I know it is hard to believe, but a THIRD attempt was made in the Florida legislature today (5/1/14) to allow Sunshine State municipalities and counties to pretty much institute any sort of anchoring restrictions they desired.
WE ARE VERY HAPPY TO REPORT THAT THIS THIRD ATTEMPT WAS VOTED DOWN, and, at least for this Florida legislative session, any changes to the Florida Pilot Field Program seem to be thoroughly dead. Of course, in an earlier vote, Florida lawmakers did extend the Pilot Program for three more years, and there are certainly many member of the cruising community who will be far from happy with this prospect, but at least we are not going to see a return (at least in 2014) to the “bad old days” of local, hap-haphazardly and selectively enforced local and county Florida anchoring regulations.
THANKS to one and all who responded to the requests from Boat/US, the Florida Marine Industries Association, Waterway Guide and the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net, to contact Florida legislatures!
WE DID IT! Every southeastern USA cruiser who participated in this fight please take a well deserved proverbial pat on your back!
Conversely, this eleventh hour tri-effort does indeed show there are powerful, wealthy, property owning interests in the Sunshine State who would simply prefer not to see boats when they walk out in their backyards. Note that this is an entirely SEPARATE issue from the very real Floridian problem of abandoned vessels, derelicts and live aboard hulks (vessels that will never move again, unless it’s straight down to the bottom.” But, that’s another issue, for another day.
For now, GOOD JOB everyone!
Now, here is an eye opening video of the debate yesterday in the Florida Senate about the amendment that would have allowed Florida counties to locally regulate anchorage. As you will see, members of the cruising community are certainly not cast in a favorable light by those favoring this amendment.
We urge ALL Floridian cruisers to watch this video!!! It gives what is perhaps one of the most penetrating insights I’ve seen into the mind set of those who would have the state of Florida return to the “bad old days” of local anchoring regulations. And, at least speaking for myself, the debate troubles me considerably in regards to the future of anchoring in Florida.
To watch the video, you must follow the link below, and then, hover your pointer over the bottom of the video window. A slider will appear. You must push the slider to the right, until you reach the 401:00 mark. The debate and eventual “NO” vote, occurs between times 401:00 and 411:00.
NEWS From BoatUS
Boat Owners Association of The United States
880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304
BoatUS Press Room at http://www.BoatUS.com/pressroom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com
Florida Legislature Kills Anti-boating Legislation: BoatUS on Watch
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., May 2, 2014 – Sometimes it’s the middle of night, and often it’s only at the very last moment. But that’s the nature of how new legislation is often introduced with the backing of special interest groups in state houses across the US. Often the intent is to keep the public in the dark. But that’s not what happened over the last two weeks in Florida, when Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) became instrumental in turning the tide on some 11th-hour legislation that would have thrown out a statewide effort to develop consistent and rational anchoring options for cruising boaters, and severely impacted anchoring in some of the most important areas along Florida’s coasts.
With official end of Florida’s 2014 legislative session today, BoatUS says that the series of anti-anchoring legislative amendments are no longer a current threat. Attempts were made to add these amendments to the Florida Fish and Wildlife bills in both Senate and House, and would have established a dangerous precedent for the rest of the state, lead to a patchwork quilt of anchoring restrictions and exposed boaters and legitimate cruisers to citations and fines. It would have also completely ignored an ongoing Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission anchoring pilot program whose goal is provide a more uniform and fair anchoring regulations statewide.
BoatUS, with a groundswell of boater support generated over 5,800 comments to legislators, urged the Senate and House to defeat the amendments’ passage. The Fish and Wildlife bills have now passed “clean” with no anti-anchoring amendments.
“Our Florida members answered our call to weigh in and let legislators know the impact of the proposed legislative changes,” said BoatUS Government Affairs Senior Program Coordinator David Kennedy. “Florida legislators responded and soundly defeated the proposals. BoatUS thanks both Representative Tom Goodson and Senator Charlie Dean for their tireless efforts on behalf of Florida boaters,” Kennedy concluded.
Florida Senator and Senate Minority Leader, Christopher L. Smith (Fort Lauderdale) and Representative Eduardo “Eddy” Gonzalez (Miami Springs) introduced amendments to House Bill 955 and Senate Bill 1126 (the Florida Fish and Wildlife agency bills), that would have given counties unfettered control over the restriction of anchoring throughout their jurisdictions.
However, the boating advocacy and services group says Florida boaters and cruisers need to remain vigilant. “BoatUS is on watch,” said Kennedy, “And working with Sunshine state boaters, we can be effective when others decide to try to negatively impact our boating. But we know from experience that this will happen again – it’s just a question of time and in which statehouse will someone else decide boaters don’t matter.”
According to flsenate.gov, the amendment (255208) failed to be adopted on the Senate floor on 1 May.