An update for those wanting more information on contacting their Florida representatives:
First, below is a list of the members of the Environmental Preservation Committee, including their contact information. This is the committee handling the bill at this time. The Chair is Charlie Dean however, he
introduced the bill. So, it’s been suggested that contacting committee members directly is a better option. Be sure to reference SB 1548 in your communication. The SSCA has also provided information on contacting your
legislators. Their brochure can be downloaded here: http://www.ssca.org/downloads/ccc/SSCA_Anchoring_brochure.pdf
Further down in this post is the text of a letter opposing the bill sent by one of our members to his representative. Please feel free to copy and paste this when writing to your state legislators.
Many thanks to Bill Griffin and Rick O’Connor for providing this information.
Florida Environmental Preservation Committee Members: See list below in earlier posting.
March 23, 2015
The Honorable (State Senator)
State Senator District (XX)
XXX Senate Office Bldg
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
Via email to: (Senator info)@flsenate.gov
Re: Senate Bill 1548 “Vessel Safety”
Dear Senator (Last Name):
I strongly urge you to oppose Senator Dean’s proposed Senate Bill 1548 “Vessel Safety,” which contains a provision that prohibits “anchoring a vessel within 200 feet of the shoreline of developed waterfront property between the hours of one hour past sunset and one hour before sunrise.”
While the Bill contains various other provisions prohibiting the mooring of unsafe vessels (such as derelict, inoperative, leaking, hazardous), it appears a principal purpose of the Bill is to prohibit the safe anchoring
of well-founded vessels that cruise and anchor along the Florida intracoastal waterways.
I am a member of the American Great Loop Cruisers’Association, an organization of over two thousand members who cruise the Florida waters, the Atlantic coastal waters, and the Great Lakes. We have hundreds of boaters who safely cruise Florida waters every year. Our members provide millions of dollars of economic benefit to the Florida marine and tourism industries. Our cruising boats stay at marinas, visit the many waterfront restaurants and stay in the countless, beautiful anchorages all along the Florida intracoastal waterway.
As you know, Florida waterfront property is highly developed, valuable and exclusive, affording its owners beautiful sunrises and sunsets over the water, among many other benefits. But upland residential property owners
do not own the water! Florida waters are held in trust for the benefit of all Floridians and visitors who come here to enjoy our great state and its unique coastline.
The “Vessel Safety” Bill has no business including an anchoring prohibition of well-founded yachts cruising our shores. Senator Dean’s bill is a flagrant attempt of well-healed property owners (and their state legislators) to claim ownership of the water they have the privilege to look at!
Again, I urge you to defeat Senate Bill 1548
(Your Signature and contact info)
America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association
Here is a copy of the reply I received from my State Representative:
Dear Mr. McDonald,
I thank you for your support and look forward to continuing to represent Northeast Florida! Regarding SB 1548, it is not gaining much traction and has not even been presented to its first committee, which is not a good sign. My district staff can explain this more to you if you would like. I have also attached the web page that shows some more detailed information on the bill. As you can see, it has not had movement since March 3rd.
Florida Senate – 2015 SB 1548
There is currently a bill in the Florida Senate that will prohibit overnight anchoring within 200 feet of shore in a developed area. This will significantly affect virtually every safe anchorage in Florida.
Unless action is taken, this law will pass.
We are attempting to flood faxes and phones of the Committee Senator members reviewing this bill.
I encourage all cruisers to fax their protest and/or call insuring you reference Senate Bill SB 1548.
The following is a list of fax and phone numbers. Be sure to reference SB 1548.
Environmental Preservation The Chair is Charlie Dean however, its his bill. I suggest contacting committee members:
Christopher Smith Fax 954-321-2707
Thad Altman Fax 888-293-3815
Greg Evers Fax 888-263-0013
Darren Soto Fax 407-846-5188
Appropriations – General Government
Chair Alan Hays Fax 888-263-3677
Email: HAYS.ALAN. @FLSENATE.GOV
Chair Anitere Flores (Miami) Fax 305-270-6552
M. F. “Sully” Sullivan, Past Commodore of the Hillsboro Inlet Sailing Club in Lighthouse Point, FL.