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:
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 The amendment was withdrawn, and the “At-Risk Vessel” bill passed unanimously without the amendment.
Florida House ‘at-risk vessel bill’ passes committee, amendment withdrawn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.