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The Salty Southeast
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Archive For: NORTHERN GULF – All News

  • Gulf Crossing Roll Call

    This call for a fleet formation of Gulf crossing vessels is from our good friends at AGLCA.

    Hey all,
    We are moving to Panama City today To sort of get in position for our crossing. Since it has been awhile since the weather window opened many of us have taken Eddy’s advice and been slow floating Since getting off of the rivers. Loopers are strung out from Carrabelle back to Mobile. It looks like that when a opportunity finally arrives there will be a whole armada of us moving. It would be nice to know how many, who we are and planned crossing speed.
    Probably not too early to get a roll call of vessels who are staged intending to cross at the next window since we are at many different ports right now. Our plans a capability:

    Panama City until the window is a day or so away. Then Apalachacola or Carrabelle (if there will even be room). If no room we are capable of going direct from Panama City.
    Boat speed 7 MPH to 25 MPH. Prefer 10 – 20.
    Charlie and Kay Woodard

  • Red Tide Risks on the Beaches of Florida

    These latest warnings must be heeded if you have children or pets playing at the beach. See “Red tide public health risks” below.

    For immediate release: October 30, 2015
    Contact: Kelly Richmond, FWC 727-502-4784

    Red tide confirmed in Florida: What you need to know

    Red tide is a naturally occurring, higher-than-normal concentration of microscopic algae. In Florida, the species that causes most red tides is Karenia brevis. This organism produces toxins that can affect the central nervous system of aquatic organisms such as fish and marine mammals. Red tide toxins also pose a human health risk. The toxins can aerosolize and be carried to beaches with onshore winds, leading to respiratory irritation in people. Toxins can accumulate in shellfish and result in illnesses if contaminated shellfish are consumed. Shellfish harvesting areas are closed when blooms are present.

    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) researchers are currently monitoring two blooms along Florida’s Gulf coast, one located in northwest Florida and the other in southwest Florida.

    “We confirmed the presence of both blooms in September, and they have persisted since that time,” said Alina Corcoran, FWC research scientist. “The bloom in the Panhandle is currently affecting Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay and Gulf counties. In southwest Florida, patchy blooms have been confirmed along Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties. Extensive fish kills and respiratory irritation have been associated with the bloom in the Panhandle but in southwest Florida the effects have been less.”

    Red tide public health tips:

    People in a red tide area can experience varying degrees of eye, nose and throat irritation. When a person leaves an area with a red tide, symptoms usually go away.
    People with severe or chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic lung disease are cautioned to avoid areas with active red tides.
    In some red tides, dead fish wash ashore; during these conditions it is advised that beachgoers avoid swimming in water where dead fish are present.
    Pet owners are advised that red tide poses a risk to animals brought to the beach. If a pet swims in a red tide patch at the beach, rinse off its fur and paws as soon as possible with fresh water. Also, do not let pets eat fish or drink water from the red tide.
    Recreational harvesting of bivalve mollusks such as hard clams, oysters and mussels from approved shellfish harvesting areas is banned during red tide closures. To determine whether harvesting of shellfish is permitted in an area, visit the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Aquaculture website.
    FWC researchers work closely with partners, including Mote Marine Laboratory, the University of South Florida, Department of Health, Department of Agriculture and NOAA, to track blooms, share information and develop products that help to inform both citizens and scientists about bloom conditions.

    “Citizen scientists play a vital role in tracking blooms. Volunteers can provide the majority of water samples for bloom tracking in regions like the Panhandle,” said Corcoran.

    For updated red tide status reports, to track blooms or learn more about red tide, visit To report fish kills to the FWC, contact the Fish Kill Hotline at 800-636-0511 or submit a report online.

    Additional red tide resources:

    Red tide facts and information pocket guide and Fact sheet
    Florida Department of Health
    Shellfish Harvesting Area Status
    Mote Marine Laboratory Beach Condition Reporting System at
    USF Collaboration for the Prediction of Red Tides (CPR)
    NOAA Harmful Algal Bloom Operational Forecast System (HAB-OFS)

  • Cost of Pumpouts in Florida to be Possibly Paid by Boaters

    As local commissioners struggle to fund the current free pumpout service, it becomes apparent that those costs may soon transfer to boaters, as reported in the article below by Kevin Wadlow in

    Boat sewage pumpout costs likely to be assessed on the boaters
    A boat-pumpout program launched to protect Florida Keys nearshore waters from sewage discharges stands as a model for the state, but state funding for the program is drying up.

    Money from the state’s Clean Vessel Act “dropped significantly this year,” Monroe County Marine Resources administrator Rich Jones told county commissioners Wednesday at their Key Largo meeting.
    Local contractor Pumpout USA “had a lot of trouble making ends meet this year,” Jones said.
    Monroe County in 2015 will spend about $367,000 on the program, with the state funding around $319,000 toward an estimated 18,000 vessel sewage pumpouts.
    The county’s share works out to $21.10 per pumpout. Overall, average total per-pumpout cost is about $40, down from $55.70 in 2014.
    The state Department of Environmental Protection now seeks “throughout the state to build sustainable pumpout programs, using Monroe County’s pumpout program as a model,” Jones said in a report to commissioners.
    To reduce the number of illegal sewage discharges in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary waters, the pumpouts are offered free of charge to boaters. However, commissioners have urged staff to work toward some type of fee system for boaters.
    “I am concerned about the long-term viability of free pumpouts,” Commissioner Heather Carruthers said. “We can’t count on the state for anything.”
    Commissioner Sylvia Murphy said her office receives “a constant supply of comments” from land residents “who pay for sewage” while anchored liveaboard residents “are not paying taxes or rent or anything else, and we’re paying for their sewage.”
    “I like doing something to keep sewage from going in the bay or ocean but sooner or later we’re going to get on the stick and make them pay,” Murphy said.
    Pumpouts are mandatory inside local managed anchoring areas, where Jones said compliance “is close to 100 percent.”
    Commissioners asked about extending the pumpout requirement to all nearshore Keys waters, but questions about jurisdiction and enforcement were cited as potential obstacles. Staff is “looking at any and all alternatives,” Jones said.

  • Wild Crime on the Waters in Panama City, Northern Gulf ICW Statute Mile 287

    The Panama City Marina is located on the intercoastal Waterway one block from Downtown Panama City. The Panama City Marina is a newly renovated 240-slip marina facility designed for all classes of vesSt. Andrew's Marina Our thanks to Rich Gano for sending this note-worthy news item. We are grateful that the FWC officer survived the shootout, which occurred on the waters of St. Andrews Bay and not in a marina. Panama City is home to two SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS, St. Andrews Marina and Panama City Marina.

    You can read the basics here and

    It appears that the FWC officer was responding to a disturbance of some sort on the boat the two criminals were aboard, and when he pulled up, one of them disappeared into the boat’s cabin and then reappeared with a gun. Seems he may have had a drug-related warrant out on him in a northern tier state and knew that an identity check would land him in jail. So, of course, murder was the right choice for him, duh. Seems to me that if you want to remain below the radar, you don’t create disturbances on the water. A Panama City Beach police officer was killed (first ever) by a criminal on the run from a northern tier state 11 years ago during what the cop thought was a routine traffic stop.

    In the current case, a gun battle ensued during which the officer ended up in the water, and even reloaded while in the soup firing at the criminals as they hijacked his patrol boat and tried to run him down before running the boat ashore and briefly escaping into a residential area where at least one resident confronted them with a gun.

    Don’t be surprised if FWC guys are a bit cautious when they pull you over these days.
    Rich Gano

    Click Here To View the Northern Gulf Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For St. Andrews Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of St. Andrews Marina

    Click Here To View the Northern Gulf Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Panama City Marina

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

  • History Essay on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway

    Here is an interesting and readable essay on the history of the Gulf ICW from the Texas State Historical Association.




    The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is a coastal canal from Brownsville, Texas, to the Okeechobee waterway at Fort Myers, Florida. The Texas portion of the canal system extends 426 miles, from Sabine Pass to the mouth of the Brownsville Ship Channel at Port Isabel. The grand concept of a canal system that would eventually connect Boston harbor with Brownsville harbor was introduced by Albert Gallatin, United States secretary of the treasury, in a report on Public Roads and Canals submitted to the United States Senate in 1808. By 1819 Secretary of War John C. Calhoun had published his Report on Roads and Canals, which posits an urgent need for an improved internal transportation system including waterways.

    Click Here to read the essay by Art Leatherwood.

    Art Leatherwood, “GULF INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY,” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 23, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.


  • Great White Caught off Panama City Beach, Northern Gulf

    The Panama City Marina is located on the intercoastal Waterway one block from Downtown Panama City. The Panama City Marina is a newly renovated 240-slip marina facility designed for all classes of vesSt. Andrew's MarinaThis report is from News5, Panama City, home to two SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS, St. Andrews Marina and Panama City Marina, where you will absolutely never be bothered by great whites or any other sharks! Click on the banners above to be connected to their respective websites.



    Panama City Beach –
    A rare Great White Shark sighting on the Gulf Coast, this one actually caught in the surf near Panama City Beach.
    According to the Dark Side Sharkers fishing club, Derrick Keeny caught this 9′ 8 1/2″ Great White Sunday, March 1st.
    They snapped a few pictures, tagged and released the shark.
    We found these images on Facebook.
    It’s pretty unusual to see this species in the northern Gulf of Mexico, especially so close to shore.
    You can follow the Dark Side Sharkers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @DSSharkers.

    Click Here To View the Northern Gulf Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For St. Andrews Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of St. Andrews Marina

    Click Here To View the Northern Gulf Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Panama City Marina

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

  • Updated Fuel Prices at Panama City and St. Andrews, Northern Gulf ICW

    The Panama City Marina is located on the intercoastal Waterway one block from Downtown Panama City. The Panama City Marina is a newly renovated 240-slip marina facility designed for all classes of vesSt. Andrew's MarinaPanama City is home to two SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS, St. Andrews Marina and Panama City Marina. Click on the banners above to be connected to their respective websites.

    As of today diesel (valvetec fresh because of fishing fleet) is $3.00 taxes included. If staying overnight you get 10 cents off = $2.90 a gal. and gas is $3.65. Nice floating concrete docks, protected and convenient to GICW. Dockage is discounted ($1.50 normally)with Boat US 25% also have a weekly rate of $6.50 a foot all inclusive. If stuck waiting for a crossing weather window it is a good spot with access to good shopping and restaurants. This applies to both St Andrews and the Panama City Marinas. By the way, weather and boat permitting you can cross via the St Andrews Inlet (aka Panama City). It is well marked and maintained for ships and is a class A inlet. We’ve crossed several times both directions to/from St Petersburg via this inlet in our slow 8mph trawler but the days are a tad short
    currently so using East Dog pass this time.
    Joe Pica
    Carolyn Ann GH N-37

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of St. Andrews Marina

    Click Here To View the Northern Gulf Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Panama City Marina

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

  • REMINDER: Comments and Background Info from BoatUS on Anchoring Survey

    Reminder, if you have not yet participated in the online anchoring survey, please do so before the 12/7/14 deadline.

    SSECN sent out this Anchoring Survey via an email Alert as soon as it was received. This posting is to publish comments we have received about the survey. Because a wide response is in the best interest of boaters, we ask that you not be deterred from completing the survey by negative comments about the language and format of the survey. This should be one of those “just do it!” moments. And the survey is pertinent to all cruising boaters, not just Florida residents. If you did not receive our Alert, the link to the survey is below.

    And this admonition from BoatUS:


    November 25, 2014

    Dear BoatU.S. Member,

    Florida is once again considering a change in their anchoring regulations. Whether you live in Florida or just want to cruise there someday, now is a critical time to share your views on this topic with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
    Please click on the link below to take FWC’s survey. We recognize it’s long, but we’d like to make sure that active, responsible cruising boaters help the state understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to anchoring laws in the Sunshine State:

    In 2009, the Florida Legislature enacted legislation that stopped local governments from placing inconsistent and often onerous restrictions on anchoring. During the 2014 Florida legislative session there were strong attempts to repeal part of this prohibition. While these changes were defeated, there will likely be new legislation introduced in the spring that would grant local governments the authority to regulate anchoring in their municipalities. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is now asking for comments on possible changes to Florida’s anchoring laws. It is important to take the FWC survey to register your opinions on anchoring restrictions to help influence what could be allowed by the state legislature.

    For additional information on anchoring in Florida please visit:

    Thanks for helping us get some valuable information to the FWC.

    And thank you for being a BoatU.S. Member!

    Margaret Podlich
    703-461-2878 x8363

    You have been identified as an interested party on potential anchoring regulations on Florida waters. This message is your invitation to contribute your thoughts on this subject through an online survey FWC has developed in response to feedback received at three prior public meetings this year. This survey has crucial explanatory language in the form of a video and audio messages (text options are available). To minimize the risk of confusion please listen to the messages in their entirety. Immediately following each video or audio message are questions specifically related to the information contained in that message. It is our desire to obtain the most widespread response possible from all parties with an interest in this subject. Thank you for your time and interest in completing this survey.

    The survey may be accessed at this site:

    This survey will be active from 4:00 P.M. EST November 21, 2014, through 11:59 P.M. EST December 7, 2014.

  • Good Words for Bay Point Marina, Panama City Beach, Big Bend Gulf Region

    These words of praise come our friends on the AGLCA Forum. Bay Point Marina is located along the Grand Lagoon, which lies northwest of the St. Andrew Bay entrance channel in Panama City Beach, Florida.

    We second the place to stop or leave your boat for the holidays is Bay Point Marina in Panama City Beach, Fl. We have spent four winters at this marina. The folks are so friendly, gated community, golf course, Publix and Winn Dixie close bye, close to beach and just a great place to be. We just finished 18 months in Nashville with both of us having surgeries and rehab. We had never spent more than 6 months in a marina since we moved aboard our Gulfstar in 2003 so we were ready to cruise. FINALLY we have been given good bill of healths and are on our way by boat to Florida to Bay Point Marina for the winter.
    Roy and Elvie Short

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

  • Thanksgiving Lunch at Turner Marine, Dog River off Mobile Bay

    We have had many positive comments about Turner Marine over the years and this Thanksgiving lunch is typical of their care and concern for boaters. Turner Marine is the first facility to starboard as you cruise under the high-rise Dog River bridge. This notice comes to us from our friends on the AGLCA Forum.

    Hi everyone! Turner Marine want to remind everyone about our Thanksgiving lunch on Wednesday Nov. 26 at 12:30. Everyone is invited, all we ask is that you bring a dish. We will be providing the fried turkeys and paper products. The rest of the menu is up to YOU! Please call the office to RSVP and to make reservations for your boat, at 251-476-1444 or email at We look forward to seeing everyone next Wednesday!
    Roger and Christie Turner

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

  • Five-Year Study on Florida’s Red Tide

    Here is an interesting article on red tide which had a recent bloom in the Big Bend region of the Gulf, see


    FWC, partners unlock some mysteries behind red tide in 5-year study

    Last month, researchers at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) published new findings on Florida’s red tide organism, Karenia brevis, in a special issue of the scientific journal Harmful Algae. This publication is the culmination of an unprecedented collaboration on red tide research in the Gulf of Mexico led by the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) and funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
    For more on this study, go to:


  • Red Tide Outbreak on Florida Gulf Coast

    This notice is of especial interest to offshore boaters in the Big Bend area of the Northern Gulf. Our thanks to Jonathan Gorham for submitting this information.

    We have been following the progress of a red tide outbreak on the Florida Gulf Coast as we make our travel plans to the area. Currently (as of September 17) the red tide bloom has been located from 10-20 miles offshore from Levy to Pinellas Counties. It appears to come closest to shore in the area around Cedar Key. Fish kills and respiratory irritation have been reported in the bloom areas. The Florida FWC has a great site with regularly updated maps and lots of background information at:

    Jonathan Gorham
    M/V Top Cat


  • Seventh District False Flare Cases are Costly Events

    As detailed in this article by Adam Linhardt in, this is a real No-Brainer, and surely no SSECN reader would ever be guilty of abusing the use of emergency flares. However, it is a good topic of conversation to have in public places where some of the less-informed might overhear!

    False flare cases plague Coast Guard
    BY ADAM LINHARDT Citizen Staff

    Misuse of emergency marine flares is giving the Coast Guard headaches and costing taxpayers a ton of money, the agency said last week.
    Since June, the Coast Guard Seventh District headquartered in Miami, of which Sector Key West is included, reported more than 60 flare sightings. Watchstanders then launched air and boat crews in every instance at a total cost of more than $5 million, according to the Coast Guard.
    Each search typically costs between $60,000 and $90,000 when fuel and manpower needs are totaled, according to data released by the Coast Guard.
    “Shooting a flare in a nondistress situation is no different than dialing 911 and hanging up,” said Capt. Todd Coggeshall, chief of response management for the Coast Guard Seventh District.

    To read more, go to:

  • Report from Anchoring Regulations Forum in Vero Beach, FL

    This report is from the first of two public forums scheduled for September, see
    Our thanks for Skipper Waln for this excellent report.

    Florida Anchoring Meeting, Vero Beach (And the Beat Goes On)
    Tonight I attended the FWC hosted Vero Beach meeting on regulatory Concepts for anchoring in Florida. The meeting was well run by Maj Moore of the FWC who was supported by Capt Klein and a staff of non-uniformed personnel. Seven regulatory Concepts were presented with repeated requests throughout the meeting for the attendees to put their thoughts in the comments sections of the questionnaires provided. A similar meeting is scheduled for Bradenton tomorrow evening. A regulated open mike session allowed time for cruisers, other boaters, home owners, members of the boating industry and locality representatives to speak.

    The core purpose of the meeting was to provide the FWC access to a broader thought base when developing regulatory alternatives to respond to legislative attempts to return to locally controlled anchoring. While the FWC Anchoring Pilot Program was extended for three years in the last session, there is no reason to believe it won’t come up again this next session.

    The elephant in the room issue is a regulatory concept allowing anchoring keep out zones in the vicinity of waterfront residences. The initial language proposes expansive keep out zones which would largely eliminate anchoring in Florida’s most populous and/or geographically constrained waterfront regions — a boon to marina owners and mooring field operators — and quite possibly unconstitutional if not simply illegal.

    As is usual in cases like this, the public comment was all over the map. About 75% of the comments were on topic, the rest were either meandering or sales pitches or diatribes of some sort. Some comments were more appropriate to a legislative comment environment. Of the on topic comments, about half were polite rants [actually this was a very polite crowd, considering the potential downside of both legislation and the FWC keep out concept] the other half contained a few useful ideas and raised issues that will likely require a court challenge to ever see settled. Several people spoke in favor of uniformity in application — but several worried one size may not fit all considering Florida’s geographic variety.

    About 100 people attended. Roughly a third spoke. A couple of people on both sides of the issue behaved badly, but they failed to ignite audience passion or participation.

    I agree with Major Moore. It is better to have this dialog now and concepts in hand when the legislative juggernaut starts up again than it is to respond to proposed legislation with “duh.”

    All seven concepts can be found at.

    Chris Waln

  • Vessel Insurance in Florida

    One of our readers is looking for recommendations for an insurer for a 40ft trimaran while in Florida. While SSECN is happy to pass along this request for advice, we cannot serve as a broker or even a kiosk for various insurers. Please offer Skipper Laletin your suggestions via a personal phone call to the number listed below or by email at Thanks!

    I recently relocated my 40 foot trimaran from the Chesapeake to Florida for this winter. Enough freezing snow last year and I don’t want my baby freezing again. Progressive Insurance will not renew my policy in Florida since i’m over 35 feet. Boat US wants 10% of my policy value as a premium. Any suggestions on an insurance company that will insure a 40 foot trimaran. I have never made a claim and never used my Boat US towing. JAZ is presently stored on the hard in Saint Augustine. I can be contacted directly by text or voice call at 808 seven seven two 2133.
    Chris Laletin

  • A New Guide Release and a Commitment to a Worthy Cause

    We are greatly indebted to Captains Susan Landry and Chuck Baier, owners of Beach House Publications, publishers of “The Great Book of Anchorages,” for providing superb, in-depth articles for our readers! This west coast anchorages guide is a welcomed addition to their previous guides and includes a dedication to the late Claiborne Young, co-founder of SSECN.

    A New Guide Release and a Commitment to a Worthy Cause

    Media Information: For immediate release
    Sarasota, Florida – September 1, 2014 — Publishers and long time boaters Chuck Baier and Susan Landry of Beach House Publications announce the release of their fourth guide in The Great Book of Anchorages series, The Gulf Coast, Cape Sable, FL to Mobile, AL, Including the Okeechobee Waterway. This fourth guide has been the most requested to date by fellow boaters. The authors extensive on-the-water travels and research from their trawler Beach House provides the most comprehensive Gulf Coast anchorage guide currently in print. Previous guides in The Great Book of Anchorages series are The Chesapeake Bay, Including the Potomac River, Hampton Roads and Norfolk to The Florida Keys, Including the St. Johns River, and The Bahamas – The Route Most Traveled. Details are available on the website at

    In dedication of this current release, the authors have made a commitment to donate $2.00 from every order placed between August 25, 2014 and September 30, 2014 to one of their favorite charities, The Wounded Warrior Project, They also challenge other boating publications to offer similar donations. Owner Chuck Baier is himself a veteran from the Vietnam era and understands the need to provide support and additional services to the men and women that sacrifice so much for our country and freedom.
    Beach House Publications and The Great Book of Anchorages series was conceived in August of 2012 on a laptop in the cabin of their Marine Trader trawler, Beach House. All of the guides have been researched, compiled, edited and distributed from their trawler while living aboard and cruising full time. In addition to publishing, the husband and wife team have been freelance writers for over 20 years and have shared their knowledge and experiences in such major boating publications as Cruising World, Bluewater Sailing, Soundings Magazine, Sail Magazine, Southern Boating, Lats and Atts, Marinalife Magazine, Nor’ Easter, Good Old Boat, Living Aboard Magazine and a host of internet sites. The pair often gives presentations to boating organizations such as individual Yacht Clubs, the Marine Trader Owners Association, Americas Great Loop Cruising Association and most currently, TrawlerFest Baltimore 2014.


    If you would like more information on The Great Book of Anchorages series, would like to order books, or interview Chuck or Susan, call us at 713-244-4686 or email
    Susan Landry, Publisher/Author/Editor
    Chuck Baier, Publisher/Author
    Beach House Publications
    P.O. Box 1418
    Sarasota, Florida 34230

  • Comments on the Report from the FWC Meeting in Tallahassee, July 22-23, 2014

    These discussions and future meetings are extremely important to cruisers who prefer anchoring to docking. Please note that the mention of derelicts, a major cause of the new regulations and a real issue for coastal communities, is not found in this report. The newly established mooring field program and other anchoring restrictions, intended to solve the derelict problem, have not worked in most cases and have, in fact, severely limited the rights of legitimate boaters.

    For an interesting Public Opinion Survey taken by the FWC, go to page 157 of a 220 page report at

    NOTE: For comments from a landowner/boat owner, see Michael Bodin’s remarks below. His contribution is lengthy, but well worth reading.

    FWC holds public meeting to discuss the future of anchoring regulations in Florida
    In response to increasing concerns between local governments and boaters related to anchoring in state waters within local jurisdictions, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) conducted a public meeting in Tallahassee on July 21-22, 2014, to discuss anchoring issues and potential ways forward to resolve the conflicts.
    Attended by interested persons representing the boating industry, resident and visiting boaters and local and state governments, the two-day meeting focused on complex issues.
    “Protecting the rights of people to use the waters kept in public trust by the state is very important,” said Lt. Colonel Jack Daugherty. “We all want to keep Florida a boater-friendly state and maintain that great part of the Florida lifestyle and economy. On the other hand, local governments have the duty to respond to the needs of their citizens. We are committed to a robust dialogue and to seeking balance between boating interests and local governments in an effort to identify points of consensus and to help resolve some of these issues.”
    This year, Florida’s Legislature extended the Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program, which was authorized in 2009 to look for solutions to these problems, for three additional years in order to allow for more time to test various anchoring strategies and to engage stakeholders in exploring possible legislative solutions. During the public meeting, a framework for potential future anchoring legislation was discussed along with several draft regulatory provisions based on components of the pilot program, each aimed at solving or minimizing specific anchoring challenges.

    FWC staff will draft language based on comments from this meeting, distribute that language to interested parties and hold at least two additional public meetings to further refine a possible legislative proposal. Meeting notices and reference documents will be posted by mid-August on FWC’s Anchoring and Mooring web page, found at


    Those promoting anti-anchoring laws often use the argument that it is about eliminating derelict boats, but the reality is very different. For example, many of the laws exempt local boats that are stored–the vast majority of so-called “derelicts.” In some cases the laws have been pushed by local influential home owners who don’t want people anchored near their property, and in other cases they are pushed by marina and mooring field owners who want to force people to pay for using public waterways. The arguments about safety and derelicts are a smokescreen. Note that boats have broken loose from so-called safe moorings in places like St. Augustine, and yet users must sign an agreement that absolves the city of all liability.
    John Kettlewell

    I’m still not buying the party line from the real estate people that this is about derelict boats. The problem is that waterfront property owners pay a lot for that property, and believe with all their little black hearts, that those high prices mean they should control everything they see from that high priced property. The bigger problem is that people who can afford to buy high priced property, can also afford to buy high priced politicians, through high priced campaign contributions. Another problem is that it doesn’t matter how many times they get these laws or regulations brought up unsuccessfully, or lose, they can get as many bites at the apple as they can afford. And, for a lot of these people, that is a lot of bites.
    In a way we’re lucky that they didn’t just decide that they wanted boats banned, because the same legislators that are carrying the water for them on anchoring restrictions, would be more than available to do it for banning boats, too.
    R. Holiman

  • Possible Threat to Manatees by Protected Status Change

    This article/opinion by Katie Tripp of highlights how this ruling to reduce their protected status might affect manatees on the East Coast and the Florida Keys.

    Odds already stacked against manatees in federal study for possible downlisting

    In response to a lawsuit by the Pacific Legal Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided downlisting manatees from endangered to threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act may be warranted, and the agency is embarking on a five-year status review as part of the process.
    Let me be very clear about the seriousness of the situation.
    From 2010 to 2013, 2,441 manatees died in Florida waters, which is 48 percent of the highest minimum population ever recorded (5,077 in 2010), but we’d have to wait until after 2015 to be able to include this data. However, ignoring this information would also constitute a substantial and unacceptable bias.

    For the complete story, go to:


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