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The Salty Southeast
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Archive For: EASTERN FLORIDA – All Cruising News

  • Another Good Visit to Ortega Yacht Club Marina, St. Johns River, Jacksonville, Fl

    Located on the Ortega River just above the Roosevelt Blvd. Bridge and just below the intersection of the Ortega and St. Johns Rivers, Ortega Yacht Club Marina is especially convenient to the Riverside section of Jacksonville. Our thanks to Skipper Herl for this report.

    Ortega Yacht Club, Florida
    Ortega Yacht Club is a bit out of the way if you plan to stay on the ICW. It is 20-25 mile from Sisters Creek on the ICW so if you go, you have to do it on purpose. If you have some time and want to get away from the ICW for a few days the Ortega would be a great place to do just that. Ortega is not affiliated with any FCYC Yacht Clubs.
    Paul the dock master is great, tryes to help you in any way he can. One day we needed to get to a Wall Mart, Paul carried us to Wall Mart in his truck so we could replace a TV that stopped working.
    We stayed over a week. Completed some chores, did laundry, (and that needed to be accomplished) and were able to get away from the boat for a while to do some shopping. The shopping is within walking distance. Belks, West Marine, Publics, CVS, restraunts and lots more. I was able to stop into a hearing aid place (not my brand) to get my aids checked and cleaned. They were actually exited to help us as well as interested in our trip. Another hint is to buy a real comfortable back pack for the grocery runs.
    Phil Herl

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Ortega Yacht Club Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Ortega Yacht Club Marina

  • Good Visit to Boathouse Marina, St. Johns River, Palatka, FL

    Boathouse Marina overlooks the shores of the St. Johns River west-southwest of Palatka City Marina and marker #1. As Skipper Herl points out, cruisers docking here are within walking easy distance of the shops and restaurants in downtown Palatka.

    Boathouse Marina, Palatka
    Was a very pleasant run from Lake George to Boathouse, 3.5 hr @ approx. 9 knot. We arrived in the pm and were docked and tied by just after noon. This was really different for us, we normally don’t get in until 3:00 or 4:00 pm.
    The marina facilities are very clean but rustic. We were able to catch up on our laundry. Boathouse is also within walking distance to good eats and to just see the town. Very nice walk.
    We do have friends on the area so we were able to commandeer a car. Publics, WinDixie and a Walmart are within a short drive. We were able to just relax, even took the dingy out for evening cruises on the river. We were also able to visit Ravine Gardens, spent several very pleasant hours there.
    Phil Herl

    One of the Dockmates

    One of the Dockmates


    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Boathouse Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Boathouse Marina

  • Report from Amelia Island Yacht Basin, AICW Statute Mile 720.5

    The entrance channel leading to Amelia Island Yacht Basin, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, cuts into the AICW’s eastern flank, immediately north of the Kingsley Creek Railway Bridge, and just south of Waterway marker #13. Skipper Herl’s report relates a visit before dredging was completed, see

    Amelia Island Yacht Basin
    The crew there is great and the restaurant “The Galley Pub” was very good. Just stopped in to get a snack but ended up with a huge juicy hamburger and all the fixins. Yum-yum.
    They are in the process of dredging [now completed] the canal and basin to improve the depth but did not know what the time line would be for completion.

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Amelia Island Yacht Basin

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Amelia Island Yacht Basin

  • New Owners at Acosta Creek Marina, St. Johns River, Satsuma, FL

    Acosta Creek Marina lies on the east side of the St. Johns River between markers #41 and 42A, south of Seminole Grove, FL. Congratulations to the Simons and we wish them the very best with all their plans.

    Recently, Bob and Jane Simons acquired Acosta Creek Marina (formerly Acosta Creek Harbor) in Satsuma Fl. from previous owners James and Cathy Towles. Eager to bring more business into the marina, Jane & Bob have been working hard planning big improvements and repairing facilities that already exist. For those not familiar with the area, Acosta Creek Marina sits approximately an hour and a half south of Jacksonville, two hours north of Orlando, fifty minutes southeast of St Augustine and an hour east of Gainesville all by car. Those of you traveling by water the Acosta Creek Marina is located within close proximity to channel marker 42.
    The new owners of Acosta Creek Marina have very big plans for their new purchase including expanding many of the marina’s services, as well adding to the goods carried by the ship’s store and improving the grounds about Acosta Creek Marina. Their ultimate goal is to make Acosta Creek Marina not just a stop over or place to store your vessel but a destination on this scenic part of the St. Johns River. They currently offer very affordable dockage at only $7.00 a foot per month with electric on a metered basis and have removed the previous length requirement in order to bring in new customers. Transient dockage is $1.00 a foot daily plus $6.50 for electric. Although Acosta Creek Marina is located in a rural setting, the new owners can arrange transportation for you into town to purchase supplies or check out many of the excellent restaurants in the area. One of their personal favorite dining establishments is Hawg Wash BBQ, with authentic excellent smoked barbecue. The marina is equipped with a 25 ton travel lift and a boat yard where you can do-it-yourself or have one of the many skilled contractors work on your vessel for you. The marina features fixed wood piers with finger slips, showers, a laundry facility and a ship’s store that Jane is working hard to improve.

    Other amenities on site encompass a full gambit of recreational activities, with cabins, RV spots, picnic tables, and the soon to be installed horseshoe pits and grills. Some of the best bass fishing in the world is located within in a couple minutes of Acosta Creek Marina and the beautiful crystal clear freshwater springs are located only a short beautiful cruise away.

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Acosta Creek Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Acosta Creek Marina

  • Report from Georgetown Marina and Lodge, Lake George, St. Johns River

    Georgetown Marina and Lodge lies north of marker #72, a short hop north of the St. Johns River’s northerly intersection with Lake George.Our thanks to Skipper Herl for this report.

    Georgetown Marina, Lake George, Florida
    Georgetown Marina, located at the very north end of Lake George. We originally thought about getting fuel there but they were having trouble with their pumps and they were running really slow. George Town is a nice quiet little fish camp type of marina. The people are very friendly and helpful. Since it is at the very north end of the lake, it can be a bit lumpy if the wind is out of the south.
    There are not a lot of stores or restaurants within walking distance, so it is probably only for one night stops.
    We wanted to stop in Lake George and take the dingy into Silver Glen Springs, but the weather did not cooperate. If your ever in the area Silver Glen Springs is one place you should put on the to do list. On weekends it can get really crowded, especially holidays.
    Phil Herl


    Click Here To View the St. Johns River Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Georgetown Marina and Lodge

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Georgetown Marina and Lodge

  • Good Visit to Cocoa Village Marina, Cocoa, FL, AICW Statute Mile 897

    Cocoa Village Marina occupies the mainland side of the Waterway, just north of the Cocoa bridge and only a few quick steps from the downtown Cocoa business district! Our thanks to Skipper Herl for these photos!

    Coco Village Marina, Coco, Florida
    Nice place to stop. Only spent one night. So did not get to do much. A place we would like to spend some time at on the way back home.

    Phil Herl


    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Cocoa Village Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Cocoa Village Marina

  • More Praise for Inlet Marina, St. Augustine, FL, AICW Statute Mile 775.5

    Inlet Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, borders the eastern banks of the Waterway, immediately south of the Vilano Beach high-rise bridge. Skipper Herl adds to the many good things we continue to hear about Inlet Marina and their personal service.

    Inlet Marina, Florida
    Inlet Marina, the friendliest place we have stopped at yet. We talked to Jay about fuel earlier and he told us to come in late PM and we could stay on the dock for the night. So we did.
    Jay made sure we ate at the restaurant by giving a discount on our meal. The meals were very good.
    This is a great stop for fuel and grub. We were able to top off with fuel, walk to Publics for groceries. All set for another 500 miles.
    The tide in that area can be strong, but don’t worry, Jay will let you know the direction and speed when you call for the approach. Like I said up front, Jay is very helpful.
    Phil Herl


    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Inlet Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Inlet Marina

  • A Pleasant Night at Sailfish Marina, Stuart, FL, near AICW Statute Mile 988

    Sailfish Marina of Stuart on Manatee Pocket (not to be confused with Sailfish Marina near Palm Beach and Lake Worth Inlet), is the first facility encountered after entering the Pocket entry passage. Thanks to Skipper Herl for the photos of the popular fishing grounds.

    Sailfish Marina, Stuart, Florida
    Very nice and clean. Because of the spring break we were put on the fuel dock. That was no problem. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. It is a big fishing area so lots of fishing boats in and out. The area is also a no wake zone and everyone pays attention, so it was a pleasant night even on the fuel dock.
    Phil Herl

    Fishing Boats at the Mouth of Manatee Pocket

    Fishing Boats at the Mouth of Manatee Pocket

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Sailfish Marina of Stuart

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Sailfish Marina of Stuart

  • Early Morning, Fernandina Beach Mooring Field, AICW Statute Mile 716

    Here’s an article with which we can easily identify and a nice tribute to our friends at America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association.  Published by Joe Weston in the Columbia Daily Tribune, Columbia, Missouri. Fernandina is home to Fernandina Harbor Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    Early morning on the Intracoastal Waterway


    Fernandina Mooring Field

    Sunday, May 24, 2015 at 12:00 am
    Columbia native Sally Tull Logan and her husband, Clay Logan, are in the midst of an ambitious boat journey called the Great Loop. The Loop involves circumnavigating the eastern half of North America by water, with most of the passage being on the Intracoastal Waterway, or ICW.

    Loopers, as they are called, live on their boats for the entire journey, which might be in the 3,000- to 5,000-mile range, depending on side trips. I was fortunate to join them in the Florida Keys last year and on the ICW from Jacksonville, Fla., to Charleston, S.C., this year.

    Being on the water affords opportunities for many spectacular sunrises and sunsets, as well as treacherous storms. This scene was more subdued but still beautiful, as sailboats in the lifting fog reflected the sunrise at Fernandina Beach, Fla. The only motion was a solo bird hunting for unsuspecting breakfast at dawn.

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Fernandina Beach Mooring Field

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Fernandina Harbor Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Fernandina Harbor Marina

  • Top Ten BBQs, including Captain’s BBQ on the AICW! Statute Mile 800

    Palm Coast is between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach and Captain’s BBQ is at Bing’s Landing on the east side of Mile 800. Sounds delicious!!

    CNN) — There’s more than one bone of contention in the great finger-lickin’ barbecue debate. Pork or beef? Vinegar- or tomato-based sauce? No sauce — or maybe something mustard-based?
    Travel site TripAdvisor has waded into hotly contested territory with a list of the best BBQ restaurants in the United States.

    6. Captain's BBQ, Palm Coast, Florida – Located along the Intracoastal Waterway, this Palm Coast, Florida, eatery -- which is accessibly by boat -- pairs mouthwatering meats with al fresco dining.

    6. Captain’s BBQ, Palm Coast, Florida – Located along the Intracoastal Waterway, this Palm Coast, Florida, eatery — which is accessibly by boat — pairs mouthwatering meats with al fresco dining.

    CLICK HERE for the rest of the list from WGNO TV.

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Captains BBQ

  • Possible Tender Solution to “All Aboard Florida” Railway Bridge Closures

    Remember the many discussions among boaters last year concerning the proposed All Aboard Florida high speed trains? See The addition of a full-time tender may be a solution, as reported in this article by Michael Turnbell in The Sun Sentinal.

    For the first time in years, boaters have a full-time tender to communicate with at the New River railroad bridge in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
    It’s part of a six-month test by the U.S. Coast Guard that, if successful, could ease boater concerns about All Aboard Florida, which plans to run 32 trains a day on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks.

    The marine industry insists All Aboard Florida’s trains will keep the bridge down too long, choking access for boats and damaging a key industry in an area known as the yachting capital of the world.
    A draft study by the Federal Railroad Administration found the new trains will have a negligible effect on boating. All Aboard Florida vowed to coordinate schedules with other trains, publish timetables and invest in new equipment to cut average crossing times from 18-20 minutes to 10-12 minutes.
    The test will determine if having a tender present will improve the speed of the bridge’s opening and closing. It also will see if improved communication will allay boater concerns over when the bridge will be closed and for how long.
    The Coast Guard said in a posted notice its new test “will promote equal usage of waterways and railroad for all parties involved.”
    The New River bridge, built in the 1970s, is currently kept open for boats and only closes when a freight train passes — up to 14 times a day. But when the new high-speed passenger service starts in late 2016, the bridge would be required to close 16 additional times a day.
    That is a problem for boaters because at high tide, the closed bridge sits about four feet above the water, making it hard for even a kayak to pass underneath.
    Under the test, which will run through October 16, the bridge will be closed for not more than 60 minutes in any two-hour period.
    “We’re excited to see how it works,” said Phil Purcell, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. “It’s been unpredictable so this should add more reliability for people who use the river.”

    While the bridge is still controlled by operators in Jacksonville, Purcell said the new tender will be able to tell them to slow trains if a boat needs more time to make it through. Towboat operators hauling large yachts can be warned ahead of time when the bridge will be down. And the tender can tell dispatchers to more quickly raise the bridge once a train passes.
    “Sometimes the bridge is currently shut when there is no train, or after the train passes, the bridge isn’t raised right away,” Purcell said.

    Click Here for the full article.

  • Question re Possible New Shands Bridge over the St. Johns River

    The fixed Shands Bridge, lying southeast of Green Cove Springs and marker #20, sets the vertical clearance limit for the upper St. Johns River with its height of 45 feet. Sailcraft that cannot clear this span must forego exploration of what is to our collective minds, the most beautiful section of this lovely stream. Many a sailor has shaken a fist and employed colorful language while coming about at the Shands Bridge! Perhaps even Skipper Bosque? Our thanks to Skipper McDonald for the official response.

    Any updates on the construction of a new Shands Bridge? Are they building one with a 65′ clearance?
    Raul Bosque

    Approved, but not funded. Where have we heard this before?!?

    May 11, 2015
    This is a recent reply I received about the FDOT plans to replace the Shands Bridge on the St Johns river in Green Cove Springs. Unfortunately, for those of us with a mast height in excess of 45′ we will remain restricted from traversing the river.
    Perry McDonald

    The Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) current plan is to replace the existing Shands Bridge with a new bridge that will have 65 feet of vertical clearance. However, the project is not funded in FDOT’s Five Year Work Program and will likely not be replaced for ten or more years. Replacing the bridge is a high priority to FDOT and the replacement could be advanced if funding were to become available.
    Thank you for your interest in the First Coast Expressway project. If you have any questions or comments, please call or email.
    James M. Knight, P.E.
    Urban Planning and Modal Administrator

    Florida Department of Transportation District 2
    2198 Edison Avenue
    Jacksonville, FL 32204

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Shands Bridge

  • 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 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.

    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
    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

  • Report from Open Anchorage, AICW Statute Mile 970

    Open Anchorage, located four statute miles south of Fort Pierce, is not your typical cove style anchorage, so we are grateful for this report from Skipper Hundley.

    Great holding. Comfortable night anchored south of marker #9 with winds from north/northwest.
    Kris Hundley

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Open Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Open Anchorage

  • Lake Avenue Bridge back to On-Demand Openings, Lake Worth, Eastern Florida AICW Statute Mile 1029

    Lake Avenue Bridge - Click for Chartview

    Lake Worth/Lake Avenue Bridge crosses the Waterway at Statue Mile 1029, south of marker #33 and has a closed vertical clearance of 35ft. Our thanks to Skipper Johnson for this update!

    As of May 1, 2015, Lake Worth Bridge is back to On Demand.
    Ted Johnson

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For Lake Avenue Bridge

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Lake Avenue Bridge

    Click Here For An Earlier Notice Concerning the Lantana Bridge.

  • Update on Florida’s Anchoring Restrictions Bill

    This Florida senate bill restricting anchoring has been much in the news for several weeks, see and This update is from Kim Russo on AGLCA’s Forum

    Below is an update provided this morning from the team working on defeating the proposed anchoring restrictions in Florida. Thanks to all the Loopers and our Sponsors who have taken steps to help with this issue. We’ve made
    a lot of progress!

    1. There are 8 days left in the regular session.

    2. On the House side, there is currently no remaining bill that includes the anchoring ban. The bill that most logically could have been a vehicle for such a provision passed 119-0 this morning on the House floor (i.e. vote by the full House). This was after the anchoring ban amendment was defeated in its last committee hearing. Therefore, when it was brought up for a vote of the full House (on the floor) it contained no anchoring ban provisions. Unlike last year, no anchoring ban amendment was filed on the floor although our team was poised, ready to respond rapidly … as were the House members who have become champions for the boating and cruising
    community. That bill is now going to the Senate for a vote.

    3. On the Senate side, the bill containing the anchoring ban made it through the 2nd of its 3 required committees 2 weeks ago. With 8 days left, the bill is not currently scheduled for a 3rd committee hearing.
    Currently, that 3rdcommittee is not scheduled to meet again, although that could change.

    4. We are working continuously to monitor and track every bill and every potential amendment to a bill that could create the anchoring ban. We are in constant communication with a full host of House and Senate members who are with us.

    5. At this stage, broad messaging from the boating community to legislators is not an effective strategy. If, however, any threatening bill or amendment emerges, we will again engage promptly with messaging that is tailored, timed and targeted.

    6. The boating and cruising community has done a great job throughout this session. It has strengthened its voice and its effectiveness. It has broadened and diversified its sources of messaging. For example, recently
    there was effective proactive messaging from the veterans boating community and the Boy Scouts/Sea Scouts boating community that was influential in conjunction with the balance of the boating and cruising community family.

    7. We still have 8 days. Readiness is the key.

    Kim Russo
    America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association

  • Praise for Fernandina, FL, AICW Statute Mile 716

    My family has been vacationing in Fernandina for more than 50 years and it gets better every year, as Skipper Pink obviously confirms! And a berth at Fernandina Harbor Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, puts you right in the heart of the wonderful things to do and see in this special port.

    We never go there without eating at LuLu’s, nuff said.
    The palace bar, where the ship captains of yesteryear drank, don’t let the bar (front room) fool you, the opening behind the bar that looks like a kitchen opening leads to other rooms and entertainments. 2-3 years ago now I think when we were there last.
    Roy Pink

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Fernandina Harbor Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Fernandina Harbor Marina

  • Good Suggestions for Manatee Pocket Anchorages, off the AICW Statute Mile 988

    Manatee Pocket is off the St. Lucie River between the AICW intersection and downtown Stuart, FL. There are two official anchoring areas, one on the waters of the large bay indenting the western banks of Manatee Pocket and another smaller area just to the south. See for charts showing the official anchoring areas. And for a webcam shot of Manatee Pocket, see

    Gas prices are cheaper the deeper you go into the pocket. Christmas week 2014.
    Great breakfast place whistle stop on the main street (A1A? I don’t recall, ask anyone) short walk from the end of the canal by Manatee Island bar and grill, tiki hut style bar (fun place).
    Twisted Tuna restaurant, great, really great sushi, at the head of the same canal, behind the second anchorage-deeper into the pocket.
    The Grove for your eye opener hole in the wall place.
    Other restaurants we did not have enough time in the pocket.

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Manatee Pocket

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Manatee Pocket

  • Less than Good News on SB 1548!

    April 15: Despite the best efforts of SSCA and AGLCA, the afternoon session in Tallahassee brought less than good news with the inclusion of the anchoring restrictions in SB 1548 . Here is a follow-up report by our good friend, Make Ahart, posted on AGLCA’s Forum:
    April 14: This report by Mike Ahart of Waterway Guide is good news for cruisers! Kudos to all who attended and spoke at the hearing and to those who wrote in opposition to SB 1548! Special praise to SSCA, AGLCA and BoatUS for their efforts on boaters’ behalf.

    Following the good news on the House side in Florida this morning, this
    afternoon the second state Senate committee to hear the bill including the
    anchoring provisions voted to move the bill forward. More to come later on
    next steps. More detailed report by Mike Ahart of Waterway Guide is here:
    Kim Russo

    FL anchoring restriction bill passes another Senate committee
    Reported By: Mike Ahart, News Editor
    Florida’s Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government heard Senate Bill 1548 today. This legislation would prohibit overnight anchoring on navigable water near private residences and public marine infrastructure, exception certain circumstances, among other less-contentious provisions. Despite strong support from the cruising community, the committee voted favorably for the bill 6 to 0.

    Eleven bills were on the 2-hour session’s agenda, including contentious legislation related to fracking. Due to time constraints, only two attendees who petitioned the committee to speak were able to. Watch video of hearing (starts at minute 78:08 – a short break is taken for another bill during the hearing).

    Over a dozen cruisers attended the hearing, as well as a morning Florida House hearing on a related bill at the State Capitol in Tallahassee. House Bill 7123 – At-Risk Vessels had no anchoring restrictions for or vessels that are neither considered “derelict” or at risk of becoming derelict, but, last night, an amendment was introduced to the bill which would have aligned with the anchoring restrictions in Senate Bill 1548. Several cruisers and cruising advocates spoke. The amendment was withdrawn, and the “At-Risk Vessel” bill passed unanimously without the amendment.

    Florida House ‘at-risk vessel bill’ passes committee, amendment withdrawn
    Date Reported: Apr 14, 2015
    Reported By: Mike Ahart, News Editor
    Source: WG Staff

    UPDATE: A last-minute amendment which would have aligned House Bill 7123 (At-Risk Vessels) with the anchoring restrictions in Senate Bill 1548 was withdrawn after over a dozen cruisers and advocates spoke against it at a House State Affairs Committee hearing this morning. The bill passed without the amendment.

    The Florida House of Representatives has introduced a new bill defining vessels “at risk” of becoming derelict. It does not mirror Senate Bill 1548 currently under consideration – a bill that would make anchoring illegal within 200 feet of public marine infrastructure and developed waterfront property.

    State Representative Holly Raschein has introduced House Bill 7123 (formerly PCB HWSS 15-06) titled “At Risk Vessels,” does not include any anchoring restrictions for vessels that are neither considered “derelict” or at risk of becoming derelict. Rep. Raschein is Vice Chair of the Highway & Waterway Safety Subcommittee, and represents Monroe County and south Miami-Dade County.

    This legislation would, if enacted, create a new section of code in Florida Statute 327 (“Vessel Safety”) defining at-risk vessels as exhibiting any of the following characteristics:

    (a) The vessel has compartments designed to be enclosed which are incapable of being sealed off or remain open to the elements for extended periods of time.

    (b) The vessel has broken free or is in danger of breaking free from anchor.

    (c) The vessel is listing due to water intrusion, has sunk or is partially sunken, or is left or stored aground in such a state that would prevent the vessel from getting underway.

    (d) The vessel is taking on or has taken on water without an effective means of dewatering.

    According to the bill, the occupant or registered owner of an “at risk” vessel on Florida waters can be warned or fined:

    First offense, $50.
    Second offense occurring within 30 days after a prior conviction, $250.
    Third offense occurring within 60 days after a prior conviction, $500.
    Fourth or subsequent offense occurring within 90 days after a prior conviction, $1,000.
    If the at-risk conditions are not corrected after 90 days, the vessel would be considered derelict. According to Florida Statute 823 (“Public Nuisance”) it is unlawful for a person, firm, or corporation to store, leave, or abandon any derelict vessel in the state, and law enforcement can have the vessel relocated or removed, and any costs associated are recoverable against the vessel owner.

    The legislation would take effect July 1, 2015.

  • Model Letter re SB 1548 by Jim Healy

    Here is a well-written, insightful letter to Florida legislators that should serve as a model for those of you who plan to write in opposition to SB 1548, see Thank you Captain Healy.

    Chairman Hon. Alan Hays
    Vice Chairman Hon. Oscar Braynon
    Senator Hon. Thad Altman
    Senator Hon. Charles Dean
    Senator Hon. Tom Lee
    Senator Hon. Gwen Margolis
    Senator Hon. Wilton Simpson

    Dear Chairman Hays and members of the Senate Committee on General Government Operations:

    I am writing in reference to SB1548, titled “An Act Related to Vessel Safety.” I am a legal resident of Green Cove Springs, Clay County, and an active boater. I have previously written to Sen. Rob Bradley requesting that he decline to support Senate Bill 1548 in its present form. While I do not object to the core safety-related provisions of SB1548, I do object to the anchoring setback provisions contained in the bill. The setback provisions reduce the availability of safe anchoring locations all across Florida, thereby acting against the goal of promoting safety in navigation on state waters. Furthermore, the setback provisions represent revocation of lawful pubic access rights to public trust lands. These lands are held by the state in trust for use by the public, not for the aesthetic preferences or personal use of adjoining waterfront landowners or for the promotion of waterfront business interests.

    Although limitations on anchoring may favor certain business interests, the origin of the setback provisions in the bill appears to be isolated disputes between waterfront landowners and occupants of anchored vessels. Some of these disputes have been highly publicized, but do not justify a sweeping statewide law which would restrict the rights and freedoms of hundreds of thousands of boaters throughout the maritime waters of coastal Florida. These disputes are not based on safety concerns. They can and should be resolved on a case-by-case basis through noise and nuisance proceedings in the judicial branch of municipal, county and state government.

    House Bill 7123 deals with derelict vessels without changing current Florida-wide anchoring rights. When we first moved to Florida in 2004, there was a confusing and inconsistent patchwork of local, city and county laws that restricted or disallowed anchoring in Florida’s intracoastal public trust waters. Compliance with that patchwork of local ordinances was impossible. Florida Statute 327.60 ended that inconsistency in anchoring policies and local manipulation of navigation rights and rules. At this time, HB7123 creates an “at risk” category of boats and gives local governments new tools to manage these situations. Because local governments sometimes seek to promulgate anchoring restrictions as a means of managing problems with “at risk” and derelict vessels, I strongly believe that HB7123 is an excellent step to deter vessels from becoming derelict in the first place.

    I ask that SB1548 be aligned with HB7123. I also ask that as the opportunity presents itself in the future, that the committee act to maintain the statewide consistency of anchoring rules the legislature previously established in FS 327.60, and act to prohibit local or regional exceptions to this state wide policy.
    Thank you for your consideration.
    James B. Healy
    Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Daytona Beach, FL
    Monk 36 Hull #132

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