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The Salty Southeast
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Cruisers Helping Cruisers
 The Town of Marineland has opened its ports with a brand new marina facility creating a destination for boaters on the Intracoastal Waterway between Daytona Beach and St. Augustine, FL.Explorer Charts - the best charts for the Bahamas and ExumasFULL MARINE SERVICE ON SITE TRANSIENT DOCKAGE WELCOMENew Smyrna Beach Marina, 201 N. Riverside Drive, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168, 386-409-2042Amelia Island Yacht Basin - Marina and Boat Yard - Amelia Island FloridaVero Beach MarinaWelcome to Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor! Located in America’s oldest city- St. Augustine, Florida- Camachee Cove is a fully protected marina adjacent to the ICW, and less than a mile from the St. AugusPort of Call, St. Augustine
 Welcome to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, your own paradise in the middle of the beautiful Exumas.Westland Marina is located on the Intracoastal Waterway in Titusville, Florida. Near Cape Canaveral, Port Canaveral, Merritt Island and Cocoa BeachFernandina Harbor MarinaGuest Coupon Available On Our Web Site Hammock Beach Resort & Marina Fort Pierce City Marina 1 Avenue A, Ft. Pierce, FL 34950 Toll Free (800) 619-1780 (772) 464-1245 Facsimile (772) 464-2589Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club

Archive For: EASTERN FLORIDA – All Cruising News

  • 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 http://cruisersnet.net/?p=147527 and http://cruisersnet.net/?p=147397. 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
    Director
    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

  • Fort Pierce Inlet Returns to Normal, off AICW Statute Mile 966

    Our thanks to Captains Baier and Landry for posting this good news on AGLCA’s Forum. See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=147751 for the background story.

    Yay, The Fort Pierce inlet is finally clear of the barge wreckage and back to normal. From cbs12.com…
    Fort Pierce Inlet re-opens
    Story by Thomas Forester CBS12
    FORT PIERCE (CBS12) — The Coast Guard in Miami has confirmed that the Fort Pierce Inlet is now open for all boats. The contractor hired by the Army Corp of Engineers completed recovery of the sunken barge in the inlet
    around 6:30 Monday evening.
    That salvage barge has returned to the Port of Fort Pierce. Today they will start to offload the scrap from the sunken barge and then get ready to return back to New Jersey to their home port.
    It’s been almost two months since restrictions were put in place at the Inlet, after a barge sunk and took the life of one Mariner. Two different contractors used have cost taxpayers $1.2-million.

    Chuck Baier and Susan Landry
    The Great Book Of Anchorages
    Navigation Notices
    Our Blogs
    Trawler Beach House
    Voyages of Sea Trek

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

  • 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 http://cruisersnet.net/?p=107612 for charts showing the official anchoring areas. And for a webcam shot of Manatee Pocket, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=124827.

    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.
    RPink

    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 http://cruisersnet.net/?p=147754. 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
    http://gilwellbear.wordpress.com
    Monk 36 Hull #132

  • Luxury Boat Stranded in West Palm Beach, AICW Statute Mile ?

    If you have witnessed this apparently grounded vessel, please send us a location. This story is from WPTV News 5 in West Palm Beach.

    Luxury boat stranded in Intracoastal Waterway in West Palm Beach
    by Jason Hackett


    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – If you were anywhere near the Intracoastal Waterway Thursday in West Palm Beach you probably saw a strange sight – a boat just sitting there apparently stuck.
    It prompted quite a few calls to our newsroom.
    NewsChannel 5 made some calls and found out that it ran aground earlier in the day.
    We also learned that a tow company, Boat U.S., was at the scene trying to help the boat out, but it was unsuccessful.
    It was the topic of the day for people walking along the Intracoastal.
    Much of the speculation focused on what happened to the boat and the people on board.
    “They’re in West Palm Beach somewhere,” says Geri Vistein, who watched the boat from the shore. “They could be listening to the music over there at a fancy restaurant…who knows what they’re doing?”

    26.713000503366896,-80.05366060838541

  • Updates on Fort Pierce Inlet

    Fort Pierce Inlet remains closed to navigation for vessels over 6ft draft. See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=147108 for the events related to this tragic incident. Our thanks to Captain Baier and Anne Maurer for these updates.

    This salvage operation has been going on since February 24th. The Fort Pierce inlet will be restricted or closed once again to attempt removal of the sunken barge.
    http://www.tcpalm.com/news/local-news/st-lucie-county/boater-traffic-restricted-as-sunken-barge-recovery-continues-at-fort-pierce-inlet_69715710
    Chuck Baier on AGLCA’s Forum

    We just wanted to give you a heads up on the Fort Pierce Inlet. The inlet will be closed beginning @ 9AM on Saturday morning for boats that have a draft bigger than 6 foot. All leisure and fishing boats will have no problem getting through.
    Anne Maurer
    Fort Pierce City Marina – A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    When in doubt, call SeaTow [or TowboatUS] on CH16 ahead of time. They gave us the green light on March 30th when we were headed to Vero Beach after the Palm Beach Boat Show… when earlier warnings had been issued. No problem.
    Bob Johnstone on AGLCA Forum

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

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Fort Pierce City Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Fort Pierce City Marina

  • Shoaling Reported at Matanzas Inlet Problem Stretch, AICW Statute Mile 793

    This Problem Stretch was dredged back in 2012, but it seems to be filling in again exactly where Skipper Dammeyer reports. See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=84969 for an earlier report.

    Larry,
    Please forward this as appropriate. While North bound rounding the big bend at Ft Matanzas at about a boat length from 81A we hit hard with 5′ draft at low tide. We slide over the bump with our wing keel. Cruisers should favor the Reds according to Boat US. I’ve not read about a problem on the net. It’s probably time to post it as the North migration has begun.
    Rick Dammeyer
    Promise
    Catalina 445

    And this from Week 14 LNMs. Note: The USCG does not give a specific location, so their warning may or may not be the above Problem Stretch. The LNM does coincide with the above advice to favor the red side (west) of the channel.

    FLORIDA – AICW – TOLOMATO RIVER – PALM SHORES – MATANZAS RIVER: Shoaling
    The Coast Guard conducted soundings at low tide and found the center of the channel to be between 12 and 18 feet while on the east side of the channel is between 6 and 12 feet. Mariners are advised to transit the area with extreme caution and local knowledge is advised. Chart 11485 LNM: 14/15

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW/Matanzas River Intersection

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

  • 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. We continue to hear good things about Inlet Marina and their personal service.

    These people are fantastic!! We got our first fuel since we left home. Overnight on their dock. Wonderful restaurant.
    Phil and Sandy on board m/v Options

    Displaying 20150331_173433.jpg

    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

  • More Opinions on Florida’s SB 1548

    Here are a number of well worded essays from Florida residents, some opposing SB 1548, a Florida Senate bill restricting anchoring, from newspress.com and some explaining the need for such restrictions.

    Insane bill proposes to strangle Florida cruising
    W. DeHaven Porter 2:48 p.m. EDT March 29, 2015
    porter
    Oh, the ignominy of it! Me, a lifelong Republican, about to take up pen and castigate a sitting member of the Florida Republican Party.
    The subject of my discontent? It is Florida SB1548, a proposed draconian bill that would absolutely destroy the reputation of my home state as a cruising mecca for thousands of boaters who relish the freedom to anchor their vessels in a wide choice of beautiful and convenient anchorages. The unintended byproduct of which, I am sure, will be their departure to more welcoming cruising destinations such as the Bahamas or, if opened, the crystal clear waters of Cuba. Loss of their patronage at Florida businesses and marine facilities will certainly exacerbate already tough times and result in layoffs and countless job losses in Florida’s multimillion-dollar marine industries.
    State Sen. Charles S. Dean’s spiteful bill would remove thousands of Florida’s finest anchorages from cruisers’ itineraries. He obviously means to placate self-absorbed coastal residents who get upset when they awake to see a boat anchored anywhere within their range of vision. Indeed, the bill restricts boaters from anchoring overnight within 200 feet of developed waterfront property (single family, multifamily, townhouse or condo.) 200 feet! Good grief, when did God reserve enjoyment rights for thousands of miles of Florida coastline for fat cats living in waterfront gated communities?
    Ah, but you say surely if cruisers are denied anchorages, they will flock to the marinas and thus inflate the pocketbooks of marina operators and local businesses. Not so my friend.
    It may be so in the landlocked brain of the Republican Dean, a career politician who hails from landlocked Inverness. But most cruisers will simply go elsewhere. It is Sen. Dean who has launched this monstrosity of a bill. Of course, he lives too far inland to smell salt air, so perhaps he should be excused for his ignorance of the thousands upon thousands of U.S. and Canadian boaters who annually enjoy the coastal waterways of our gorgeous state. Anyone who lives near a coast is well aware of cruisers’ presence and the millions they contribute to local economies.
    Having been among their numbers for over seven years of cruising life, I hasten to point out that most cruisers not only patronize Florida marinas, but also alternate between renting a slip and hanging overnight on the hook (anchoring for you landlubbers). Indeed, my fondest memories are of many enjoyable anchorages and other congenial boaters enjoying a quiet spot in space and time. Empirical evidence indicates that most cruisers do the same.
    Local water Nazis will ticket offenders. The miscreants are then ordered to physically report to the county court for fining (up to $250). When? Put yourself in the position of a cruiser who must put off your well-planned cruising expectations, rent a car and find the county courthouse at some future specified date, not to mention finding a marina slip in which to leave your vessel. Of course you could just pick up the hook and depart, but that would mean a second-degree misdemeanor charge and a fine of $500. Government out of control? You bet.
    Sen. Dean’s misguided bill is filed under the heading of water safety. It has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with stroking wealthy campaign contributors who think their purchase of waterfront property has granted them exclusive rights to the enjoyment of water views and sunsets.
    Write, email or call your Florida senator and demand equal rights for boaters by defeating SB 1548. I am.
    W. DeHaven Porter lives in Fort Myers.

    From AGLCA’s Forum:
    In the interest of trying to present both sides of an argument, let me try to explain why the Florida anchoring ban surfaced again in this year’s Florida legislature. First of all let me begin by saying I am a jet skier that has completed over half the great loop. As a member of both the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U S Power Squadron, I have been teaching boating safety over 30 years. In my boating safety classes I always say “There is no such thing as a bad jet ski. . . . There are only bad Jet skiers”. You know, the jet skiers who don’t take a boating safety course, don’t obey the rules of the road and leave wakes everywhere they go.
    As a current owner of three waterfront properties and former owner of two others, I definitely see the land owner’s desire to restrict the area adjacent and directly behind their waterfront property. Public waters are
    held in the public trust but, unfortunately, there are a few (only a few) “bad” boaters who anchor out, play loud music, throw trash into the water and party hardy into the wee hours and abuse their public trust. You are
    welcome to come by my dock any Saturday night and spend the night. I will let you listen and experience what it is like to live on waterfront property with a live band and bar that plays loud music 1/2 mile away. It is because of these “few” bad boaters (or bad bar owners) that waterfront property owners want them banned after normal quiet time hours. Not banned all the time just after “reasonable” quiet hours.
    Several members in this forum believe this is a “rich land baron” issue. This is not a “have” verses the “have nots” clash. This is about restoring peace and quiet to public waters after the sun goes down. Just like most
    marinas have “quiet” hours, land owners are asking for similar civil rules.
    I hope responsible boaters like the members of AGLCA will find a way to help the waterfront owners restore civil behavior and tranquility to the public waters we all love and respect.
    Douglas Townes
    Atlanta, GA

    I can certainly understand your frustrations. HOWEVER, there are laws and ordinances already in affect that that address ALL of these issues. As a homeowner, why are you not outraged that local law enforcement is not doing
    their job to enforce these regulations? Instead of taking a negative statewide stand against all boaters. If cars speed up and down the street in front of your house, will you push for a law forbidding cars from using your street? I doubt it, yet you advocate the same treatment for boaters.
    The obvious answer would be for the police to enforce the speed limit. And there in lies the problem with both these regulations and the “excuses” used to push them forward.
    Chuck Baier and Susan Landry
    AGLCA Forum

    April 13, 2015
    First, as a member of the MTOA which doesn’t seem to want to get in the fight over FL anchoring, I applaud and thank you for picking up the slack. I am already a member of BoatUS and will be joining AGLCA shortly.
    Second, I have made my donation to help you in this cause. I’d like it to be more, but as you know a boat is an expensive hobby, lifestyle.
    Third, I don’t know if SSCA is a membership organization and if so I have looked all over your site for the ability to join and couldn’t find anywhere to do so. Please advise.
    Thanks again and keep up the fight.
    Charles Williamson
    April 14
    I am pleased to say the MTOA has sent their letter to the politicos voicing the power of MTOA membership (5000+) and it’s opposition to the anchoring debacle in FL.
    Charles Williamson

    Editor’s Note: You may join Seven Seas Cruising Association by going to their Homepage and scrolling down the left hand column to SSCA MEMBERSHIP JOIN TODAY

  • Report on Florida’s SB 1548 Hearing

    The introduction of a senate bill restricting anchoring rights has raised many voices in opposition.  See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=147397. This report on yesterday’s committee hearing in Tallahassee by Kim Russo was posted on AGLCA’s Forum, www.greatloop.org.

    There were no surprises at today’s Florida Senate Committee hearing on this issue. Testimony was kept to an absolute minimum because votes on six bills were scheduled for a two hour time period, and the bill with the provision to prohibit overnight anchoring was the last on the agenda. The committee voted unanimously in favor of the bill. But AGLCA’s voice was heard, as was that of SCCA and Boat U.S., who had lobbyists and representatives there. Chairman Dean’s comments during the hearing, and in a brief conversation afterward, suggest that he is willing to work to find a compromise that meets all parties’ needs. Senator Dean has been a proponent of maintaining the rights of boaters to anchor in the public waterways in the past, so the next step is to work with him to make sure he understands our opposition to anchoring restrictions. The next step in the process for the bill is a vote before another committee, which is likely to happen next week. I’ll keep you posted.
    Kim
    Kim Russo
    Director
    America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association

  • Spring Boating and Manatees

    While this reminder comes to us from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, manatees do roam further north, even here in Charleston. So keep a good watch in the warm waterways!

    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

    Springtime brings close encounters of manatees, boaters
    manatees
    As springtime arrives, chances increase that manatees and boaters will have close encounters.

    Boaters can enjoy opportunities to observe one of Florida’s unique species but to avoid colliding with manatees, people on the water should take basic steps such as slowing down, watching out for the animals and complying with regulations in manatee zones.

    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) law enforcement officers will be on patrol in state waters to remind boaters of the seasonal manatee speed zones that go into effect in April. They will be taking enforcement actions when necessary.

    “Our officers do their very best to support conservation of this species,” said FWC Capt. Gary Klein. “We ask that boaters take notice of the zones and do their part as well.”

    In effect from April 1 through Nov. 15, seasonal manatee zones require boaters slow down in certain areas to prevent manatees from being struck by motorboats or personal watercraft. For more information on manatee zones and maps, go to MyFWC.com/Manatee and select “Protection Zones,” where there are links to county maps.

    In spring, manatees leave their winter warmer-water habitats, such as freshwater springs and power plant discharge areas, and disperse along Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts and inland waters.

    Because manatees are large, slow-moving and difficult to detect when underwater, operators of boats and personal watercraft need to take basic steps to avoid causing injury to the marine mammals:

    Wear polarized sunglasses to help spot manatees.
    Look for the large circles on the water, also known as manatee footprints, indicating the presence of a manatee below.
    Look for a snout sticking up out of the water.
    Slow down and comply with manatee speed zones.
    The FWC also asks anyone seeing an injured, distressed, sick or dead manatee to call the agency’s Wildlife Alert Hotline, 888-404-3922 (FWCC) or dial #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone.

    People can support the FWC’s manatee research, rescue, rehabilitation and management efforts by purchasing a “Save the Manatee” Florida license plate at BuyaPlate.com, or by donating $5 to receive an FWC manatee decal by going to MyFWC.com/Manatees and clicking on “Decals.”
    manatee

    fwc6
    For more about manatees, go to MyFWC.com/Manatee, where you can find the brochure, A Boater’s Guide to Living with Manatees.

  • Overhead Cable Work, St. Johns River, south of Palatka

    Replacement of these Florida Power and Light transmission lines should not affect our tall masted friends, but if in doubt, give them a call at 561-722-0889. This power line is just north of Porter Cove Anchorage and normally has a vertical clearance of 90ft.

    FLORIDA – ST JOHNS RIVER: FPL Aerial Crossing Work
    FPL will be replacing some overhead electrical transmission line structures within the St. John’s River, in Putnam County, south of Palatka. Barges will arrive the week of 23 March 23 and work will take place until approximately 20 May, 2015. The structures are along the east and west bank and will not be in the central portion of the river. Coordinates for the two poles that are being replaced are: 29-37-21.49N/81-35-42.60W and 29-37-18.40N/81-35-58.55W in the vicinity of Rivercrest Light 11 (LLNR 8250). The vessel operators will be monitoring VHF-FM Channel 16. The point of contact is Mr. Mark Denman of FPL (561) 722-0889. Chart 11487 LNM: 12/15

  • SB 1548 Florida Anchoring Rights Bill, Updates and Editorials

    This is another legislative attempt to restrict anchoring rights in Florida and this request for support comes from M. F. “Sully” Sullivan, Past Commodore of the Hillsboro Inlet Sailing Club in Lighthouse Point, FL. You can read the Florida SB 1548 bill at https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2015/1548/BillText/Filed/PDF and, in addition to the faxes and emails suggested by Commodore Sullivan, make your own decision regarding other action to be taken. Read very carefully the underlined passages. The bill and its restrictions would take effect July 1, but there is no indication as to if or when the bill will be presented to the senate for a vote.

    And this 3/25 News Alert from BoatUS: http://goo.gl/Avg985

    And this 3/25 article by our friend Mike Ahart of Waterway Guide:

    http://www.waterwayguide.com/latest-news/news/4906/new-florida-house-bill-targets-derelictat-risk-vessels

    And this additional information from AGCLA Forum:

    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.

    Sample Letter:

    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)

    Kim Russo
    Director
    America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association

    Update from Perry McDonald, 3/23, 2015

    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.

    http://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=543844

    Kindest regards,
    Travis Hutson

    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
    Phone 850-487-5031
    EMAIL: CSMITHD93@AOL.COM

    Thad Altman Fax 888-293-3815
    Phone 850-487-5016
    EMAIL: ALTMAN.THAD.WEB@FLSENATE.GOV

    Greg Evers Fax 888-263-0013
    Phone 850-487-5002
    Email: EVERS.GREG.WEB@FLSENATE.GOV

    David Simmons
    Phone 850-487-5010
    Email: SIMMONS.DAVID.WEB@FLSENATE.GOV

    Darren Soto Fax 407-846-5188
    Phone 850-487-5014
    Email: SOTO.DARREN.WEB@FLSENATE.GOV

    Appropriations – General Government
    Chair Alan Hays Fax 888-263-3677
    Email: HAYS.ALAN. @FLSENATE.GOV

    Fiscal Policy
    Chair Anitere Flores (Miami) Fax 305-270-6552
    Phone 850-487-5037
    EMAIL: FLORES.ANITERE.WEB@FLSENATE.GOV

    M. F. “Sully” Sullivan, Past Commodore of the Hillsboro Inlet Sailing Club in Lighthouse Point, FL.

    Just my two cents. We been live aboards since 2007. We lived on the Chesapeake and have done a lot of our cruising in that area. As we would anchor we found all the party people were weekend cruisers. The same seems
    to be every place we visit. I feel the locals are giving true cruisers a bad name. We have laws on the books to handle the noise and drinking problems but is seems they’re not enforced. All the cruisers that I know and are at anchor like it noise free as well. The same could be said about the land owners making all the noise way after midnight. I for one try to respect both parties.
    Flint Firestone
    M/V Grace Full
    AGLCA

  • 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

  • Reeves’ Reports: Hontoon Island Marina at the State Park and Blue Spring Park, St. Johns River

    Skipper Reeves continues his exploration of the St. Johns River with a visit to Hontoon Island State Park Marina/Dock, south of Lake George and north of Lake Monroe near Deland, FL. located east-southeast of flashing daybeacon #53 and the northeasterly mouth of Hontoon Dead River.

    Very quiet and laid back. Lots to explore here with many creeks to visit in the dink.We are planning on moving our residence to Florida next week and we can visit here for half price $10 a day all inclusive. I wanted to stay here for ever. There is a marina across the river that does not have good reviews and is very high on fuel prices. Right around the corner is Holly Bluff Marina that has better prices and service. Rick in the shop found me a hose to fix a problem and was very helpful. Rick carries a lot of parts and can get anything you need. Several boaters in little trailer tugs came by and said they stop here all the time. This is not nowhere but you can see nowhere from here.

    hontoon2

    Anchored at Lungren Island with the dink at the island for a dog walk.

    Hontoon Island State Park has a lot of slips but only the T dock has enough water for our trawler and we plowed a little soft mud at 5 ft on the T dock to the West. We picked up WiFi from across the way and the dock has 50 amp service, water and is almost new. Very nice park with hot showers and clean restrooms. The rangers are super nice. No groceries or laundry. All this for $20. a night. Only $10 if you are a Florida resident. https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Hontoon-Island

    hontoon3

    Docked at Hontoon Island only 5 boats were there the week we were there.

    hontoon4
    At Blue Spring you can beach and tie up to the South of the swim area. Do not dock on the dock. Self serve on park fee of $1.00 per person. We want to come back when they allow swimming in the spring . The water is 72 F year round.
    Looks green to me but they call it Blue Spring. The board walk goes all the way down to the “Boil” of over a 100,000 gals per hour.
    blue

    Additional Information from Skipper Reeves on 6/15/2015

    A most excellent place to be on the river. The rangers are hard working and very helpful. The deep water (we saw 5 ft) is at the T dock as you approach from the North it is first one on your starboard. Do not get too close to the shore when you come in. The nice floating docks are self serve. Rangers are not allowed to help you dock. The T dock has 50 amp power and water. $10 a nite if Fl resident, $20 if not. The inside docks are for small craft only. We stopped for a few days going to Sanford and a few more on our return trip. From here you can visit Blue Springs and take a trip in your dink or kayak all the way around on Snake Creek. The Rangers rent canoes. Just like the Amazon with all the wildlife. We visited in winter. Watch your pet around the shore. Alligators everywhere. The park trails, the fishing, all is Good! We had some wifi from across the river on our booster. The park has limited supplies, more across the river. It is a no wake zone but idiots will blast through sometimes. Very quiet and laid back at night and week days. You can anchor in the creek to the North if you wish. The showers are hot and clean. Day use is allowed for a small fee. See more and pictures http://ontheofficewautoteacher.blogspot.com/2015/03/hontoon-island-state-park-has-lot-of.html

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For Hontoon Island State Park

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Hontoon Island State Park

  • Request for Comment on Lake Okeechobee Restoration

    This request asks for your comments on lake restoration in South Florida, including Lake Okeechobee.

    fwc
    Public input sought on permit request allowing FWC lake restoration in south Florida
    Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission sent this bulletin at 03/11/2015 10:06 AM EDT March 11, 2015

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has applied for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District to conduct restoration activities on four lakes and water bodies in the FWC’s South Region.
    This permit is required pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. The request is part of an overall initiative in which the FWC is working with the Corps to obtain permits for routine restoration work in 95 lakes and water bodies throughout Florida.
    The public can review the request and comment on it (see link below).

    The following water bodies within the FWC’s South Region are included in the permit application:
    •Lake Okeechobee in Glades, Hendry, Okeechobee, Martin and Palm Beach counties;
    •Lake Trafford in Collier County;
    •Lake Hicpochee in Glades County;
    •Lake Osborne in Palm Beach County.

    The Corps permitting process requires the opportunity for public comment. The Corps has published a Public Notice for the proposed work on its website at: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx. To view the notice, click on the following file number to open the Public Notice: SAJ-2015-00641 (SP-SLR). If you would like to provide comments or have any questions regarding the Corps permit process, please follow the directions included in the Public Notice. Note that the Web address is case sensitive and should be entered as it appears above.

    Click Here to read the complete Bulletin

  • Southern Boulevard Bridge to be Replaced, AICW Statute Mile 1025

    This article by Angel Streeter in the Palm Beach Sun Sentinel outlines plans for a new drawbridge to replace the Southern Boulevard drawbridge, which has a closed vertical clearance of 14ft and crosses the Waterway and southern Lake Worth at Mile 1025 in West Palm Beach. Flagler Memorial Bridge, Royal Park Bridge and Southern Boulevard Bridge always present a challenge to a skipper’s patience if an opening is needed, especially during these continuing periods of construction.

    State makes plans to replace Southern Boulevard Bridge in West Palm Beach
    By Angel Streeter
    Sun Sentinel
    Construction on new Southern Boulevard Bridge in West Palm Beach will begin in 2016.

    The Southern Blvd Bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway looking west from Palm Beach. The Florida Department of Transportation is unveiling its plans for replacing the Southern Boulevard Bridge. The new Southern bridge will cost about $78 million, and work is expected wrap up in late 2016. (Mark Randall, Sun Sentinel)

    Another drawbridge is coming down in Palm Beach County — but just until its replacement is built.
    The Florida Department of Transportation is unveiling its plans for replacing the Southern Boulevard Bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway in West Palm Beach while it’s still in the midst of building the replacement for the Flagler Memorial Bridge. Both bridges connect West Palm Beach to Palm Beach.

    This time, the state hopes to avoid the pitfalls that have come with replacing the Flagler bridge. The state transportation department plans to build a temporary bridge to the north of the existing Southern Boulevard bridge to keep traffic moving between the mainland and the island.

    Click Here for the rest of the article.

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For Flagler Memorial Bridge

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

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For Royal Park Bridge

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

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For Southern Boulevard Bridge

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

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