers on this subject. If you have NOT read our editorial, please do that FIRST, and then follow the link at the end of that article to check out the response:

    PLEASE Click Here To Read the Voluminous Reaction to Our Anchoring Rights Editorial Of 3/1/11

    And, here is the official News Release from the FWC which initiated this whole discussion:

    News Release from the FWC.
    Contact: Katie Purcell, 850-459-6585
    At its meeting Wednesday in Apalachicola, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) selected three sites for an anchoring and mooring pilot program. Two more will be chosen in April.
    Following staff recommendations, Commissioners voted to select the cities of Sarasota and St. Petersburg and Monroe County as sites for the mooring field pilot program. A mooring field is a controlled area where boaters tie their vessels to a floating buoy, which is secured to the bottom of the waterway.
    Under Florida statute, the FWC, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), must establish a pilot program regulating anchoring and mooring outside of marked public mooring fields.
    “We hope the project promotes safe public access to Florida’s waters, protects the marine environment and deters improperly stored, abandoned or derelict vessels,” said Maj. Jack Daugherty, leader of the FWC’s Boating and Waterways section.
    By July 1, 2011, the FWC must have selected all locations for the pilot project. The requirements include two on the east coast of Florida, two on the west coast and one in Monroe County, so the remaining selections must be on the east coast.
    The FWC staff began work on the program in October 2009, when it sent out letters of solicitation. Fourteen counties and municipalities responded with letters of intent to participate.
    “Our staff worked with DEP to gather data to determine appropriate sites for the project,” Daugherty said.
    They analyzed geographic characteristics of the area, services provided at the mooring field sites, usage fees and the average number of boats inside and outside of the mooring fields.
    At its December meeting, the Boating Advisory Council, which makes recommendations to the FWC and the Department of Community Affairs regarding issues affecting the boating public, advised FWC staff to move forward with the site recommendations on the west coast and in Monroe County.
    Wednesday, staff presented recommendations to the Commission on those recommended sites on the west coast and in Monroe County. Commissioners approved FWC staff-recommended sites and a request for more time to collect and analyze more data regarding anchoring and mooring on the east coast.
    FWC staff will present the data to the Boating Advisory Council in March for recommendations, and then return at the April Commission meeting with suggestions for the two remaining east coast pilot sites. The Commission also directed staff to work with the city of Stuart in an attempt to be added as a third pilot program site.
    Please visit MyFWC.com/Boating or call the FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section at 850-488-5600 for more information.

  • Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net Anchoring Rights Editorial Reprise

    Whence Come The Anchorage Regulations
    And
    What Do We Do About Them, “The 95 – 5 Rule”

    A Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net Editorial
    By
    Claiborne S. Young

    Almost everywhere I go, one question keeps popping up time after time; some variation of, “Claiborne, where are all these Florida anchorage regulations coming from?” Well, I am going to attempt to answer that question within this article/editorial, AND why I think most of these proposed prohibitions are unnecessary and probably harmful.

    Let me quickly acknowledge that I most certainly do not know all, when it comes to this complex issue. As always, we strongly encourage Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net visitors to weigh in with their knowledge and opinions. I have received some of the most eye opening data on Florida anchoring regulations/rights from my fellow cruisers. Please e-mail your comments or opinions to CruisingWriter@CruisersNet.net, or click the “Contribute Cruising News” link found near the top, center of most Net pages.

    So, with that out of the way, here goes. First, let’s dispose of two less than savory reasons why Floridian anchorage regulations have made an appearance, stretching all the way back to the early 1990’s.

    1. Local and county governmental officials see anchorage regulations as a way to expand their department’s authority, or, in bureaucrat-ese, “expand their turf.”

    2. There are a group of very wealthy Floridians, who, by virtue of their finances, have more than their fair share of political influence. And, they simply do not want to walk out in their backyards, and see anchored boats on the water. I once heard one property owner of this ilk testify that whenever he was on the water, he ALWAYS saw cruising craft dumping untreated sewage and trash overboard. Talk about a bald faced lie if I ever heard one!

    Those favoring anchorage regulation for one of the above two reasons are beneath my contempt, and that of the entire cruising community. Haven’t we had enough of self-serving government officials and overreaching, wealthy property owners? Enough said!

    Then, there are concerns about “noise pollution” and trespassing. Who among us has not dropped the hook in some quiet corner of the world, only to have another vessel show up across the way, and proceed to play loud music into the small hours. Not a fun night.

    I, myself, have watched, on rare occasions, as less than sanguine cruisers pull their dinghies onto someone’s back yard, and then gaily go off to the grocery store, as if it was their right to land the dink wherever they pleased. No wonder some waterside property owners have erected large “No Trespassing” signs.

    In populated regions, noise pollution and trespassing are real problems. However, I have a very simple solution for these two anchorage concerns.

    There are already trespassing and “disturbing the peace”/noise pollution laws on the books of virtually every municipality and county in America. One local water cop enforcing these regulations should solve the problem nicely.

    And, that brings us to the issue which I think is front and center in what I will term as the “honest” attempts to regulate anchorage (as opposed to the “dishonest” #1 and #2 reasons listed above). Can you guess what this issue might be?

    I won’t keep you in suspense. Abandoned vessels and what I will term, live-aboard “hulks,” are, without any question in my tiny mind, the #1 threat to anchoring rights throughout Florida for the rest of us. We’ve all seen vessels at anchor which have been sitting in the same spot for months on end, without anyone being aboard. And then, most of us have also gazed in wonder at “boats” which look as if they are going to sink any moment, and then we see someone come on deck. Have you, like me, asked yourself, “Does someone actually live on that thing?”

    Abandoned vessels and live-aboard hulks are safety and health risks, not to mention being more than a little bit unsightly. They often break free during bad weather, and impact other vessels or private property. And, as to the untreated waste being dumped overboard from the hulks, best not to think too closely on that topic.

    Think this isn’t a serious issue? Consider the two e-mails below which I received shortly after publishing my last “Anchorage Rights/Regulations Analysis:”

    Dear Claiborne,
    Thanks for the update and more than that, the great service you provide boaters. On the subject of anchoring rights however, I feel you and others in the cruising community need to take a more balanced stand.
    I live near Sarasota so see almost on a daily basis the derelict or near-derelict boats moored off the city waterfront. They are ugly, dangerous – occasionally coming adrift in bad weather – and in many cases unoccupied. For those that live aboard I suspect the concept of a pump out is totally alien. Then try anchoring overnight in the Boca Grande basin. My wife and I were there a couple of months ago and, contrary to your 2006 article it seemed virtually all occupied by “long term” cruisers ( I use the term charitably), many in dilapidated condition. Again, I wonder about frequency of pump out for some of these boats.
    Most of us are responsible cruisers, for whom a limitation of several days, perhaps a week, in one location is not a large imposition. I feel we would be better served by meeting local communities half way and working towards a compromise that retains the ability of the cruising majority to cruise, while dealing with the minority that give all of us a bad name.
    Peter Morris

    Or, this one:

    Hi Claiborne,
    I am an advocate for anchoring rights. But I have to point out that many places in California have had severe restrictions on anchoring for some time. Long Beach Harbor used to allow overnight anchoring behind some oil platforms but that “right” was taken away a number of years ago. Marina Del Rey, Redando Beach, and San Pedro have no anchoring. Newport Beach has a small restricted area, but you are not allowed to leave the boat unattended. Dana Point also has this restriction. San Diego has restricted anchorages, and most require a permit to use. Even Catalina Island has defacto lack of anchorages, by the massive mooring fields and harbor masters who will not allow anchoring in many parts of the harbors–so that at the Isthmus and Avalon, you have to anchor in more than 100 feet, and often in areas of poor holding and subject to weather.
    I did discuss the anchoring situation with our local marine resource officer in Pensacola, and there is no plan for restriction, as long as the vessel is outside of the navigable channel. I asked about the mooring field, and was told that the stipulations put on this were so great by the state that they would not be practical economically–I tend to agree. I do believe it is more for control, than to provide a service or help the mariner.
    Regards,
    Bob Austin

    And, speaking from my own experience, I will never forget the first day we came steaming into Marathon’s Boot Key Harbor back in the late 1990’s, to begin research for my and Morgan Stinemetz’s “Cruising the Florida Keys.” The numbers of sunken and semi-sunken boats were astounding! And, so much raw sewage was being dumped overboard, only those completely out of their minds would have stuck their big toe in the water.

    Of course, today, things are very, very different in Boot Key Harbor. It has been cleaned up, a large mooring field has been established, and the city of Marathon has put excellent shoreside facilities in place. BUT, that gets into the issue of mooring fields, which is the subject of my next anchoring editorial, not this one.

    Let’s pause here for a moment to recall a bit of relevant history. Back in the early 1990’s anchoring rights and regulations were already a problem in Florida, particularly in the city of Stuart. A group sprang into being known alternately as the “Coalition of Concerned Boaters” and the “National Water Rights Association.” I was intimately involved with this organization for several years.

    During one of the group’s conferences, we were presented with what may still be the only well-done, truly scientific survey of cruisers in the Florida Keys. After exhaustive research, Dr. Gus Antoinelly (spelling?), of the University of Miami, concluded, among other things, that only 7% of the boat owners in the Florida Keys were, to use his terminology, “Mavericks.” You may freely think of “Mavericks” as those who attempt to “live off the land,” and are subject to anchoring in one spot for long, long periods of time, probably without too much reference to MSD regulations.

    Now, I would argue that the laissez-faire lifestyle in the Florida Keys, which, by the way, accounts for much of the charm while cruising these fascinating waters, tends to encourage “Mavericks.” Thus, I would contend that in other parts of Florida, “Mavericks” probably make up 5% (or less) of the cruising population. That’s an important number to remember as we move into what I see as the solutions for abandoned vessels and live-aboard hulks!

    Unfortunately, encouraged by nefarious reasons #1 and #2 (see above), many communities in Florida have chosen to confront the problem of abandoned boats and live-aboard hulks by establishing anchoring limits of 24, 48 or 72 hours FOR EVERYONE. Put another way, towns and cities of this genre are penalizing 95% of the cruising community to try and rid themselves of the 5% they don’t want.

    Particularly in the case of Florida, THAT’S PLAYING WITH FIRE! Everyone please remember that in the Sunshine State, the marine industry is second in importance only to tourism. Cruisers, even those who almost never anchor, HATE anchorage regulations. And, that leads to e-mails like this:

    Claiborne:
    I have been coming to Florida since 1959. I have vacationed here for years. For 13 years I was in charge of a company outing. For 13 years we came to Florida spending lots of money. We were always treated very well. This year my wife and I retired and fulfilled a long dream of taking our sail boat to Florida to get away from Buffalo winters. It was strange that all the way down fellow cruisers would comment that they were not going to cruise in Florida because the “rich people do not want you to use their waters”. They were going to go over to the Bahamas where they were welcomed. Well I have cruised for over 2400 hundred miles on our trip and was not bothered by anybody until I crossed the Florida boarder. We have been stopped 3 times, boarded and  inspected once, and just routine stops on the other two occasions. A fellow cruiser, that I received an e-mail from, said that he was on shore and when he returned to his boat, the police were there and left a note telling him to leave the area. We have spent thousand of dollars in Florida, I know that the economy is not the best, but if I had a marina or had a business along the the ICW I would be a little upset on how the state of Florida is treating their guests and vacationers. I see the harbors littered with derelict boats and see why this is a concern. But if you are in a, in most cases, an expensive boat I would think that you would not be considered a nuisance but more a good business venture. We were in the Vero Beach area. We were just passing through and ended up spending 2 weeks. This area goes out of the way to promote business with the cruising community. I would like to stay in the Florida area, but wonder if it’s worth it. Hope things can turn around and it’s not to late.

    So, “what’s the answer, Claiborne,” you may be asking about now! Believe, it or else, I’ve got one.

    First, in regards to abandoned vessels, has no city or county governmental official in Florida heard of “salvage laws.” Let’s again be very clear that I am NOT a lawyer, much less a maritime lawyer, but it is my understanding that if a vessel is left abandoned for thirty days or so, it can be declared as salvage and sold at public auction. A few actions like that, and I have a deep suspicion that all the abandoned vessels which still have owners would be removed in short order.

    Too vague for you? Then Florida should do what South Carolina has just done, namely, pass a specific law which mandates that after giving generous notice, vessels abandoned for more than thirty days will be impounded and sold. What a good idea, and notice, this does NOT impact anchoring rights for any boat owners except those who leave their vessels unoccupied for longer than 30 days. And, how many responsible mariners are going to leave their boat uninspected at anchor for a month or longer. (more on the new South Carolina law SOON)

    So, what about liveaboard hulks? I can solve that problem as well. Federal and state MSD (Marine Sanitation Device) regulations are the answer.

    Again, as a NON-LAWYER, it is my understanding of Federal MSD regulations, that if the USCG has even reasonable suspicion untreated sewage is being dumped overboard, a $10,000.00 fine can be imposed. And, the state of Florida ALREADY has even tougher MSD regulations than the Federal government. So, the FWC in the guise of the Florida Marine Patrol, can inspect hulks for MSD violations as well. Clearly, if a vessel has been sitting in the same spot for months on end, it has either long ago filled its holding tank to capacity, or exhausted its batteries, should there be a Lectra-San type device aboard. That seems like more that reasonable suspicion to me to impose stiff MSD fines!

    Just let a few $10,000.00 fines be issued, and see how long it takes the live-aboard hulks to be moved, or permanently abandoned. If this latter action comes about, refer to my solution above for derelicts.

    The beauty of both these solutions is that they can go forward under existing Florida state and Federal laws, with no additional legislation necessary, and with no other anchoring prohibitions! Put that one in your pipe and smoke it a bit.

    Finally, that leaves the case of what I will call “responsible liveaboards,” boat owners who religiously come to the dock (or use a “honey boat”) to have their holding tanks pumped, don’t throw trash overboard, don’t make loud noise, don’t’ trespass, and keep their vessels attractive and well secured. How long should a mariner of this ilk be allowed to anchor his or her vessel in the same spot?

    I must admit that I don’t have an answer. Perhaps some of you could weigh in on this issue.

    Of course, one part of this equation that I have not discussed, is increasing population, both on land and on the water. While in the current economic climate, you may look askance at me when I discuss “increasing water population,” over the long haul, the numbers of boats on Florida’s coastal waters have increased. Coupled with declining public dockage, a case can be made, and well made, for some other sort of readily available means to store privately owned vessels, in a safe and secure environment. Thus, we enter the whole issue of mooring fields. However, and your eyes will be glad to hear it, that is the subject of my next anchoring editorial, not this one.

    Issues are getting confused here. A “liveaboard” boat in the State of Florida can be regulated outside of mooring fields. This has been this way since 2006. A “liveaboard” is a boat that does not move, is used strictly as a residence or place of business and does not navigate waters. The law already has given local communities the power to handle these vessels. They are NOT the issue.
    What we’re talking about are CRUISERS. Cruisers (called “non-liveaboards” even though cruisers may indeed live aboard full time or part time) cannot by regulated with regard to anchoring, according to FL Statute 327(60). The People of Florida demanded that Statute stay intact. But the Pilot Program goes around that and is exempt from adhering to the Statute. As FWC posted on their site “Due to pressures from homeowners and some others….” [they added the Pilot Program and submitted it along with what the PUBLIC agreed would be revisions to the Statutes]. This was done without Public input or knowledge…a back door loophole for those who have political pull to continue to try to override the majority. THIS is what is so scandalous about the Pilot Program.
    Five sites were to be named yet Sarasota immediately jumped the gun and put up a 72-hour anchoring limit. It was challenged and they dropped it, but everyone who knew anything knew that Sarasota would definitely be one of the five sites to participate in the Pilot Program. It is a self-serving program for a few to get what they want despite what the people have used due process to show as their choice: NO ORDINANCES ON ANCHORING for Florida cruisers! Another thing: When they named the five sites, it was incredulous that one site is ALL OF MONROE COUNTY! This is what happens when people are confused and don’t know what is going on. The Pilot Program is nothing more than a way to quell the whining of a few powerful people, take away the freedom of boats in navigation, and use our tax dollars to do it.
    The FWC will be holding more workshops on this issue. There is one at the Government Center in Marathon, FL on June 8th at 6 pm. If you cannot attend, let your voice be heard by writing. We cannot let this happen. Public trust is being manipulated and we can help our local authorities fight back against those misusing them with our voices saying we won’t stand for our rights and wants being ignored.
    One ordinance outside of mooring fields will lead to another ordinance outside of beaches, etc. There is no end to anchoring ordinances for cruisers if we allow them to BEGIN.
    I have enjoyed cruising the Florida coast and think it would be a great setback for everyone if anchoring in front of private property was restricted.
    Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd

    Consider the vast quantity of land owned and operated by major concerns (hotels, restaurants, and property developers) that could quickly eliminate large swaths of available anchorage for boaters.
    I am not so worried about abandoned boats, as that is truly a separate question.
    The live aboard hulk should be easy to resolve…
    Jack Simmons

    I like the idea mentioned above in reference to enforcing the current laws on the books. I would also propose, and this one will probably be met with controversy, a cruising permit fee of say $150 annually. The money raised by this fee (tax) could be used for enforcement. I would bet that derelict boat owners and irresponsible livaboards (the 5%) would not pay the permit fee and could be easily identified and dealt with within the current regulations.
    John Schwab

    I agree that enforcement of existing regulations concerning polution control would eliminate virtually all of the derelict live-aboards. As I understand it, there are already laws/rules/regulations granting the state the right to inspect/fine/etc. I believe local authorities have the ability to enforce state and federal regulations, do they not? Consistent local enforcement will drive away “Mavericks”. The inconvenience of multiple inspections, ticketing, fines, and jail time would discourage squatting. These regulations can also be the springboard for dealing with many of the abandoned boats, particularly those sinking and contributing polution that way.
    As for removal of abandoned boats, unfortunately one of the requirements is funding. It costs way more to retrieve the abandoned boat and dispose of it than can be taken in by auctioning or salvaging the boat. Consqently local authorities cannot afford to do it even if they want to.
    Therefor, a private “foundation” needs to be created to raise funds to be used for dealing with the costs of removing abandoned boats. Interested cruisers, marine businesses (local, national, international), “wealthy” local residents tired of looking at the derelicts, and any other interested parties could contribute to this foundation. It should be tax exempt to help encourage contributions. It could provide grants or matching funds to local communities, appropriate groups and organizations for use in abating the cost of dealing with this problem. If desired, the foundation coud handle “earmarking” funds i.e. funds raised in Stuart could be allocated to dealing with problems in that county only if the contributors requested that restriction, etc.
    Someone will immediately jump in with the “idea” we should handle this with tax money. Our systems are already overtaxed. We don’t have enough taxes to do all the things others want them to do as it is, and we don’t need additional or new taxes. Besides, there is something immoral about requiring everyone to contribute to anything held sacred by a few.
    We as a cruising community are perpetually lauded for being generous. We are, as are most all Americans. We just need to approach this problem from the standpoint of how might we solve it instead of “there’s nothing we can do about it”. And nobody should be allowed to complain about a problem without suggesting some possible solution.
    Reggie Good

    Similar problems in North Carolina! I’ve spent about 30 years cruising Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Long Island Sound. Depending on a given harbor, Yacht Clubs, Commercial Marinas, nearby property owners, and sometime town officials set out moorings, ususally with a harbormaster who assigns a space that won’t interfere with the swing of already-installed moorings. With 8′ tides, and 20-30 ft. deep harbors, this system has proven over the last 100 years to work fairly well.
    North Carolina has banned ALL mooring installation except for 2 special cases:1) a city or town may designate an area as a mooring field, and install moorings on a grid pattern, and charge a nightly fee for them(becomes outrageous if you want to keep your boat in the harbor for the season) 2) a waterfront property owner is allowed 4 moorings fer each 100 yds of waterfront he owns. Most have no moorings, but many have lifts. I live on a man-made canal off the Pungo River, and the sandbar at the mouth can prevent my boat from getting over it after a long blow from the West.
    About a year into using it, a CAMA officer came across it, and mailed me a $35,000 fine! Since the aterfront property inland of the moorng was a canal, there was no way for me to purchase 100 yards of it. My attorney finally settledthe case by getting an affidavit from the 2 property owners on either side of the canal to forgo installing 1 of their permitted 4 moorings. (They never had any intention of installing moorings anyway)
    All-in-all, this policy is very detrimental to beginning boaters, or to those who cannot afford to tie up $ in 100 yds. of frontage in order to install a boat mooring. Most of New England would be out of the boating business if they imposed N.C. style restrictions.
    Doug Green

    Well said, Claiborne! I have always felt that many/most government regulations “punish” the vast majority for the problems caused by a small minority.
    Your proposal makes great sense, although I suspect that it may take a lot of time and money to enforce the derelict and MSD violations. Even if that is true, it would still be better for all concerned than the “prohibit everyone” approach.
    Thanks for your great website and service to the cruising community
    Duane Ising

    Claiborne,
    The biggest issue with the impoundment of abandoned vessels is the absolute lock that USCG documentation has on the ownership of a boat. It takes upwards of 6 months in court for the IRS to establish their ownership of, and therefore ability to sell, a documented boat. A local municipality would be heavily burdened by the litigation required to be able to re-sell a boat they had taken custody of. I know a person who have found a vessel washed up on a beach and had no option but to negotiate with the owner who abandoned it in order to get the paperwork in place to register the boat himself. So even if there were a boat no one was claiming, it presents a big problem.
    Much local anchoring legislation is federally illegal – I was boarded last year by Miami Beach police when I anchored there and was told that while I might ultimately win in court, it might take years and bankrupt me. They were asking me to agree to a 7 day limit on my stay with generous provisions for extensions due to weather, mechanical difficulties, or medical emergencies that might postpone my departure. I had to agree that they were between a rock and a hard place over this because of pressure from waterfront land owners who were tired of paying high tax bills to stare at others who were not. So a friendly compromise in Miami Beach – in Georgia there is a 30 day annual limit on living aboard; at anchor, on a mooring, or in a marina. That doesn’t sound like it would hold up in federal court, but it doesn’t stop Georgia from enforcing it.
    I know if I’m boarded and my “Y” valve is not locked or wire tied to the holding tank position, and if my overboard mascerator discharge thru-hull is not wire tied closed, I’m subject to an expensive summons. The MSD laws will stand up in any court, so I agree that would be the best place to enforce existing laws to see if the problem can’t be substantially resolved that way.
    Peter TenHaagen

    As a Florida liveaboard, I agree wholeheartedly with the concept of enforcing holding tank regulations as an easy way to deal with the derilict boat populations. However it has to be convenient to get your boat pumped and this is not always the case.
    We boaters are most likely willing to pay much more than $5.00 to get our boats pumped if it can be done on a timely basis. I would suggest that we reasearch how we can turn the honey boat business over to private industry who are able to make a profit, perhaps with government susidies. Maybe SeaTow and TowBoat US would relish a use for their boats when awaiting a tow job. Maybe the local government should BUY the waste from private honey boats.
    Please shield my name so I can continue to get pumped, Eh?
    H. M.

    Unscientific Observations….
    We happened to take a tour of Boot Key Harbor in Marathon yesterday. It has one huge Mooring Field and I understand that “things are much better than they used to be” here. The city apparently will pump out any boats requesting this service in and around the harbor.
    On our tour I noticed that there are many boats outside of this field anchored for a variety of reasons I would call some abandoned or damaged wrecks, others in storage, some very nice boats, some obvious short term transients, other live-aboards, and some “live-aboard hulks”. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder most boaters would be able to categorize boats if given a list and looking at the condition of boats. Gray area boats could be inspected more closely!
    One can get a sense of how long they have been present by the twisted rodes and slime buildup on lines and hulls. I was struck that the majority of these “questionable” boats in my mind were FL registered.
    I would hope the interpretation of existing laws can be used to address the concerns that boaters and non-boaters have on boats anchored or moored for long periods of time, those situations that seem to be of the most concern in this anchoring issue.
    I have yet to stay on a mooring ball and like to anchor out, rarely not being able to find a place we like. We’ve now traveled from the top of Lake Huron to the Keys and have rarely seen areas or boats that should create related concerns. That said, I accept that there are many such boats and areas that as witnessed by our brief on-water tour at BKH.
    Nature’s purification in the Northland is the winter ice that usually prevents very long term moorings.
    I would be interested in seeing a list of the more friendly places….one of the postings mentioned that they liked Vero Beach for example….while others mentioned being boarded by police and asked to move on! Where is that happening?
    Thanks, Jim

    The above comments make sense. Why are we penalized for the 5% of the scumbags?
    Capt. King

    A couple yrs ago while traveling south we anchored south of lift bridge in Ft Pierce. Several other boats there and a couple were in bad shape.. No dinghy and boats had lots of growth. The next day SW winds blew hard. I was worried about this one boat and soon saw it draggin down toward us. After the fire drill was done we had a small dent, the others boat was luckily anchored again without draging to the bridge.. The CG showed up and boarded the other sail boat.. No one there of course. Boat US showed up and commented that he had to tow that boat off th mud after every wind storm..
    Something has to be done about boats that are a constant nuisance. A eye sore to the cruising community.
    CRAIG FARNSWORTH

    So so tired of all of this BS by pompous property owners. It however is not ,unique to Fl or CA marine issues.
    We have people who build an expensive home and barn 300 feet from a train track knowing the issues up front. Every day a freight comes and parks in front of their home blocking access to their drive and view of the back 40 for 6 hours. All hell breaks loose.
    Same goes for the fool who builds his home near an airport and after a while tires of the noise.
    Every single person complaining in anyway about the varied marine traffic, knew, without exception, the issues and the score going in, up front. They made their choice, and now want it like Burger King, their way.
    They not only knew the situation, they knew up front what the taxes were also.
    I have no sympathy what so ever for those land owners. This is coming from someone who lives on the water and welcomes, and helps all coming by water in my area. They are typically better people than those complaining.
    The boat people do not polute nearly to the degree of those dumping lawn and plant fert, weed killer, etc. into the water. Their yard run off is not measured either, and is destroying other things too.
    If you don’t like it move!
    My home is worth plenty, but I chose to be here knowing all potential consequences. The water is free owned by none shared by all.
    POPEYE

    The above articles are right to the point and illistrate an easy solution the Florida’s dilemna. What I think is happening is the typical lazy approach of law enforcement to ticket the boats passing through whenever possible to generate a cash flow. Looks like they are enforcing the law. Boaters pay the fine and go on their way. They don’t want to chase after the derelicts because it may be difficult to find the owner or, the owner may be some local guy the cops know and sympathize with. Boats from the north look like fair game with deep pockets.
    jim burke

    You list MSD as the enforcable violation for trash boats. I would choose anchor light. To check a MSD the officer would have either have to catch the violator in the act of pumping overboard or go aboard, add dye to the head, flush, and see the dye apear in the water. An anchor light violation citation could be made by simply cruising the anchorage after dark, noting the boats without lights, and glueing the ticket to the boat beside the compaionway.
    Bill Murdoch

    Claiborne,
    I have, as both a Florida Resident and an “extended cruiser/liveaboard….watched this issue with some interest.
    I find the comments by Jay Marko to be a tad “disingenuous” and the reason I say that…. is because anyone above the age of 7 knows that if you are caught dumping untreated waste into Florida waters you are in for trouble. Trespassing on someones property….be it a vacant lot is illegal, and discharge of bilge water containing anything but water is illegal as well… My question to Mr. Marko would be: WHY have you and your neighbors not called the local Sheriff regarding the trespassing, and why not the FWC regarding the disposal or pumping over of waste and other chemicals??? Seems to me he sounds a bit like someone who wants to make noise and not see a boat anywhere anyway. I find it difficult to believe that he and his neighbors (who could afford waterfront property on sailboat water) couldn’t get the attention of enforcement authorities to correct the situation. Sorry, I don’t buy his story….
    B.C. Adams makes “vague assertions”….. and it sounds like he or she, like so many others….LITERALLY FAILS to understand that their property line ENDS at the seawall or high tide mark on navigable waters…. It legally does not matter that they bought the property for “the view”….their legally entitled view ENDS at the aforementioned points. How long a boat is anchored in one spot is of no concern to them as long as the boat or the boater is not in danger or causing problems that are addressed by law. While it is quite possible that thievery is taking place….how do they know it is a “boater” doing it?? It could just as easily be their neighbor doing it, or their neighbors son or just about anyone. If they can afford a “Private Marina”, one would think that they could afford some kind of security, even if its automatic lights or even a security guard or two.
    I personally find abandoned and junked vessels hazardous….. and the current laws make it difficult to get rid of sunken boats. Punta Gorda had a running battle with a local fisherman for a number of years over his sunken boat…. Maybe the issue should be laid at the feet of the lawmakers in DC to clean up that section of the laws and make it easier to get these things taken care of…..
    I am strongly considering taking my boat and retirement to another place…outside this country….because I’m sick and tired of arrogant people who claim to own what they don’t and demand to have things their way….. Florida used to be a great place to live and in some places it still is…but I can tell you….the shine has dulled badly in others….
    Rob Homan

    How come the State has the right to allow livaboards at anchor who are in navigation, but severley restricts the time allowed for the same boat if at a Marina, seems conflicted.
    Dennis McMurtry

    I have been fortunate enough to sail all the waters from the St. Lawrence to the Mexican border and well as the Bahamas.
    I know Live in SW Florida(25 yrs) and have watched as a few attempt to spoil cruising. Yes, there are a few derilect boats. I see the same ones year after year. There actually are so few, I’m amazed that the local enforcement agencies can’t be bothered with enforcing existing laws and eliminating them.
    In Charlotte county I spent many months going to the marine meetings and came to the conclusion that it was actually a very small group of complainers(4 or 5) and that they had little knowledge of cruising sailboats and the wildest imaginations and fabrications.
    If not for the state anchoring laws they would have kept everyone of “thier” harbor and “thier” surrounding waters. Thanks to all groups that fought for the anchor law.
    Robert Burney

    Most of the comments here remind me of the good old US Congress. What everyone needs is more and more laws removing freedom from some while granting more freedom to others. This is usually determined by which group generates the most money for the politicians.
    I like the method used by the Indians best. No one owns the water, no one owns the land. First come, first served. How simple and straight forward. It removes the driving force behind this whole issue, which is greed.
    It is a given, that when one chooses to build near water there will be boats, those that we like and those that we don’t.
    There are certainly boaters at these anchorages that find some waterfront homes beautiful and others an eyesore, which detract from the natural beauty of the area. Beauty is in the eyes of, well you know. Does that give the boater the right to have the ugly or unkept home seized in 30 days and sold.
    The home owner certainly polutes with roundup and lawn feed and the like. How about it, bring on the EPA, check into the runoff from these poluters too. In the Keys a study has already revealed that the land dwellers polution far exceeds that of the boaters. Look it up, it is well documented.
    It is not really about polution at all, it is about the money and the greed and always is.
    The boats were here first and every single home owner knew this, without a shadow of a doubt, going in.
    To the home owner I say, suck it up or move, after all that is exactly what you want and expect the boater to do.
    Popeye

  • [EXPIRED] Florida Anchoring Rights/Regulations

    Florida Anchoring Rights/Regulations
    An Analysis As Of 2/12/09

    I have no fear of passing along an inaccurate statement when I say there isn’t a hotter topic in the Floridian cruising community than the issue of anchoring rights and regulations. That is why we at the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net have been dedicated to passing along the best possible information on this controversy, at the earliest possible moment.

    Last December, I was dismayed to receive several e-mails from those that attended the last FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission) public comment meeting in Key West, indicating that the requirement to establish a state approved mooring field BEFORE a municipality would be allowed to regulate anchorage, HAD BEEN DROPPED from the FWC’s draft language. By the way, the “draft language” referred to here is part of an attempt by the FWC to establish consistent, statewide anchorage regulations, a worthy goal indeed.

    I attempted to verify the accuracy of these e-mails by contacting a person who was (and is) intimately involved with all marine related issues within the Florida legislature. I was told that while this person was not fully familiar with the most recent changes in the draft FWC language, it did appear as if the new version would allow municipalities to once again enact any anchorage regulations they so chose.

    It looked to me very much like this change in the draft language heralded a return to the “bad old days” of hap-hazard and hap-hazardly enforced local anchorage regulations throughout Florida. So, I sent out a special alert, and just a week or so ago, I reiterated my unhappiness within another alert, this one concerning the city of Marco Island’s denied appeal. Soon thereafter, I received the following e-mail from Captain Mark Leslie, dockmaster at Titusville City Marina:

    Subject: Local Anchoring Ordinances
    Cruising News: While the mooring field/right to regulate thing has been removed, the prohibition of local ordinances remains as it was when Marco v. Dumas took place. See line 162 in draft seven;
    http://myfwc.com/boating/Docs/Boating2009.pdf
    This is not to say this thing does not have some twists and turns ahead once it hits the legislature.
    Mark Leslie

    So, I followed the link in Captain Mark’s message above, and read line 162. Guess what! Mark is 100% right. Municipalities and counties ARE STILL NOT ALLOWED TO REGULATE ANCHORAGE IN THE LATEST DRAFT VERSION OF THE PROPOSED STATEWIDE ANCHORAGE REGULATIONS.

    This was a very pleasant surprise for yours truly, but immediately I began to wonder about the confusion concerning these regulations. I fired off an e-mail to Captain Mark, and while waiting for his reply, telephoned Captain Herman Diebler on Marco Island. Herman is one of the princial movers behind SAMI’s (Sailing Association of Marco Island) effort to challenge local anchorage regulations on Marco.

    Captain Herman told me that when  the FWC draft language changed, they too had wondered whether, under this new proposal, local governments would once again be free to enact any sort of anchorage regulations. So, one of their members queried Captain Alan Richard, perhaps “the” prime mover” in the FWC behind the effort to establish statewide anchorage policy. They received the following reply:

    “They are already denied that authority. This legislation merely clarifies that prohibition so that local governments will be less likely to be confused by strident constituents advancing specious arguments.”
    “For example, two weeks ago, Sarasota adopted an ordinance that provides, ‘vessels that moor or anchor for more than seventy-two (72) continuous hours will be presumed to be no longer in navigation.’ It was a similar provision (the presumption kicked in after 10 days rather than 72 hours) that cost the City of Stuart $5,000.00 in damages plus attorney’s fees, an apology, and a promise that the ordinance would not be enforced until it could be repealed. I have attached a copy of the complaint that was filed in Admiralty in the federal district court. The final order in the case (also attached) does not say much because the city settled the suit within a week after being served. Note, however, that the court retained jurisdiction in case it became necessary to enforce the terms of the parties’ settlement agreement.”
    Alan
    Captain Alan S. Richard
    Assistant General Counsel
    Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission”

    Well, this was GREAT news. I, and a whole lot of other people in the cruising community, had been confused by the changes in regards to mooring fields (more on that in a minute), but the provision denying local governments the right to regulate anchorage WAS AND IS, STILL IN PLACE!

    Soon after this joyous clarification, I received the following reply from Titusville’s Captain Mark Leslie:

    “As it stands currently, they are proposing to have maybe 4 -5 “test case” areas where they plan to study the notion of buffer zones, Titusville is being considered as one of those areas, if we ever get a permit for our proposed mooring field. Currently we’re wrestling with the Florida Department of Agriculture about clams. Sorry to diverge.”
    “The test mooring field locations will have a certain area outside the mooring field where anchoring is somehow restricted–I’m not real clear on this. Perhaps a time limit, total prohibition, hybrid, or some other local methodology. This is aimed primarily at protecting those in the mooring field. Marina Jacks in Sarasota will be one to watch. Senator Bennet has taken a special interest in helping the owners create a significant buffer area around their facility. Ergo the buffer zone idea. I don’t know that I would be real comfortable being the first city to write a uniform citation for anchoring. Until this reaches the Courts in Admiralty, I really don’t think anyone knows where this will ultimately fall out.”
    “Regarding the mooring field/right to regulate; the notion stemmed from discussions with several in the marine industry who felt that if a locality put forth the effort to install a managed mooring field and charge reasonable fees, that said locality would have greater authority to regulate anchoring in their locality. This was the 10 day vs. 120 day part of draft 1 (I think those were the numbers) at any rate that is now out with the exception of the test cases. And that is yet to be determined. If this is how it actually ends up, I hope it will be a process where the responsible boater is removed from the cross hairs of catch-all legislation. As a city guy who has dealt with his fair share of DV’s and, makes his living off of cruisers, I can tell you, this is a very tough line to draw.”
    “I will also tell you, there is a move afoot to add language to make the permitting of a mooring field a diminimus exemption to the permitting process. In other words, the resource protection value/net benefit of mooring fields is significant enough to legitimize bypassing the permitting quagmire and get the moorings in the water. It took eight years to permit the expansion to the Boot Key Harbor facility. Boaters like to have the mooring field option and it’s hard to make an argument against them environmentally. “
    Mark

    Since receiving the above note from Captain Mark, I have discussed the new, statewide anchoring proposal with several others “in the know,” and have reached the following conclusions.

    1. As the draft regulations now stands, local and county governments ARE indeed still FORBIDDEN to regulate anchorage. As I said above, that’s the GOOD NEWS!

    2. However, the draft language also proposes the establishment of several “test cases” within the next several years. What are “test cases” you may ask. Well, they are communities that establish a state of Florida approved mooring field, and are then allowed to PUT A BUFFER ZONE AROUND THESE MOORING FIELDS WHERE ANCHORAGE IS EITHER NOT ALLOWED, OR RESTRICTED IN SOME OTHER WAY.

    3. THE DRAFT VERSION OF THE NEW, PROPOSED FWC REGULATIONS DOES “NOT” TRY TO DEFINE HOW LARGE OR SMALL THESE BUFFER ZONES WILL BE!!! And that, dear friends, is where the next BIG fight over Florida anchoring rights is going to come! Sometime during 2009 the Florida legislature will have to grapple with the issue of buffer zones around moorings fields, and their size. MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, THE OUTCOME OF THIS STRUGGLE WILL PROBABLY DETERMINE WHETHER MOST OF US CAN ANCHOR ANYWHERE WITHIN SIGHT OF A COASTAL COMMUNITY IN FLORIDA, OR NOT!

    Now, “wait a minute Claiborne,” you may be saying. “Isn’t that a bit sensational.” Not at all. Here’s why.

    The city government in Sarasota, Florida, which is almost surely going to be one of the “test cases,” has just authorized a mooring field in front of their leased city marina (Marina Jacks), and when this field becomes active, they have warranted that anchoring will be ILLEGAL (for longer than 72 hours) anywhere else within Sarasota’s city limits. In spite of some e-mails I received after the Net’s announcement of this proposed mooring field to the contrary, this local prohibition would mean that anchoring would be restricted to 72 hours on something like 70% of Sarasota Bay!

    Based on this plan, it’s easy to see how other communities in Florida could contrive to disallow anchoring almost entirely by defining their “buffer zone” as including all the waters within their town limits. Of course, they would first have to establish a state approved mooring field, but once this task is accomplished, all of a sudden, a whole lot of Florida could become an anchoring forbidden (or restricted) zone.

    After dispatching my last alert, several dozen of you e-mailed, and asked what you as individual cruisers could do, and to whom should you e-mail your views. Please be advised that the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net is in close touch with the pro-cruiser forces who regularly work with the Florida legislature. WHEN THE TIME ARRIVES, WE WILL SOUND THE TRUMPETS AS LOUDLY AS POSSIBLE, AND TELL YOU WHOM TO E-MAIL, such that the voice of the cruising community will be heard! THE YEAR 2009 IS GOING TO BE A CRITICAL ONE FOR FLORIDA ANCHORING RIGHTS/REGULATIONS, and all of us at the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net are absolutely dedicated to keeping the cruising community informed both as to the process, and as to how we can influence that process!

    I know this has been a LONG article (you might want to use a bit of “Murine” about now), but, believe it or else, I’m not finished yet. Within the next week, I will also publish an editorial on this same subject. You will be notified by another special alert when that article is available.

    Claiborne S. Young
    Salty Southeast Crusiers’ Net

  • Captain Pete Takes on the City of Sarasota (Anchoring Rights and 500 Foot Rule)

    OK, I’m going to be the first to admit I missed something here, and have come to this story a bit late in the game. HOWEVER, that does not diminish the fact that this is an important story for ANYONE interested in Florida anchoring rights.
    “Captain Pete” has found himself in a position whereby he was ticketed for being in violation of the Sarasota anchoring ordinances, probably the infamous “500 foot rule.” Shades of Dave Dumas and Marco Island, he has decided to use this incident as a way to take on the city of Sarasota’s (in our opinion) illegal anchoring regulations.
    Notice below that Captain Ken DeLacy, a prime mover in the pro-cruiser Sarasota anchoring issue, is requesting financial support for Captain Pete from the Cruising Community. As you will see, the “fund” is not yet finalized, but we will revise this message just as soon as those circumstances change. In the meantime, I strongly suggest everyone read the messages below, AND follow the link to the Tribune newspaper article!

    Here’s an update on my situation in Sarasota. I have hired an attorney, Joanne Foster to represent me in this matter. This is the same firm that challenged the city of Stuart Fl. and were sucessful in defending the man charged with an anchoring violation. She has entered a plea of not guilty on my behalf. We have requested a jury trial and it may end up in federal court. An article appeared today, jan 26 in the local newspaper, the Sarasota Herald Tribune (available online) about my case. also, I have been contacted by the NMMA, a boat industry group offering to help. I am overwhelmed at the positive messages and support I have been given by friends and strangers alike. It looks like my chances are good to win this and perhaps set an example to other cities that the law applies to everyone, and they ignore it at their peril. We will be doing updates here and at sarasota harbor google group as well and I appreciate everyones support. If you can help with my legal expenses that would be appreciated as well. If tou want to contact me at peteshaw998@yahoo.com I would be happy to talk
    Thanks
    Pete

    Today Pete had Joanne Foster, FL Board Cert. in Admiralty and Maritime Law, give our City attorney Fournier a phone call requesting a delay of the Feb 1st court arraignment. Foster is with the same Firm that successfully defeated the City of Stuart a couple of years ago when they also tried to enforce illegal local ordinances.
    Pete’s fight is our fight as well and as there will be costs associated with this battle I would like to request help from the group on this one. Some here have already offered money to fight this, and I wonder if anyone here has advice on setting up a fund.
    Keep in mind if the City insists on fighting the State on this they will be sued and all moneys invested will be returned.
    Thanks, and THANK YOU Pete!
    Ken

    Ken and everybody,
    Here we go! My attorney has sent to the court that enters a plea of NOT GUILTY in place of my appearance in court on Feb 1. The NMMA, a boat mfg. lobby has gotten in touch as well and they want to help, but they can’t help financially. Tomorrow, I send in my retainer to the law office for $500.00 to get the ball rolling. any financial help would be appreciated . There is an article in the Herald Trib today about me and if you look online you can read the comments people send in. feel free to add your own.
    Check it out.
    Thanks Pete

    Below is a link to the article Pete mention.
    http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20100126/ARTICLE/1261059?p=3&tc=pg
    Ken

    Claiborne,
    I took a look at your article and I offer the below additional info for your reference.
    Where Pete was anchoring is the same spot he has been anchoring for years when he comes S. for the winter. I don’t think he intended on this happening, but he’s not regretting it either. He was not arrested but received a ticket to appear in court, no option to just pay a fine.
    Ok that’s it for the corrections. A fund has not been set up yet, and I don’t have the slightest idea how to even get started. Any advice?
    Ken

  • [EXPIRED] Latest On Florida Anchoring Rights/Regulations From the Florida Open Water Society, 3/19/09


    Floridaopenwatersociety.org

    UPDATE
    3-18-09  4:20 PM
     
    Representative Trautman has agreed to meet with FOWS Vice President John Smith Thursday at 2 pm. It is more important then ever to get as many calls as possible to his office tomorrow morning. We are hoping for good news.
     
     

    CALL TO ACTION

    LEGISLATIVE UPDATE March 18, 2009
     
    Representative Trautman concedes anchoring section of HB 1423 needs amending/1423 passes first committee
     
    Good news and bad news, Representative Trautman conceded the anchoring sections of 1423 needed multiple amendments before it would be ready for discussion. This is evidence of the high degree of attention the boating community has drawn to the anchoring section. several Representatives on the committee stated they had significant concerns based on the high level of calls received over this issue. 
     The bad news is Representative Trautman's concession prevented discussion in the committee and the bill passed on without debate. Presumably the bill will be returned to this committee when amended for a full debate on the anchoring section as amended.

    Representative Trautman has from today until  Tuesday morning to make his amendments and present the bill to the General Government Policy Council that he is the chair of. We are asking all supporters of the FOWS amendments to place a follow up call to Representative Trautmans Office and encourage him to use the FOWS amendments as the basis for the changes. Representative Trautman needs to understand you are all watching and concerned. In addition please follow up with the members of the Government Policy Council listed below. Make sure they understand the Agriculture and Natural Recourses Committee was blocked from reviewing this section of the bill.  
    We need everyone calling the below listed numbers as soon as
    possible. We are also asking our concern partner organizations to follow up with your contacts. this is the week to have impact on HB1423. 
      

    Representatives on General Government Policy Council
     Troutman "1423 sponsor" 850-488-9465, Hooper 850-488-1540,Waldman 850-488-3164, Anderson 850-488-8528, Brandenburg 850-488-0260, Ford 850-488-0895, Grimsley 850-488-3457, Hays 850-488-0348, Kreegal 850-488-9175, Kriseman 850-488-9337, Long 850-488-6197, Patterson 850-488-9873, Taylor 850-488-8632, Trudi Williams 850-488-2047, Alan Williams 850-488-1798,  Zapata 850-488-9550  

    CALL TO ACTION
    03/18/209

    For Immediate Release
    Contact:
    Eric Dybing
    Florida Open Water Society

     

    CALL TO ACTION

    Legislative update March 10, 2009
     
    House bill 1423 was referred to four committees today, they are

     
    Agriculture & Natural Resources Policy Committee
    General Government Policy Council
    Finance and Tax Council
    Full Appropriations Council on General Government 
     

    The bill will be heard by each committee in this order. For this reason, we all need to continue to call the Representatives on Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Committee as this committee will have the best opportunity to amend or kill the anchoring provisions. The phone numbers for these Representatives are listed again for you below.

    In addition the members of the General Government Policy Committee need to be contacted as we have not targeted them in the past and getting them up to speed on these damaging provisions is critical. Several of our members have reported back that the calls are well received and seem to be generating concern over the anchoring and boating restriction sections of the bill.
     WE NEED YOU CONTINUED EFFORTS TO WIN. Making just a few phone calls each day will keep the pressure up until the hearing. Please take the time to call all the Representatives listed below.
    We have posted updated revisions for 1423 on the legislative button on our web page. Please visit the page and review this information. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Previously published list

    Representatives on Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Williams 850-488-2047, Poppell 850-488-3006, Brandenburg 850-488-0260, Bembry 850-488-7870, Boyd 850-488-9835, Bullard 850-488-5480, Burgin 850-488-9910, Crisafulli 850-488-4669, Culp 850-488-2770, Drake 850-488-4726, Evers 850-488-8188, Glorioso 850-488-0807, Jones 850-488-6897, Mayfield 850-488-0952, Pafford 850-488-0175, Patronis 850-488-9696, Renuart 850-488-0001, Schultz 850-488-0805
     
    New numbers not previously published
     

    Represenatives on General Government Policy Council
     Troutman "1423 sponsor" 850-488-9465, Hooper 850-488-1540,Waldman 850-488-3164, Anderson 850-488-8528, Brandenburg 850-488-0260, Ford 850-488-0895, Grimsley 850-488-3457, Hays 850-488-0348, Kreegal 850-488-9175, Kriseman 850-488-9337, Long 850-488-6197, Patterson 850-488-9873, Taylor 850-488-8632, Trudi Williams 850-488-2047, Alan Williams 850-488-1798,  Zapata 850-488-9550  

     

    CALL TO ACTION
    Legislative update March 3, 2009
     
    Version Seven has been incorporated into House Bill 1423 and posted in the House by Representative Trautman. The bill covers multiple issues and the anchoring language is scattered throughout the bills text. Florida Open Water Society will provide a link to the text from our web page.

    Please add Representative Trautman to your call list 850-488-9465 and e-mail list. It is important to impress on Representative Troutman the negative impact this bill could have on the boating industry. request he kill or amend the anchoring provisions to protect boater rights

    The Florida Legislature begins hearing bills in committee this week and we expect several committees to hear the FWC bill during the next two weeks. Florida Open Water Society has dispatched Vice President John Smith to attend the committee meetings and represent our issues over the next two weeks.

    John needs our help, Both houses of the  legislature are going to be over run with lobbyist attempting to make the case for various bills. In order for John to get access and be heard, we must all communicate with our legislative members and staff showing the grass roots support needed to get attention in Tallahassee.
     
    PLEASE CALL THESE LEGISLATORS     
     
    Each of the below listed Senators are on a committee that will be hearing the FWC Legislation. Our goal is to completely overrun the Legislative Offices with requests to speak to legislators over anchoring issues. Please call each Legislator listed and request a telephone meeting to discuss the issues. We are asking each of our members and supporters to place calls to all the Legislators. Leave messages, talk to aids, ask for call backs, hold conversations over the issues. These calls need to take place this week in order to impact the committees in time.    

     
     

    Senators on Community Affairs, Bennett 850-487-5078, Siplin 850-487-5190, Altman 850-487-5053, Deutch 850-487-5091, Garcia 850-487-5106, Gardiner 850-487-5047, Hill 850-487-5024, Ring 850-487-5024, Storms 850-487-5072 and Wise 850-487-5027
    Senators on Environmental, Constantine 850-487-5050, Sobel 850-487-5097, Detert 850-487-5081, Dockery 850-487-5040, Jones 850-487-5065 and Rich 850-487-5103.
    Senators on Judiciary, Constantine , Joyner 850-487-5059, Baker 850-487-5014, Fasano 850-487-5062, Gelber 850-487-5121, Haridopolos 850-487-5056, Peaden 850-487-5000, Richter 850-487-5124 and Ring
    Senators on Commerce, Garcia, Gelber, Crist 850-487-5068, Detert, Justice 850-487-5075, Lynn 850-487-5033, Oelrich 850-487-5020, Prutt 850-487-5088, Richter and Smith 850-487-5112         

    Representatives on Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Williams 850-488-2047, Poppell 850-488-3006, Brandenburg 850-488-0260, Bembry 850-488-7870, Boyd 850-488-9835, Bullard 850-488-5480, Burgin 850-488-9910, Crisafulli 850-488-4669, Culp 850-488-2770, Drake 850-488-4726, Evers 850-488-8188, Glorioso 850-488-0807, Jones 850-488-6897, Mayfield 850-488-0952, Pafford 850-488-0175, Patronis 850-488-9696, Renuart 850-488-0001, Schultz 850-488-0805

    _______________________________________
     
     

    TIP'S FOR TALKING TO LEGISLATORS

     
    Each Florida legislator has pet issues that they work hard on. As a result getting them fired up about a issue that may not of been on there radar in the past is complicated. A few issues seem to sound true to all legislative members.
     
    1. The boating industries impact on the Florida economy is over 18 BILLION
        dollars annually.
    2. Florida is getting a reputation as a boater unfriendly state. Multiple
        Annual cruisers have expressed concern over there future plans not
        Including Florida in the future.
    3. Other states and cities have embraced the cruising community with
        charge free transient docks, parties for cruisers, Sate and local
        government funded services. In contrast Florida is getting the reputation
        of "cruiser go away". 
     4. The FWC bill is anti boater and anti Florida's Economic health.
     5. The vast amount of boats stored at anchor are well maintained and
         beautiful vessels that add to the community and its economic health.
         By banning anchoring the state would direct the functional equivalent of
         removing all homes on a street as a result of a few properly maintained
         home. 
    6. In south Florida as an example, over 2,000 wet slips have been lost to
       development in the past 24 months.
    7. Derelict vessels are a real problem that needs a real solution, not a Law
        that penalizes quality boat owners and the Florida economy. Several
        proposals have been put forth to actually resolve the derelict vessel 
        issue but the bills sponsors have refused to include them ????????????????
    8. This bill is a direct delegation of state control over state waters to
        local governments that have ignored, violated and directly refused to
        comply with the legislatures 2006 law to prevent local governments from
        doing the very thing this bill seeks to establish as law.
    9. On water storage of boats is a reality, Unfunded legislation that directs  
        others to act on the states behalf is never a good idea.
    10. As an example Sarasota has already passed an ordinance that would
         make anchoring on a majority of the bay illegal if this bill passes.
         Although FWC intent may of not been to allow this. The bill is so poorly
        written that constant abuse is not only probable but actually planned and
        in Sarasota's case already enacted into city Ordinance.  
    11.Finally, Ask them to KILL of significantly amend this bill to protect the
        FLORIDA ECONOMY, OUR MARINE INDUSTRY and boaters.        

     
  • [EXPIRED] Important – Florida Anchoring Rights Not Yet Secure

    I commend the article below to EVERY cruiser who has an interest in ever anchoring in Floridian waters. Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, our regular Florida Keys correspondent, has done a wonderful job in laying to rest any sort of myth that anchoring rights in the Sunshine State are a done deal! On behalf of the entire cruising community, we thank Captain Charmaine for this important article. Please send comments on Charmaine's article to CruisingWriter@CruisersNet.net, or click the "Contribute Cruising News" link found near the top, center of this and most Net pages.

    February 18th, 2009
    Anchoring Rights in Jeopardy: Florida's Proposed Pilot Program
    by Charmaine Smith Ladd

    This is for those who still think Florida cruisers' anchoring rights are not in jeopardy; for those who think the Florida FWC's proposed statute changes recently submitted to the Florida Legislature are mainly aimed at cracking down on derelict vessels; and for those who think full-time cruisers are not being targeted… just maybe Florida's liveaboards.
    Think again. 
    This is also for those who may be none of the above and are just plain confused about the entire matter.
    First, a little background:
    Florida Statute 327.02 (17) defines a "liveaboard vessel" as: (a) Any vessel used solely as a residence; or (b) Any vessel represented as a place of business… or a legal residence.
    Cruising vessels are therefore classified as non-live-aboard vessels. As such, we are protected from local anchoring ordinances:
     Passed into law on July 1, 2006:
     Section 6. § 327.60
    Local regulations; limitations.—
     (2) …makes it clear that local ordinances cannot:
    (f) Regulate the anchoring of non-live-aboard vessels outside of the marked boundaries of mooring fields….
    By omission, it is currently on the books that "liveaboard" vessels are indeed subject to local anchoring ordinances when outside of mooring fields.
    So what's the problem with the final proposed changes submitted to the Legislature?
    The problem is the last two pages.  Seemingly added at the final hour prior to submission to the Legislature, it introduces an evil entity.  One that serves solely to take away the anchoring rights of non-liveaboard vessels outside of a mooring field without changing § 327.60, the very statute that protects non-live-aboard vessels' anchoring rights.
    Had s. 327.60 been revised, all who were following each FWC draft and its revisions would have been aware of this threat. Instead, this surprising final draft revision was placed far away from where anyone would expect to find changes regarding anchoring rights. It is this writer's opinion that the placement of "The Pilot Program" was at the bitter end for obvious reasons.

    THE PILOT PROGRAM
    Proposed to the Florida Legislature is the making of a Commission (which includes both the FWC and EPA).  Five geographically diverse "Pilot Program" sites for the purposes of comparing anchoring to mooring with respect to impacts on the environment will be selected by the proposed Commission.
    The chosen sites would be exempt from Florida law Section 327.60 (which prohibits local ordinances against anchoring for non-live-aboard vessels).
    It reads:

    Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 327.60, a county or municipality selected for participation in the pilot program may regulate by ordinance the anchoring outside of a mooring field by  vessels other than live-aboard vessels as defined in s. 327.02.
    The exemption would allow Pilot Program sites the right to pass and enforce ordinances to severely limit or even ban anchoring of non-live-aboard vessels (that's we cruisers, folks!). 

    Early January, Sarasota announced a 72-hr. anchoring limit in their waters.  Under Florida law, they cannot make or enforce such an ordinance. It has since been contested and dropped.  But it proves that Sarasota clearly jumped the gun and let the proverbial cat out of the bag.
    How Sarasota knows it is to be one of the five sites to be chosen is beyond me.  Proposed legislation at this point has distinct parameters:
    Any ordinance enacted pursuant to this pilot program shall take effect and become enforceable only after approval by the commission.
    The proposed legislation, if passed, would become law October 1, 2009. The Commission would select the five sites no later than July 1, 2011 and turn in their findings by January 1, 2014.  The Pilot Program would then expire on July 1, 2014 (unless reenacted by the Legislature). It is much more likely that prior to its expiration, more Pilot Program sites would be in the works.
    Sarasota, Marco Island, Miami Beach… ring a bell?
    The thin disguise of a need for the EPA and FWC to form a commission to create and oversee a "Pilot Program" for environmental study with regard to mooring fields is now clearly seen for what is really is: A pet project by those who not only want to own Florida's coastline, but want to own all the waters along its coastline as well.  Maritime Law and the rights of a boat in navigation to anchor stops them. Thus the "Pilot Program" to get around Maritime Law and Florida s. 327.60.
    Do not be misled.  Some say, "Well, if Florida doesn't want my boating dollars I'll go somewhere else."  If this ridiculous ruse is given the green light, our entire Nation's coastline waters are in jeopardy of becoming strictly pay-to-play.
    Pilot Programs have a way of becoming National Policy. They are the easiest legislative changes to get passed because they are experimental, done within a time frame, and usually have some environmental or human impact study as its basis.  Even if the basis is bogus.
    Let your voice against this travesty be heard by contacting any of the major organizations below. They, among many others, continue to fight and protect our rights to anchor freely under Maritime Law:  
    The National Marine Manufacturing Association www.nmma.org; The Seven Seas Cruising Assoc. www.ssca.org; and Boat U.S. www.boatus.org.

    Charmaine Smith Ladd, SSE Cruiser's Net Regional Reporter for the Florida Keys, bringing you "The Low Down from Down Low." www.SeptemberSea.com 

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