Ron’s advice warns and reminds us of the tangled web that Florida weaves in dealing with marine sanitation devices.
Perhaps it would be a good idea if Southbound sailors advised their fellow sailors of the laws concerning securing head discharge valves. They should be advised to at least employ nylon wire ties to fix the valves in the position serving the holding tank. You could also advise them that some jurisdictions prefer that the owner use locks to secure these valves where feasible or the owner could modify the handles to possibly accept a lock. Removal of the valve’s handle is also an option under the law. You might share the war stories about areas of strict enforcement and the behavior looked for by law enforcement authorities. Certainly, I would share the idea that one should get one’s act together prior to reach the Florida border. I would assume that all authorities will act courteously until they prove otherwise. Everybody needs to know that all these authorities (rightly or wrongly) have the legal authority to board any vessel with or without the owner’s permission. Personally, I’d offer them a coffee or other beverage.
Captain Ron Rogers
I have been sailing from Charlotte Harbor and Miami to Key West and back and forth for the past ten years and my vessel has never been approached by any law enforcement agency for any reason. That’s just my experience.
Captain Jules Robinson
We travelled from St Augustine to Daytona Beach and were boarded between the drawbridges before Daytona Municipal Marina. There were 3 officers. One went below with me, 1 stayed in the cockpit with my husband, and 1 remained on their vessel. We were asked how many heads, if they were secured, and our destination. We had both heads tied with plastic zip ties. The officers were polite and quick. The next day we saw them again further south checking vessels travelling south. I would advise everyone to have their heads secured at all times in Florida and you should have no problems.