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
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.
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
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.
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.