Skipper Starling’s report comes in response to an earlier posting on the heavy-handed practices of some FWC patrol officers, http://cruisersnet.net/?p=133874. Despite numerous complaints filed by experienced and law abiding boaters, Florida seems unable to control the over-zealous enforcement present in the FWC enforcement division, practices definitely not limited to the Keys.
Predatory practices by FWCC toward boaters in Key West
Being shadowed by a boat with no lights while underway to the dock at sunset is unnerving , but when it turns out to be FWCC , it is worse.
Now pulled over by FWCC, they mention running lights so I mention the sunglasses they still have on. No matter that it is literally moments after sunset. Their intention is to write a citation and generate income for FWCC and at the moment I have become that revenue resource.
Minor infractions that should warrant a verbal warning are tickets.
Worse yet , a few weeks later I receive a certified letter from FWCC .
Inside, a citation for a non operational anchor light , which was issued in my absence from the vessel. It was issued at 6:32 , just after sunset when the ambient light was bright enough to keep the photo cell on my Davis auto anchor light from activating. This anchor light is an industry standard and turns on and off automatically . My vessel was not anchored in State waters but Navy bay bottom and not in navigable waters.
I have lost any respect for the newly inducted Officers, as they lack the skills necessary to gain the confidence of the Citizens and form relationships that would benefit the FWCC and boating community. Older Veteran Officers do not operate in this manner and know that it creates animosity and results in the boating community not helping FWCC in investigations of serious violations due to bad experiences and distrust.
FWCC wonders why the boating community doesn’t trust them , and refuses to cooperate . This is one example of their perception of boaters as a income revenue resource.