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The Salty Southeast
Cruisers' Net
Cruisers Helping Cruisers
  • [EXPIRED] January, 2014 Masonboro Inlet Dredging Project May Disrupt Anchoring on Popular Banks Channel (Statute Mile 285, Wrightsville Beach, NC)

    Masonboro Inlet - Click for Chartview

    Banks Channel in Wrightsville Beach is a popular recreation area and anchorage north of the Masonboro Inlet. Sounds like the nearby Masonboro dredging operations may possibly disrupt anchorage on these popular waters.
    The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net would WELCOME local reports once the dredging gets underway in early January, as to how much anchoring on Banks Channel waters is indeed impeded by this project! Please follow the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, or send e-mail directly to!

    The Dredge WILKO will be conducting dredging operations in the vicinity of Masonboro Inlet from 09 January until 23 January, 2014. The dredge and assisting vessels MISS LEANNE and PROUD MARY will monitor VHF-FM channels 13 and 16. A floating and submerged pipeline will traverse westerly across Banks Channel and along the north shoreline of Masonboro Inlet to the disposal site. Mariners are cautioned to stay clear of dredge, booster, floating (pontoon) and submerged pipelines, barges, derricks and operating wires associated with dredging and marine construction operations. Operators of vessels of all types should be aware that dredges and floating pipelines are held in place by cables, attached to anchors some distance away from the equipment. Buoys are attached to the anchors so that the anchors may be moved as the
    dredge advances and the location of the submerged pipelines are marked by buoys on each side of the channel. Mariners are cautioned to strictly comply with the Inland Rules of the Road when approaching, passing and leaving the area of operations, and remain a safe distance away from the dredge, booster, buoys, cables, pipeline, barges, derricks, wires and related equipment. Owners and lessees of fishnets, crabpots and other structures that may be in the vicinity and that may hinder the free navigation of attending vessels and equipment must be remove these from the area where tugs, tenderboats and other attendant equipment will be navigating. Dredging projects are usually conducted twenty-four (24) hours a day seven (7) days a week, all fishnets, crabpots and structures in the general area must be removed prior to commencement of any work. A NO WAKE transit is requested of all vessels passing the dredge and it is requested that vessels contact the dredge 30 minutes prior to time of passage. Chart: 11541. LNM: 52/13

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Masonboro Inlet and Banks Channel

  • Seven Seas Cruising Association Asks Your Support to Defeat Florida’s Anti-Anchoring Legislation

    The Concerned Cruisers’ Committee (CCC) of Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) has, for many years, supported the rights of cruisers to navigate, anchor and enjoy the “Seven Seas” both in the U.S. and abroad. We have had recent success in Annapolis and in Georgia, and we are engaged in South Carolina, Washington and California.

    And this from MTOA Public Advocate, Mike Bodin:

    As you know Florida’s legislative session has started. The Environmental Preservation and Conservation committee heard the first presentation by The Fish and Wildlife Conversation commission (FWC) on the Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program. [See] Anti-anchoring representatives were present and offered presentations. Read More

    The window is closing for us to be effective with ongoing legislation. Capitol Access team did a great job representing our anchoring concerns in 2014,and 15. Without professional representation I fear legislation will be made and passed into law prohibiting anchoring by county designation with state approval. This Florida law can be the basis of others to follow along the ICW corridor. Like cancer, a small start than it spreads and very difficult to stop.

    Time is against us to raise monies for a professions lobbyist. MTOA donation survey results are very promising, AGLCA is now surveying their members and results will be available shortly.

    SSCA CCC has lead the boating community in the past. Anti-Anchoring is a pain in every boater’s thoughts. Future state laws to prevent anchoring along the ICW surely can be compared to the spread of cancer. We must unite and knock it out before it gains traction.

    Enclosed is a boaters rights donation form to your GoFunfMe site. Due to the tremendous time limitation now in place we request SSCA blast email the form to your membership. Within a couple of days, we will have a good idea if a lobbyist can be added to our anti-anchoring efforts.

    Thank you for consideration and hopefully participation.

    Mike Bodin
    MTOA Public Advocate

    And from America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association:

    Boater’s Rights Interest Survey
    Florida’s 1,000-mile intracoastal waterway has often been called the boaters’ highway. Wealthy waterside residents in conjunction with several counties want to enact anti-anchoring laws. Last year Florida’s governor signed into law temporary nighttime anti-anchoring restrictions in several counties. Boaters must unite to stop the spread of anti-anchoring legislation.


    CLICK HERE for more information on Seven Seas Cruising Association


  • BoatUS News: Another Setback in Florida Anchoring Issue

    Boat U.S.BoatUS remains the premiere advocate for boaters and boating safety on all waters and SSECN is proud to have BoatUS as a SPONSOR!

    NEWS From BoatUS
    Boat Owners Association of The United States
    880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304

    Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864,

    Despite Anti-Anchoring Vote, BoatUS Optimistic For Uniform Anchoring Solution for Florida

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 7, 2016 – Despite a second setback today on the Florida anchoring issue, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) says it’s looking forward to the results of the state’s on-going Pilot Anchoring program this fall. The Florida Senate voted this morning to pass Florida House Bill 1051 – which was accepted in the House on Friday – that carves out special “no anchoring” ordinances on waters adjacent to privileged groups of homeowners.
    “Even after hearing from thousands of Florida boaters requesting they not approve this legislation, the Florida Senate has just decided to treat a few areas differently than the rest of the state when it comes to public access to the waterways,” said BoatUS President Margaret Bonds Podlich. “Despite today’s vote, we remain committed to seeing the Pilot Program through to completion. We want to work with all communities so that responsible cruising boaters are welcome in their waters.”
    The Florida Mooring and Anchoring Pilot Program, created through legislation in 2009, allowed five localities to experiment with anchoring ordinances to find practical recommendations to develop a uniform statewide anchoring solution. At the same time, it limited other local governments from enacting general anchoring restrictions. Originally scheduled to end in 2014, the Pilot Program was extended until 2017, with recommendations due from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission to the legislature this fall.
    Florida HB 1051 prohibits anchoring from a half hour after sunset until a half hour before sunrise on the Middle River N.E. 21st Court and the Intracoastal Waterway in Broward County; Sunset Lake in Miami-Dade County, and sections of Biscayne Bay in Miami-Dade County between Rivo Alto Island and Di Lido Island, San Marino Island and San Marco Island, and San Marco Island and Biscayne Island.
    The bill contains a provision that will remove these anchoring restrictions once statewide anchoring regulations are enacted.

    About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS):
    Celebrating 50 years in 2016, BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with over a half million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins, and on the water, we bring boaters safely back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, day or night. The BoatUS Insurance Program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need, and we help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit

  • UPDATE on Anchoring Ban in Florida ICW – HB1051

    As reporter Branon Edwards relates in this article in the Broward/Palm Beach New Times, HB1051 is being presented today (1/26) by a group of Florida legislators. Bill is reported on 1/27 as passed with 12 Yea votes. Click Here for related opinion.

    February 3 UPDATE from our friends at AGLCA Forum

    An amended version of the HB1051 (now CS/HB1051) passed a committee last week. SSCA and AGLCA members, along with our other boating partners, spoke against the amended bill which included a safe harbor provision and the ability for law enforcement, government boats and rescue boats to anchor overnight. The prohibition on overnight anchoring remained, which we don’t support. We are working to modify that provision. At present calls and emails should be directed to members of the House State Affairs Committee stating the following:

    “I am (a Florida resident/Florida tourist) and cruise extensively in Florida waters. I oppose the present language in CS/HB1051 because the bill does not give cruising boats the ability to anchor for a reasonable time while in navigation under federal law. We are also concerned that this bill opens the door for communities to pursue similar legislation without adequate justification which would result in unfair, random and unreasonable anchoring restrictions. A better way to address the issues in these areas is to pursue enactment of a comprehensive mooring/anchoring planning and adoption process that would apply to all communities, not just selected ones.”

    If you are a Florida resident, please look at the member list below, if you live in one of the member’s area, you should send a separate note to them stating you are a constituent.

    Here is link to the committee website:


    Yachts anchored in Fort Lauderdale’s Middle River basin, which would be illegal if proposed legislation passes. Branon Edwards

    A battle is heating up between rich owners of waterfront property and boaters who, instead of docking, use anchors to keep their boats cheaply (free!) in the Intracoastal Waterway. The rich have argued that these anchored boats ruin their view — especially vessels that have been abandoned and become decrepit. Many boaters, however, contend that they are responsible and have rights to use the waterway.

    As they say, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” In this case, the squeaky wheel appears to be wealthy property owners along Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway, and the grease is a nasty bit of proposed legislation known in the House as HB1051 and in the Senate as SB1260. Both bills in Tallahassee aim to make it illegal to anchor overnight in parts of the Intracoastal Waterway despite the waterway having been used for this purpose since its inception.

    CLICK HERE for the full article by Branon Edwards

  • [EXPIRED] Public Workshops on Anchoring in Florida Scheduled for October in Tallahassee

    The excellent coverage of the anchoring legislative issues in Florida by Mike Ahart of Waterway Guide continues with this notice and editorial published this week. It is reprinted with permission.

    Florida House to hold anchoring regulation public workshop in October
    Region: General
    Date Reported: Sep 15, 2015
    Reported By: Mike Ahart, News Editor
    Source: Florida House of Representatives

    Many cruisers celebrated this spring when the Florida Legislature completed its session without passing a law restricting anchoring; however, we all knew the subject would rise again this year. At the time, stakeholders had agreed to work over the summer on solutions that hopefully could balance the wants, needs, and rights of boaters, waterfront homeowners, businesses and other groups.

    A number of workshops on how to solve the derelict, abandoned, and “at-risk” vessel problems were held in August by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), but the focus was on creating registration and titling regulations to assure that an owner of a problem vessel can be held accountable for clean-up and removal.

    Now, the Florida House of Representatives plans to explore anchoring restrictions – a public workshop in Tallahassee is slated to be held sometime during the week of October 5-9, 2015. This workshop’s focus is squarely on whether to restrict anchoring in public waters adjacent to waterfront residences, according to an email from the Chair of the State Affairs Committee or the Florida House of Representatives:

    The State Affairs Committee of the Florida House of Representatives will hold a public workshop during the interim committee week of October 5-9, for the purpose of taking testimony on the following questions: Should the Legislature enact new laws to address conflicts between landowners and boaters who anchor near the landowners’ property? If so, what approach should the Legislature take? Is the establishment of setbacks, which prohibit vessels from anchoring or mooring within a certain distance from the shoreline or seawalls, a viable approach?

    The specific date and time of the meeting will be announced at least a week prior to the meeting. Interested parties are encouraged to attend the workshop and participate. However, large groups are encouraged to designate one person to testify on behalf of the group.

    Questions regarding the workshop should be directed to:

    John Love, Administrative Assistant
    State Affairs Committee
    (850) 717-4890

    Thank you in advance for participating in this important discussion.


    Matt Caldwell, Chair
    State Affairs Committee
    Florida House of Representatives

    One more note: This past spring, boating enthusiasts and advocates organized to developed a strong yet civil message to legislators to help them understand how anchoring restrictions might negatively affect cruisers, civic groups, municipalities, and marine and waterway businesses. Threats and bad conduct – online or otherwise – often negatively affects the outcome of a cause. Think you might be able to participate in the Tallahassee workshop? Please send me an email.

    Stay tuned to for updates.


  • SSCA’s Position on FWC Anchoring Summary Released

    The Seven Seas Cruising Association has long been a strong advocate for boaters’ rights, especially the right to anchor without undue restrictions. SSECN applauds SSCA’s publication of their position on FWC’s recent summary of anchoring rights, see, and urges Florida boaters to contact their respective legislators asking for support for anchoring rights.

    For More Information Contact: For Immediate Release
    Barbara Theisen, Editor 2/12/2015
    Seven Seas Cruising Association, Inc.
    2501 East Commercial Blvd., Suite 203
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
    954-771-5662 – Home Base
    The Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) has published its position on the new Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Anchoring Survey results. The FWC will propose legislative changes to anchoring rights. Some are positive, but some will prevent Florida boaters from anchoring, only to preserve the waterfront view of a very few landowners. Every Florida Boater needs to contact their elected representatives to preserve their Florida anchoring rights.
    SSCA approves the following FWC proposal: (Numbering preserved from the FWC Executive Summary. )

    3. The storing of vessels on the water in deteriorating condition would be prohibited. (However, SSCA’s position is that Florida legislators must approve funding for the regulation and removal of these “derelict” boats).

    However, SSCA does not approve of the following FWC anchoring rights proposals as reasonable concepts:

    2. A setback distance where anchoring of vessels overnight in close proximity to waterfront residential property would be prohibited.

    5. If authority was granted to local governments to regulate anchoring in their jurisdiction, an allowance could be created for other anchoring regulations where need is demonstrated.

    Florida anchoring rights are important to all boaters. Florida is a bellwether state for water rights, and if
    Florida restricts federal rights of boats to travel and anchor on public waters, just to preserve the view of a
    few landowners (residential setback), other states may follow. Also, proposal 5 (approval of local regulation) would create an impossible patchwork of differing regulations across the state, subject to the whims and enforcement of local cities and counties. This is what the current mooring field regulations were enacted to eliminate. But SSCA agrees with FWC’s proposal to define and remove derelict boats, if funding is also approved for this regulation and removal.
    Seven Seas Cruising Association, Inc. is the oldest and largest non-profit organization of voyaging cruisers
    in the world. SSCA has nearly 8,000 members sharing the dream of sailing the seas as a lifestyle. The goals of the original founders are still the goals of SSCA today: sharing cruising information, camaraderie, and leaving a clean wake. For more information, go to

    See: Executive Summary of FWC Anchoring Survey Results at:


  • [EXPIRED] Update: Jetty Repairs Extended, Masonboro Inlet, near AICW Statute Mile 285, Wrightsville Beach, NC

    Banks Channel in Wrightsville Beach is a popular recreation area and anchorage north of the Masonboro Inlet. The temporary mooring buoys mentioned below may well interfere with recreational anchoring in Banks Channel.

    Mariners are advised that Precon Marine Inc. will be completing south jetty rock repairs at Masonboro Inlet. This project has been extended until until 15 September, 2014. Mariners should use extreme caution and maintain no wake while transiting the work area. Precon will have the tugs Betty Jo, Dotti J, and Savannah working in the area with crane barge KS 1355 and material barge JMC-120. All Tugs can be reached on VHF 13, 16 and 06. Work is planned for day light hours only. Temporary mooring buoys will be placed in Banks Channel and will have a single white light.
    Moorings will be removed upon project completion. LNM: 35/14

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Masonboro Inlet and Banks Channel

  • [EXPIRED] IMPORTANT! Public FWC Sessions on Anchoring, July 21-22, Tallahassee, FL

    As anyone who prefers anchoring to staying in a marina knows, anchoring privileges and mooring fields have been the subjects of much public debate, as well as much recent state legislation. See . If you can attend these two public sessions in Tallahassee, PLEASE DO!! In several coastal states, and especially in Florida, cruisers are at risk of losing all anchoring rights. Our thanks to John Kettlewell for forwarding Thomas Shipp’s notice. And, as Captain Kettlewell points out, east coast cruisers will have to travel across the state in order to attend.

    I want to make sure that you, representing boating and/or local government interests in Florida, are personally made aware of the upcoming public meeting FWC will be hosting to begin earnest dialogue on the topic of possible anchoring restrictions to help solve many of the issues faced by both boaters and local governments.
    The meeting is scheduled in Tallahassee for Monday afternoon, July 21st with an evening break, then picking back up on the morning of Tuesday, July 22. We prefer that participants plan to take part in both sessions, since the morning session will build upon the previous afternoon’s session. The following link will take you to the meeting notice:


    Here we go again! You’ll note how these public sessions are usually scheduled at times and in locations where it is unlikely many representing the boating and cruising interests will be able to show up. However, local government interests will be well represented in the capital. Does anyone know what the hidden agenda is? You know, the real one…
    John Kettlewell

  • Official US Army Corps of Engineers Okeechobee Waterway Anchoring Policy

    For several years now, there have been stories going around the cruising community, as well as multiple postings here on the Cruisers’ Net, to the effect that the USACOE has been hassling boat owners who anchor somewhere along the route of the Okeechobee Waterway. Well, the USACOE has now made this policy official, as you will see below.
    If we may interpret this “bureaucrat-ese” just a bit, it looks as if a vessel cannot anchor in any one spot for more than 24-hours without being asked to move along.
    As the USACOE is a Federal agency, and they claim jurisdiction over the Okeechobee Waterway, the Florida state law which denies counties and municipalities the right to regulate anchorage (except as part of the Trial Mooring Field Program), would NOT seem to apply here.
    So, if you had plans to anchor for more than one night anywhere between the St. Lucie and WF Franklin locks, think again!
    The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net WELCOMES comments and input from the cruising community concerning this rather bizarre policy. We will be SURE all such input is passed along to the correct authorities! Either click the “Comment” function below, or follow the “Click Here to Contribute Cruising News” link, found on the upper right of this, and all other (except Chart View) SSECN pages.
    Note, we have edited the memorandum reproduced below to show only what we consider the sections which will be of most interest to the cruising community!

    18 March
    Okeechobee Waterway Anchoring and Mooring Policy
    See the attached memorandum regarding anchoring and mooring guidance within the Okeechobee Waterway.
    For additional information regarding this issue and others maybe obtained by accessing the Jacksonville District website:
    US Army Corps of Engineers point of contact
    Mr. Robert Schnell,Supervisory Biologist at 863-983-8101 ext. 2

    The army corps of engineers has NO right to restrict anchoring… the water belongs to the state! It would take a act of congress to change our right to navigate!!!
    I’m fighting a mooring ticket from the corps….
    The section on National River Law discusses river ownership, use, and conservation law throughout the United States. Following is a review of what individual states can and cannot lawfully do with the rivers within their borders.
    1. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that rivers that are navigable, for title purposes, are owned by the states, “held in trust” for the public. This applies in all fifty states, under the “Equal Footing Doctrine.”
    2. Rivers that do meet the federal test are automatically navigable, and therefore owned by the state. No court or government agency has to designate them as such.
    3. The federal test of navigability is not a technical test. There are no measurements of river width, depth, flow, or steepness involved. The test is simply whether the river is usable as a route by the public, even in small craft such as canoes, kayaks, and rafts. Such a river is legally navigable even if it contains big rapids, waterfalls, and other obstructions at which boaters get out, walk around, then re-enter the water.
    4. The states own these rivers up to the “ordinary high water mark.” This is the mark that people can actually see on the ground, where the high water has left debris, sand, and gravel during its ordinary annual cycle. (Not during unusual flooding.) It is not a theoretical line requiring engineering calculations. Where the river banks are fairly flat, this mark can be quite a distance from the edge of the water during medium water flows. There is often plenty of room for standing, fishing, camping, and other visits.
    5. States cannot sell or give away these rivers and lands up to the ordinary high water mark. Under the “Public Trust Doctrine,” they must hold them in perpetuity for public use.
    6. The three public uses that the courts have traditionally mentioned are navigation, fishing, and commerce. But the courts have ruled that any and all non-destructive activities on these land are legally protected, including picnics, camping, walking, and other activities. The public can fish, from the river or from the shore below the “ordinary high water mark.” (Note that the fish and wildlife are owned by the state in any case.) The public can walk, roll a baby carriage, and other activities, according to court decisions.
    7. States do have authority and latitude in the way they manage rivers, but their management must protect the public uses mentioned above. They can (and must) prohibit or restrict activities that conflict with the Public Trust Doctrine. “Responsible recreation” must be allowed, but activities that could be harmful, such as building fires, leaving trash, and making noise, can legally be limited, or prohibited, in various areas. Motorized trips and commercial trips can legally be limited or prohibited by state governments.
    8. State and local restrictions on use of navigable rivers have to be legitimately related to enhancing public trust value, not reducing it. Rivers cannot be closed or partially closed to appease adjacent landowners, or to appease people who want to dedicate the river to fishing only, or to make life easier for local law enforcement agencies.
    9. State governments (through state courts and legislatures) cannot reduce public rights to navigate and visit navigable rivers within their borders, but they can expand those rights, and some states have done so. They can create a floatage easement, a public right to navigate even on rivers that might not qualify for state ownership for some reason, even if it is assumed that the bed and banks of the river are private land. Note that this floatage easement is a matter of state law that varies from state to state, but the question of whether a river is navigable, for title purposes, and therefore owned by the state, is a matter of federal law, and does not vary from state to state. Note that a state floatage easement is something that comes and goes with the water: When the water is there, people have a right to be there on it, and when it dries up, people have no right to be there. But rivers that are navigable for title purposes are public land up to the ordinary high water mark, so that even when the river runs dry, people still have the right to walk along the bed of the river.
    10. Only federal courts can modify the test of standards that make a river navigable for title purposes. States cannot create their own standards, either narrower or wider in scope. They can’t make definitive rulings about which rivers are navigable for title purposes, only a federal court can.
    11. The situation gets confusing when a state agency or commission holds hearings about navigability and public use of rivers. Landowners, sheriffs, and other people tend to think that such an agency or commission can create state standards that determine which rivers are public and which are private. But these are matters of federal law which state agencies cannot change.
    12. State agencies should make provisional determinations that various rivers meet the federal test of navigability for title purposes. These provisional determinations should be based simply on the rivers’ usability by canoes, kayaks, and rafts. They should then proceed to the question of how to manage navigation and other public uses of the river. In these days of government cut-backs, the agency should look for solutions that use existing enforcement agencies rather than setting up new ones. Littering, illegal fires, offensive behavior, trespassing on private land, and numerous other offenses are all covered by existing laws, and offenders can be cited by the local police, sheriff’s office or state police.

    Thank you for the very accurate and helpful summary of the law of navigable waterways. Your many contributions to freedom, on the water and off are appreciated. If we fight this unfortunate bureaucratic water grab, we will win.
    Rick Cass

    A friend of mine was ticketed on the river a few months ago and decided to fight the ticket. On the first court date the prosecutor and officer didn’t have both ors in the water and the judge continued the date. When they went back to court the judge? Would not let the defendant say a word and fined him $5,000. He than lowered the fine to $500. Then told him if he left the river within three days he would pay $300. Only the Corp will ticket you. The FWC and Fish And Wildlife refuse to get involved. I have only seen the Corp officer, Andy on the river on Tuesday but don’t count on that. Boat US told me that the law was from the 1940′s. I don’t know. WE NEED A LAWER.
    Steve Largent

  • [EXPIRED] IMPORTANT – AICW Navigation Alert: More Groundings at Wrightsville Beach/SR 74 Bridge, Statute Mile 283.1

    SR 74 Bridge - Click for Chartview

    With a closed vertical clearance of 20ft, and a very restrictive opening schedule, the Wrightsville Beach Bascule Bridge crosses the AICW at Statute Mile 283, southwest of marker #125. This is one of the most irksome spans on the entire North Carolina section of the AICW, and now we cruisers are going to have to contend with adjoining shallows north of the span!
    Note that the shoal described below, on the “green side” lies on the Waterway’s eastern flank, north of the Wrightsville Bridge. As Captain Hardy advises, ALL captains should be SURE to wait for a bridge opening in mid-channel, and make every effort to avoid a drift to the east. Otherwise, you WILL be giving the local Sea Tow captain some business!

    We ran aground at the bridge just north of the one mentioned here. We were racing the clock to be there on time, and being the only boat, the bridge tender did not open it for us, even though in the three minutes it took him to open the beige, we would have been in perfect position if he had started the opening at three. In backing out from the bridge, we ran aground on the east side. Worse than that, we ran aground again after going through the next bridge and hugging the shoreline to port coming around the corner to head for our night’s anchorage. didn’t bother looking at the chart; it seemed so simple, just stay close to the boats and head for green marker 23. Wrong! We ran up on the plainly marked shoal. this destroyed many years of boasting about almost never running aground, twice in one day!
    Beverly Feiges

    Cruising News:
    At least 4 boats we know went aground while waiting for the Wrightsville Beach bridge to open in the past few days. The shallow spot is on the green side when approaching the bridge from the north. There aren’t any markers at the shoal but boaters should stay in the center of the channel when waiting for the bridge.
    Harriet Hardy

    Giving other boaters a tip when traveling south at the wrightsville beach bridge…. stop in center of channel before you get along side the false palm tree north and East of the Bridge and before coming along side of Green marker to port also for those anchoring in Banks channel and you are heading south following the shore south to just passed the Coast Guard Station on your port turn starboard at red and green marker keeping it to starboard following the green markers to ICW and turning south at floating green marker you are now in ICW.
    Vance Neal

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Wrightsville Beach Bridge

  • IMPORTANT – AICW Navigation Alert: More Groundings at Wrightsville Beach/SR 74 Bridge, Statute Mile 283.1, 12/5/12

    SR 74 Bridge - Click for Chartview

    With a closed vertical clearance of 20ft, and a very restrictive opening schedule, the Wrightsville Beach Bascule Bridge crosses the AICW at Statute Mile 283, southwest of marker #125. This is one of the most irksome spans on the entire North Carolina section of the AICW, and now we cruisers are going to have to contend with adjoining shallows north of the span!
    Note that the shoal described below, on the “green side” lies on the Waterway’s eastern flank, north of the Wrightsville Bridge. As Captain Hardy advises, ALL captains should be SURE to wait for a bridge opening in mid-channel, and make every effort to avoid a drift to the east. Otherwise, you WILL be giving the local Sea Tow captain some business!

    We ran aground at the bridge just north of the one mentioned here. We were racing the clock to be there on time, and being the only boat, the bridge tender did not open it for us, even though in the three minutes it took him to open the beige, we would have been in perfect position if he had started the opening at three. In backing out from the bridge, we ran aground on the east side. Worse than that, we ran aground again after going through the next bridge and hugging the shoreline to port coming around the corner to head for our night’s anchorage. didn’t bother looking at the chart; it seemed so simple, just stay close to the boats and head for green marker 23. Wrong! We ran up on the plainly marked shoal. this destroyed many years of boasting about almost never running aground, twice in one day!
    Beverly Feiges

    Cruising News:
    At least 4 boats we know went aground while waiting for the Wrightsville Beach bridge to open in the past few days. The shallow spot is on the green side when approaching the bridge from the north. There aren’t any markers at the shoal but boaters should stay in the center of the channel when waiting for the bridge.
    Harriet Hardy

    Giving other boaters a tip when traveling south at the wrightsville beach bridge…. stop in center of channel before you get along side the false palm tree north and East of the Bridge and before coming along side of Green marker to port also for those anchoring in Banks channel and you are heading south following the shore south to just passed the Coast Guard Station on your port turn starboard at red and green marker keeping it to starboard following the green markers to ICW and turning south at floating green marker you are now in ICW.
    Vance Neal

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Wrightsville Beach Bridge

  • Key West Anchoring WILL Be Allowed Around Christmas Tree (Wisteria) Island and West of Fleming Key

    In an earlier, now corrected, story here on the Cruisers’ Net (see, we opined that under the new, now approved Monroe County Anchoring plan (part of the Florida Keys’s participation in the Florida Pilot Mooring Field program) anchoring around Key West’s Christmas Tree Island (charted as “Wisteria Island”) and on the waters west of Fleming Key was prohibited. That is the way we and others read these regulations.
    However, just a few days ago, we received the following inquiry from Captain RMW:

    I think your statement that anchorages won’t be allowed around Christmas tree Island and Fleming Key is incorrect and you need to modify it. It frightened me before I did more research on my own. I think these are considered “unmanaged mooring fields” by the gov’t. Without those anchorages, there would be NO place for cruisers to anchor while visiting Key West. However, there is no “managed mooring field” west of Fleming Key, so I assume there is no exclusionary “buffer zone” there, which only applies to “managed mooring fields”. The only “managed mooring field” in Key West is at Garrison Bight in the Seaplane basin, on the east side of Fleming Key. The way I read the rules would apply to Key West, is that the “buffer zone” would apply to the Seaplane basin, around the mooring field at Garrison Bight. That would make more sense, the water is shallow, and in the places where it is not, has poor purchase for anchors. Your article is suggesting that all of the anchorages around Key West would be eliminated. There seems to be no such plan in the works, as far as I can tell. Please clarify.

    Well, that really sounded hopeful. We are GLAD to acknowledge mistaken interpretations, particularly when the correct take is beneficial to the cruising community. So, we got in touch with Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, our very special Florida Keys correspondent, and the founder of BARR (Boaters’ Anchoring Rights and Responsibilities, and asked her to look further into this matter. Here is her response:

    The guy is correct in his statement that anchoring will be allowed off Wisteria (Christmas Tree Island) and Fleming Key. You may be thinking about the prior plans to put moorings off Wisteria, and making the entire west side of Fleming Key a sanctuary area for marine life–thus barring anchoring. That whole proposal got scrapped when the ownership of Christmas Tree Island became questionable. It appears the US Navy owns it.
    Thought for a minute about what the problem was as far as confusion with KW and anchorages. The entire area basically comes under the “managed anchoring” zone category which means you can anchor there but are subject to the rules and regs as established by the Pilot Program. No time limits or anything just pumping out and commonsense stuff. The only place that is different is on the east side of Fleming Key where the mooring field is…that is now a NO ANCHORAGE buffer zone. It’s a small area and very open to rough water. Most cruisers do not use it.

    And, more input from Captain RMW:

    I just called the FWC yesterday and the man I spoke with there (I was connected to someone with knowledge on the topic of mooring) confirmed what I wrote to you previously. The areas west of Fleming Key are considered “managed anchorages” and will be checked for compliance with the regulations as such. That does not mean that you can’t anchor there. The man acknowledged that people live on board boats in Key West, and for many, he said, it’s “affordable housing”. The area in the seaplane basin (east of Fleming) around the city mooring field is the “buffer zone” around the “managed mooring field”, and that is where anchorages are not allowed.
    As far as Key West is concerned, I don’t see any problem with these rules – they are just putting teeth into rules that were always there.
    I think it’s a good thing – who wants sewage and derelict projectiles around their bedroom? Also I think there are allowances for composting toilets, etc.
    One more thing, when I asked him if additional funds were allocated for enforcement, he said there are no additional personnel.
    R.M. Walter

    So, it would appear that even under the new Monroe County anchoring plan, anchoring will be allowed around Christmas Tree/Wisteria Island and east of Fleming Key. HAPPY DAYS! We were never so happy to be proved wrong!

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Wisteria Island (Christmas Tree Island) Eastern Anchorage

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Wisteria Island (Christmas Tree Island) Northwesterly Anchorage

    Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Fleming Key/Man of War Harbor Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Key West’s Anchorages

  • Marco Island, FL Amends Waterway Ordinance and Removes Anchoring Restrictions

    Marco Island is a large community south of the city of Naples on the West Coast of Florida.
    After many, many years of struggle, the city of Marco Island, as you will read below, has finally given up the attempt to regulate anchorage by cruising vessels, contrary to Florida state law. Some of you may remember that back in 2007, I journeyed to Naples, entirely at my own expense, to be an “expert” (boy, did I have them fooled) witness in the trial of Capt. Dave Dumas. This brave individual undertook a “civil disobedience” by anchoring his vessel, contrary to the local statutes, with the express goal of being taken to court by the city of Marco Island. Eventually, he was found innocent, as the local regulations were clearly at variance with Florida state law.
    All this hub-bub has now been superseded by the far more cruiser friendly, but still NOT perfect, 2009 state of Florida anchoring law. Even so, it’s really good to remember those who fought so long and hard for Florida anchoring rights.
    The cruising community owes a HUGE debt of gratitude to the Sailing Association of Marco Island (SAMI), their leaders, and, particularly Captain Dave Dumas. MANY THANKS TO YOU BRAVE WARRIORS!!!

    Subject: Marco Island, FL Amends Waterway Ordinance and Removes Anchoring Restrictions

    Tonight at 6:15 pm at the Sept. 17th meeting of the City of Marco Island council meeting, the anchoring restrictions enacted in May 2006 were repealed by an amendment to their Waterways ordinance. This is the end of an over six year battle. In Jan. of 2007, Capt. Dave Dumas on his Krogen 42 “Kinship” was cited by the Marco Police for violating the anchoring ordinance. In Oct. of 2007, Att. Donald Day and his law firm in Naples, Fl defended Dumas pro-Bono and won a Collier County Court ruling when Judge Rob Crown declared the anchoring provisions of the ordinance unconstitutional after an eight hour hearing on a motion to dismiss the citation. The City finally dropped an appeal to the ruling
    in 2009 and after three more years of prodding the City Council tonight voted unanimously to remove the invalid sections from their code of ordinances.
    The support of Att. Day, the Sailing Association of Marco Is. (S.A.M.I.) and over 25 other organizations and individuals was invaluable in this rare success over “City Hall”. The rights of freedom of navigation will continue to need defending, but this success is sweet. Thanks to all who contributed.
    Dave Dumas
    Lee Oldershaw
    Herman Diebler
    Karl Henning
    for S.A.M.I.

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Marco Island

  • Boat/US Releases Updated “2013 Florida Anchoring Information Sheet”

    Let me be very, very clear about this. The wonderful folks at Boat/US are working just as hard, or harder, than we are here at the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net to look out for the rights and interests of the cruising community. If you are not a member of Boat Owners Association of the United States (Boat/US), may we strongly suggest you correct that oversight right now by going to:

    A few years ago, the political arm of Boat/US released a simply wonderful broadsheet which stated, in understandable English, what rights cruisers enjoyed in Floridian waters when it came time to drop the hook. Now, we are PLEASED to report that Boat/US has updated this document, and made it available to the cruising community without charge!!!

    We cannot urge strongly enough that ALL who plan on cruising the waters of the Sunshine State print-out the below linked document, and keep it aboard at all times! If you are requested not to anchor, or move on from an anchorage, just haul out this baby. It may make the difference!
    Of course, as you will see when reading this text, there are now exceptions, so check the language carefully, AND BECOME AN INFORMED CRUISER!!!

    So, without further verbiage, run, don’t walk to:

    You might also be interested in taking a gander at part of the “Press Release” from Boat/US which heralds the release of this important document:

    BoatUS Offers Updated Florida Anchoring Information Tip Sheet
    Great to Carry Aboard

    TALLAHASSEE, FL, October 22, 2012 – Since it was first made available at no cost two years ago, some boaters have called it one of the most helpful documents to have aboard when anchoring in waters across the Sunshine State. Others are saying it’s a great educational tool when they are confused about local and state anchoring regulations. Now, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) offers an updated “2013 Florida Anchoring Information” sheet to clarify for everyone, from the boating public to government agencies, the current status of the 2009 passage of Florida House Bill 1423 and the five pilot mooring field projects. Most importantly, the 2009 law gave relief to many boaters and meant they no longer had to fear their boat “overstayed its welcome” and needed to move on.
    “Every boat owner wants to follow the law, but in Florida, some boaters, anglers and sailors may still fear a visit from law enforcement that will force them to move on from an anchorage,” said BoatUS President Margaret Podlich.
    Four of the five pilot project areas include the City of St. Augustine, Monroe County (Key West, Marathon), City of Sarasota and City of Petersburg which have established mooring fields and passed local anchoring ordinances. These areas will be used to test policies that promote public access, enhance navigational safety, protect maritime infrastructure and the environment, and deter improperly stored, abandoned, or derelict vessels. As of press time, the fifth pilot area, Martin County/City of Stuart, was still drafting an ordinance likely to come on line in 2013.
    The 2009 law also clarified the meaning of “live-aboard”: Full time, active cruisers who sleep on their boats with no permanent residence on land are no longer considered live-aboards under this law and, as a result, their anchoring cannot be regulated by local governments, other than in pilot project areas. (For more: FLHB 1423, Chapter 2009-86, Section 6)
    BoatUS has been monitoring the pilot program and investigating its impact on boaters. “We recognize that there are still boaters who have not heard of the legislation but continue to arrive and enjoy Florida’s gorgeous waterways,” said Podlich. “They should know it is illegal to restrict anchoring of non-liveaboard vessels in Florida outside of mooring fields, except in the jurisdiction of the five pilot projects. In 2014, the anchoring ordinances of these five localities will expire unless renewed by the Florida Legislature. In the meantime, boaters should know that anchoring close to the any of the five pilot program mooring fields today can be limited by these participating local governments.”

    Thank you for the update and please keep us posted.
    Jim Angel

  • [EXPIRED] Triathlon, Masonboro Inlet/Wrightsville Beach, October 20, AICW Statute Mile 285.5

    Banks Channel - Click for Chartview

    While not in the Waterway itself, the Triathlon “Temporary Safety Zone” might delay your travel if you were staying at Sea Path Marina or anchoring in Banks Channel. Banks Channel begins with a sharp turn to starboard at Marker #1 just you enter Masonboro Inlet and leads to Motts Channel which connects to the Waterway at Marker #25.

    NC – Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway – Myrtle Grove Sound – Banks Channel
    Mariners are advised that the Coast Guard will establish a temporary safety zone for the PPD Beach to Battleship Ironman
    Triathlon on Saturday, October 20, 2012 from 7 A.M. To 11 A.M. Approximately 1900 swimmers will compete along a course
    starting at Masonboro Inlet Runner across Banks Channel and Motts Channel to the Sea Path Marina. Vessel may not enter the restricted areas. Coast Guard Patrol assets will be on scene to regulate traffic in this area during the event times. For any comments or questions, contact the Marine Event Coordinator at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina, (252) 247-4525, or at CHART: 11541

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Banks Channel

  • VERY IMPORTANT – New Florida Keys Anchoring Regulations Approved

    On Wednesday, September 5, 2012 the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the Monroe County anchorage regulations associated with the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. While the final version must still be approved by the Monroe County Board of Commissioners, that final nod would seem to be a mere formality. We conclude that, after all the many public forums, voluminous comments published here on the Cruisers’ Net and on other nautical forums, and a lot of GOOD work by our very special Florida Keys correspondent (and founder of BARR – Boaters’ Action Rights and Responsibilities), Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, we have a new set of Florida Keys anchorage regulations which will almost certainly be in effect by the winter 2012 – 2013 cruising season! HOWEVER, as you will see, this is not nearly as onerous as it initially sounds!

    Click Here To Learn MUCH MORE About the New Florida Keys Anchorage Regulations

  • VERY IMPORTANT – Florida Keys Anchoring Regulations Approved

    On Wednesday, September 5, 2012 the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the Monroe County anchorage regulations associated with the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. While the final version must still be approved by the Monroe County Board of Commissioners, that final nod would seem to be a mere formality. We conclude that, after all the many public forums, voluminous comments published here on the Cruisers’ Net and on other nautical forums, and a lot of GOOD work by our very special Florida Keys correspondent (and founder of BARR – Boaters’ Action Rights and Resonsibilties), Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, we have a new set of Florida Keys anchorage regulations which will almost certainly be in effect by the winter 2012 – 2013 cruising season! HOWEVER, as you will see, this is not nearly as onerous as it initially sounds!
    Following my editorial remarks below, you will discover a LOT of verbiage about these regulations, but even before you read, and try to make sense of all that, we want to distill the facts for you as best we can. And, believe it or else, from all that we have been able to gather, the bottom line is this is really a “good thing” (mostly) for the cruising community. It’s NOT a good thing for those who live ashore and want to store their boats for free at anchor. Read on!
    First of all, everyone needs to remember that, for many years now, all of the Florida Keys (Monroe County) waters have been a NO DISCHARGE ZONE. That means, among other things, that ALL vessels must regularly pump out their waste tanks, and Lectra San type devices are NOT acceptable. And, along with these long-time regulations, comes the possibility of legal boardings by any law enforcement agency to make sure that overboard discharge vales are PADLOCKED SHUT and all other MSD regulations are being observed!
    The status of all Florida Keys MSD regulations remain the same as has been the case for some time. The new anchorage regulations detailed below do not change these prohibitions in any way.
    The new Florida Keys anchorage regulations really boil down to three new prohibitions:
    1. Within the managed anchorages (see below) vessel owners must show evidence of regular waste pump-outs when asked to furnish such proof by a law enforcement officer.

    2. Within the managed anchorages, law enforcement officers now have the ability to ticket vessels they consider derelicts or near derelicts (in danger or sinking or breaking free).

    3. In Marathon and Key West, “no anchorage buffer zones” have been established around the city mooring fields.

    OK, what does this mean to the cruising community. First, in sifting through all the print below, we discover that the only “managed anchorages” are found on the waters of Boca Chica Basin, Key West Harbor, Cow Key Channel and Boot Key Harbor. NOTE THAT THE NEW REGULATIONS APPLY ONLY TO VESSELS ANCHORED IN THESE MANAGED BASINS. If you, for instance, throw out the hook hard by Lignumvitae Key (near Islamorado), none of the new regs apply, excepting those which have already been in force by virtue of the fact that Florida Keys waters are a no discharge zone!
    One other quick note about the managed anchorages; originally Sunset Cove in Key Largo was slated to be among this group, but the FWC, quite correctly we think, decided these waters are much too far from a state approved mooring field to be included.
    It appears to us that the real intent of these new regulations is to help make sure vessels are not pumping raw sewage overboard, AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, to provide law enforcement officers with a new tool to help remove abandoned, derelict and near derelict vessels from Florida Keys waters.
    If you have read earlier Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net editorials on Florida Anchoring Rights, you already know that it is our collective opinion that one of the real culprits in this struggle has been the Sunshine State’s very real problem with derelicts and what I term, “live-aboard hulks.” These are vessels that will never move again (unless it’s straight down to the bottom), and certainly should not be afforded anything like the status of “cruising craft.”
    Yes, the new Florida Keys anchorage regulations are NOT perfect! HOWEVER, it is our editorial opinion that these new prohibitions are a genuine effort to address the derelict problem, without driving the cruising community away from the Florida Keys!
    If your eyes can stand it, read on, and let us know whether you agree with our assessment, or not! PLEASE send your reactions to

    The FWC knows it cannot stop the recreational use of waters (navigational use is even more important). It’s a very thin line. Bottom line is that I think we all agree their target is becoming clearer, even for landlubbers who want sailors to stay out of their backyards (that isn’t going to be upheld by the FWC): the focus is to deter boats from becoming derelict and ultimately left behind for someone else to clean up.
    It puts out the warning sign to those across the nation that the Keys is not someplace you can just find anything that floats to live upon and shirk responsibility. I have no problem with that. This is good, as it does not tread upon the needs of cruisers or even those who are responsible on their liveaboards.
    Our influence was vital for harnessing in the tendency of others to overreach with even more unnecessary regulations. I have no doubt we all made a tremendous difference in how these ordinances were written.
    Kudos to us!!
    Hugs, Charmaine

    No real surprise, but I do feel our efforts in some small way contributed to making the ordinance more reasonable. I can see our influence in many parts of the ordinance.
    John Kettlewell

    Thursday, September 6, 2012
    State suggests new ruling for live-aboards
    BY TIMOTHY O’HARA Citizen Staff
    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) Commissioner Richard Corbett cited the “pirate-like mentality” of Florida Keys live-aboard boaters before he voted in favor of a new set of rules for vessels moored off the Keys. He wanted to make sure the test rules will not only be enforced, but be complied with.
    “We are going to start out gentle but we are going to keep applying pressure until we get compliance,” FWC Major Jack Daugherty said Wednesday during a meeting in Tampa. “The Keys are a diverse place with a lot of diverse people …. We want to get voluntary compliance.
    The only way to get to compliance is to warn …. Educate, educate and educate.” Corbett called the Keys a “truly different part of the world.”
    The rules require proof of regular sewage pump-out and the tagging of vessels at risk of sinking or becoming derelict. Vessels would be
    labeled at risk of sinking at the discretion of law enforcement officers based on certain criteria, such as listing, being aground, beached or taking on water.
    The rules also create “no-anchoring buffer zones” adjacent to the mooring fields in the cities of Key West and Marathon, where officials
    have expressed concern about vessels breaking free and striking boats inside managed mooring fields. The rules will be for non-managed mooring fields off Key West Harbor and Cow Key Channel off Stock Island.
    The rules, which were created by Monroe County’s Marine Resources Division, do not call for violators’ vessels to be removed, but the owners would be warned and eventually face fines if the issues were not addressed. After a first warning, a $50 fine would be levied. The
    fine would increase to $100 for a second offense, and $250 for a third offense. All subsequent offenses would be $250.
    Owners would have 30 days between fines to address issues, said Rich Jones, Monroe County’s marine resources division director.
    “This is in no way intended to push boaters out,” Jones told the FWC board on Wednesday. “We want them to be responsible …. We don’t have a silver bullet. What you see are the best ideas that are tolerable to the public.”
    The rules still have to come before the Monroe County Commission before they are implemented. The County Commission has not set a date
    to vote on the rules.
    The commission has given tentative approval of the rules.
    If approved, the rules would be in place until 2014. They will then be reviewed by the FWC and sent to the state legislature, which could
    vote to make them permanent.

    Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) Offical Press Release:

    Meeting Wednesday in Tampa, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved, with one contingency, Monroe County’s
    proposed ordinance for the anchoring and mooring pilot program coordinated by the FWC.
    The ordinance is in response to the Florida Statute allowing a specific number of local governments to adopt regulations on anchoring and mooring vessels in their jurisdiction. This pilot program provides an opportunity for the FWC and the Florida Legislature to evaluate the
    subject more fully.
    “The goal of the anchoring and mooring pilot program is to explore potential options for regulating the anchoring or mooring of non-live-aboard vessels outside the boundaries of public mooring fields,” said Maj. Jack Daugherty, leader of the FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section. “The FWC’s role is to provide consultation and technical assistance on the issues.”
    Local governments for the five communities participating in the pilot program are responsible for soliciting public input and adopting local ordinances within their jurisdictions. These ordinances must be approved by the FWC and will continue to be evaluated by the FWC and
    the Legislature. FWC staff members have been attending the sites’ public-input meetings to provide information on the pilot program.
    Three meetings were held in Monroe County on the topic. “Monroe County’s ordinance provides for some specific areas designated as ‘managed anchoring zones’ and ‘no-anchoring buffer zones,'”Daugherty said.
    The managed anchoring zones, including Boca Chica Basin, Sunset Cove, Key West Harbor, Cow Key Channel and Boot Key Harbor, are areas in which vessels need to meet certain requirements – including proof they have been pumped out – and do not present certain characteristics:
    specifically, being derelict or pre-derelict vessels.
    “These requirements are designed to protect the marine environment, enhance navigational safety and deter improperly stored, abandoned or
    derelict vessels,” Daugherty said.
    The “no-anchoring buffer zones,” including Boca Chica Basin, Boot Key Harbor and Seaplane Basin, are areas outside of and immediately adjacent to permitted public mooring fields. There, no anchoring or mooring of any kind is permitted.
    “There are exceptions for certain vessels and activities,” Daugherty said, “like commercial vessels, military operations, vessels anchored
    temporarily for fishing or other recreational activities and in case of an emergency.”
    Commissioners discussed the ordinance, asked questions and heard public comment, ultimately approving it with the contingency that the Sunset Cove-managed anchorage zone provision be removed.
    With this approval, the county can adopt the ordinance to make it effective. All ordinances adopted under the pilot program expire on July 1, 2014, unless re-enacted by the Legislature. Public meetings also have been held in the other four participant sites: Sarasota; Stuart, in coordination with Martin County; St. Petersburg; and St. Augustine. The ordinances for St. Augustine, St. Petersburg and Sarasota have already been approved, and the developing ordinances from the remaining area will be presented at future Commission meetings.
    For more information on the anchoring and mooring pilot program, visit or call 850-488-5600.

    And, below we present comments on the new Florida Keys anchorage regulations from the cruising community:

    In general the management of mooring fields has had a positive impact. In fairness, however, if boaters need to prove that they have been responsible with their poop then pet owners should also provide proof of responsible poop disposal. We could also include cities waste treatment plants that frequently, if not always, do not meet epa standards. And then elctra-scan owners who treat their waste at a higher level of cleanliness than required of cities seem to be treated a little worse than their poop. All that said, thanks for the hard and tedious work.
    Always FOR SAILtoo

    Thank You Claiborne and Ms. Ladd for all your hard work and communications efforts.
    Bill Dixon

    IMHO there is a lack of pump-out facilities in the Keys. Many of the public marinas below Miami do not have pump-out. Sailboats with limited holding tanks have a problem if anchoring for any period of time. You must get to Marathon or Key West where there are pump-out boats, but now you won’t be able to anchor. Both locations were full-up last year and probably will be this year.
    Has Royer

    In your comments you state law enforcement officials will be able to board vessels to insure overboard discharge valves are “padlocked shut”. I am not aware of a change in the Florida MSD regs that require “padlocking” as the only means of securing the valve. At last reading my impression is that the valve must be “secured”. I spoke to Lt. Dave Dupree (FWC Monroe County) a few years ago and he advised locking, wire ties, removal of the handle or similar solutions to prevent accidental discharge. Has there been a regulation change I am unaware of or is there one in the actual new proposed regulations?
    John N. Cover,
    s/v Shadow,
    Hudson, Florida

    Claiborne replies
    Captain John:
    No, as far as I know there has not been a change in the “secured” requirements of overboard discharge valves. I used the term “padlocking” because my research has consistently shown that just chaining the overboard valves is NOT sufficient, and can result in ticketing. I suspect your research is also correct, in that wire ties and removal of the handle would also be considered “secured.” However, with that being said, what we have always done while cruising in the keys is chain and padlock our overboard discharge valves. This plan has passed multiple inspections over the years.

  • A Distrubing Message about Anchoring in St. Petersburg, Florida (Tampa)

    Captain Burnham’s message below is somewhat cryptic, but if I read it rightly, the city of St. Petersburg, Florida is attempting to limit anchorage in their corporate waters to 3-days in a particular spot, and 9 days total, within any 30 day period. As such, these are possibly the most Draconian proposals put forward by any of the five municipalities/counties which are part of the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. Fortunately, there is still a LOT of public comment to be registered, and the FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission) must agree to all restrictions before they can be passed and enforced. As St. Augustine learned last fall, the FWC is very reluctant to approve such short term anchorage limits.
    Notice that Captain Burhnham points out that the real bugaboo in all of this is derelict vessels. Can I say it just one more time. This IS a real problem in Florida, BUT this problem can be solved by enforcement of EXISTING marina salvage laws and MSD regulations. Why try and limit anchorage for everyone, when the very real derelict problem is being caused by a tiny minority of boat owners?

    I attended the meeting and received a draft copy of the proposed changes to the City Code.
    As written, it allows me to do things on a three day weekend that would really annoy most boaters and marina operators. It allows me to anchor within 200 feet of any marina or boat ramp and stay there for 3 days as long as I am not an obstruction or a “hazard to navigation”. It would seem to me that any anchored vessel is an obstruction to be avoided…
    Within any 30 day period, I can anchor consecutively in the Central Yacht Basin, the South Yacht Basin, or Bayboro Harbor for 3 days each, allowing me a 9 day stay without mooring fees. There is no beginning time or ending time for my 72 hour stay at each location so if I drop anchor in the Basin after sundown and no one notices until the next morning, the first night is not counted in the 72 hours?
    Last night’s public forum was a good meeting for the boating public to ask the city to clearify the intent of their proposal.
    What St. Petersburg apparently wants is to prevent vessels from being abandoned by the few irresponsible owners who neglect vessel maintenance. As drafted, their proposal does not address this except to state that “hazardous” vessels are prohibited from anchoring in the waterways of St. Petersburg; which is not in agreement with Florida State Law in regards to navigation. “Hazardous” vessels means a vessel in danger of becoming a derelict for various subjective reasons listed.
    If the proposal begins constructive dialog between the boating public who visit St. Pete and the city managers, then last night was a successful beginning.
    David Burnham

    After reading the above, we asked Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, founder of BARR (Boater’s Anchoring Responsibility and Rights), to comment on the proposed St. Pete regulations. Her response appears below.

    January 26th, 2012
    by Charmaine Smith Ladd
    For your perusal and comments, the proposed ordinance draft for St. Petersburg: [DOCUMENT NO LONGER AVAILABLE]
    Things to note: LIVEABOARDS will not be able to anchor anywhere within the City Limits of St. Petersburg, they MUST either take a mooring or a marina slip; NON-LIVEABOARDS (cruisers) effectively will be under a 72-hour limit for anchoring. The ordinance also reads: “No vessel shall anchor in the Port of St. Petersburg.” Very broad and very disturbing.

    St. Petersburg – Scheduled Public Meetings:
    February 16th at 3:00 pm – St. Petersburg City Council Meeting, 1st Reading
    March 1st at 8:30 am – St. Petersburg City Council Meeting, Public Hearing
    Location: Karen A. Steidinger Auditorium Fish & Wildlife Research Institute
    100 Eighth Avenue SE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

    Click Here To Read an Imporant and Much Lengthier Article by Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd Concerning the Developing St. Petersburg Anchoring Issue

    The postings so far had me very concerned until I carefully read the proposed ordinance. While it prohibits anchoring of liveaboard vessels anywhere in the city limits, the 72 hour rule only applies within 200 feet of marinas and boat ramps and in the three basins and the Port basin downtown. It does not apply for cruisers (non-liveaboard vessels) in other anchorages in St. Pete like Coffeepot, the two bayous, or Maximo Point (a favorite of ours). The 72 hour limit does not apply to the entire peninsula or city limits!
    If it passes approval by the FWC with the 72 hour limit intact, we will simply NEVER visit or spend our money in downtown St. Pete again. We will vote with our anchor and go to more cruiser friendly places! In it’s effort to deal with abandoned and derelict boats the City of St. Petersburg is telling cruisers that they are not welcome except for a short stay. They don’t treat tourists that way who arrive by car or plane instead of by boat.
    There is no “safe harbor” provision in the proposed ordinance so the police can kick you out into a storm if they want. My guess is that the FWC will require a “safe harbor” provision be added.
    Larry Sherman

    And now, more from Captain Burnham on this issue. Many, many thanks for his fine reporting of this critical cruising issue:

    My first comments were truly cryptic as they closely follow the draft proposal from the St. Petersburg City Code which in itself I found it to be cryptic in its intent.
    The stated intent of Article 6 in Chapter 7 is to encourage the use of the new mooring field in the North Basin. Presently, only one of the 13 new moorings is occupied. Six boats are anchored behind the seawall in the South Basin, and 5 sailboats are at anchor in the Bayboro Basin south of the Port of St Petersburg.
    These 11 sailboats are all in good condition and within their rights under Florida State Laws of Navigation even though they appear to be within the “City Limits”. I have not found how far the St. Petersburg city limits extend into Tampa Bay, but they do go from the Clearwater/St. Petersburg Airport all the way around the Pinellas peninsula to Boca Ciega Bay with the exception of the City of Gulfport!
    If all 11 sailboats moved to the mooring field, their daily rate would be 14 dollars if under 41 feet in length and 17 dollars if 41 feet to 60 feet. This is significantly less than the average 80 dollar daily rate for a 40 foot vessel at the Transient Dock. If any of these cruisers rent a vehicle while on a mooring and wish to park it at the marina overnight, the daily fee is $2.80.
    During the peak winter season, 2 months is the maximum length of stay on the moorings but you can return after 15 days if there is a mooring still available.
    The proposed 72 hour time limit for anchoring in any Basin in the city limits will only serve to push the cruisers over to Gulfport which does not yet have an established mooring field in Boca Ciega Bay or other more curtious anchorages in the Tampa Bay area.
    The FWC officers are more concerned with abandoned boats, not the well kept cruiser, and preventing boats from becoming derelicts with the associated hazards.
    The term “live aboard” is used differently in the boating community and causes confusion. Until the boaters accept the term “live aboard” to mean a vessel that is NOT used for navigation (think boat house instead of houseboat) and has no means of propulsion, cruisers staying on their boats will be unsure of the proposed rule’s intent.
    The Port of St. Petersburg, south of the city airport, where all the U.S. Coast Guard and commercial ships are berthed is not a suitable anchorage for smaller cruising boats.
    David Burnham

    While I am not familiar with the local geography of the S. Pete waters I am a cruiser-resident of nearby Plant City, Hillsborough County, Florida, and have occupied and cruised continuously aboard my vessel for 8-1/2 years. Our vessel is currently in a mooring field in San Blas Islands of Panama.
    Like the City of St. Pete, we “full-time” cruisers are also unhappy with derelict vessels. They are a hazard to navigation, safety and the environment. In inclement weather conditions they can, and have, drifted loose from their “anchored” position and damaged other vessels. If not maintained in a reasonably clean and preserved condition, they negatively impact our enjoyment of the waters in which we choose to anchor.
    I believe there should be a distinction between 1) derelict vessels, 2) vessels that are “stored” on the water, i.e., not capable of safe navigation, and 3) vessels that are anchored/moored and capable of safe navigation. And I would argue that an unoccupied vessel is not capable of safe navigation.
    Boat ownership is a responsibility that includes being a safe and considerate “neighbor” to nearby vessels and property, and to their owners and occupants.
    There is no reason to penalize a responsible owner-occupant of a cruising vessel who chooses to anchor safely for extended periods in an urban waterway.
    On the other hand, I also believe that nearby vessels and property should have protection from “derelict” and/or “stored” vessels when they present hazards to their neighbors. The longer a non-navigable, or unoccupied vessel remains at anchor, the greater hazard it represents. Storms create a great danger that such vessels will come loose and damage other vessels or property. Ill-kept, non-maintained vessels are a public hazard and nuisance. I realize that “nuisance” is hard to define, but city codes have addressed this with respect to real estate, so there is precedent in regulating such matters in a community-acceptable manner.
    I think the City of St. Petersburg should consider the above discussion in its regulation and re-write the proposed ordinance to allow for responsible, long-term anchoring for occupied vessels.
    Carl Gaines

    I have spent many enjoyable hours anchored in St. Pete’s Vinoy Basin, the North Harbour, when I first started cruising south. While there, I met cruisers from as far north as Nova Scotia and as far south as the eastern Caribbean. Not a derelict vessel in sight. Never a problem.
    Now, because the city would not enforce laws available to it to deal with a half dozen near-derelict vessels in the Basin, I’m forbidden to ever again anchor there, because they’ve put moorings in?
    Let me be blunt, because I’m fed up with this crap from the state of FL.
    I’ve just spent three very pleasant weeks in Brunswick Ga., 35 miles north of Florida. It was nice to feel welcomed.
    When I leave here tomorrow, the goal is to remain offshore as much and as long as I can, until I can get to the Bahamas, and to hell with Florida.
    All of it, every bit of it. I don’t need their attitude towards me, my boat and my needs, because Florida officials cannot deal with their drunks and druggies living on derelict boats in a manner responsible to those who would visit, spend money and respect their state.
    Since I singlehand, I’ll have to come inshore to rest. But I intend to buy enough fuel and food here in Brunswick, GA so that I don’t spend a cent in their damned state.
    Wally Moran

    Well, I don’t visit cities where boaters are not welcome, nor do my MANY boating friends – AND WE DON”T SPEND OUR CONSIDERABLE MONEY THERE! WAKE UP MERCHANTS!!!!!
    August Trometer

    The money spent by anchored cruisers is quite small in the grand scheme of things. And from the ordinance writers perspective, if you won’t even spend money on a mooring ball, let alone dockage, how much money will you spend ashore? Comparing cruisers to motorists doesn’t work, you can’t camp out in the rest stops or along the side of the road. You’ll need a better angle.
    Livaboards are not the issue in St. Petes either. The Harborage marina openly welcomes livaboards, they have the city permits to allow it and have many amenities geared specifically to livaboards.
    I think it is the derelict boats that is the heart of the matter. Can Cruisers Net or other organizations come up with a plan & assistance with facilitating the removal of the derelicts.
    The other issue is “bum boats”. Those boats that are not ‘derelicts’ but do not look good at all. They are eyesores that do no good for the cause. Many (but not all) would love to see a beautiful boat at anchor in the harbor, but seeing an eyesore exacerbates this sort of issue. Hard to say what could be done. Personal responsibility can’t be legislated but it is contributing to the problem. The solution…kick em all out.

    Editor’s Response – Ted, if you will look at my earlier editorial, “Whence Come the Anchorage Regulations” at, you will see that we have come up with a scheme to get rid of derelicts, and it requires no new laws, nor does it harass the cruising community. Of course, many others have noted these same solutions. It’s not just the SSECN!

    As a resident of St Petersburg and its environs (now Treasure Island) since 1986, and before that at Stetson Law School in the late 50′s, I have always thought of our city as a boater friendly town, certainly a very prominent sailing city with a world renown yacht club. I applaud the decision to install moorings in the Vinoy Basin where the holding has always been poor, but to link that to a limit on anchoring, whether deemed a reasonable period or not, is unreasonable – clearly the elephant getting its nose in the door as a precursor for more regulations. Address the problem of derelict boats, but keep St Pete boater friendly.
    Charles (Chuck) Waygood

    A 72-hour limit in a 30-day period is ridiculously short. It would mean that someone couldn’t visit two weekends in a row, unless they anchored in one of the other locations. It would mean someone couldn’t anchor there during the entire boat show. A prohibition of “liveaboards” anchoring at all is simple prejudice, and I suspect would instantly be ruled against in a court of law. Even though the Florida definition of “liveaboard” is narrow that doesn’t mean they suddenly become second-class citizens. This ordinance severely impacts legitimate transient cruisers, will do little to deal with the truly hazardous boats, and painst St. Petersburg as an unfriendly place that does not want boaters to visit.
    John Kettlewell

  • GREAT Anchoring Tale

    Yours truly recently started a discussion about how the Florida Anchoring Rights controversy is impacting marine business in the Sunshine State, on the “Boating Writers International” Linked-In group. This group is NOT open to the general public, BUT, by special permission, we are reprinting below, a short, but side-splitting anchoring tale from fellow nautical writer, Captain George Bason. And, no, the incident described below did not take place on Southeastern USA coastline, but we still think it’s very much worth a read by ANYONE who takes to the water!

    Not long ago off Narragansett Bay, a yacht was preparing to drop an anchor when a Coast Guard boat came alongside. The skipper was informed that he couldn’t anchor in this location. The skipper proceeded to chew out the poor coastie and told him that he was free to anchor where ever he wanted.
    The coastie took a moment to respond, pulled out a chart and pointed out that he was about to drop the hook in an area that was well known to have un-exploded torpedos laying on the bottom. All he said was … “yes sir, you can indeed drop anchor here. Please wait for me to put a good distance between us before you do.”
    George Bason

  • Cruisers’ Letter to Sarasota County Sheriff’s Dept. Concerning Blackburn Bay Anchoring Incident Pays Off

    Earlier, we posted a letter copy here on the Cruisers’ Net of a missive sent from Captain Arthur Richard, to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s department, concerning a less than happy meeting with a deputy, while anchored on the waters of Blackburn Bay (see As you will see, Captain Richard’s note got a favorable reply, and it undoubtedly clued everyone in the sheriff’s department to the latest Florida state laws concerning anchorage.

    Reference my earlier report on Anchoring in Blackburn Bay, Sarasota County, FL. It seems that our anchoring rights in Sarasota County, FL are in accordance with
    Florida law. Apparently I experienced and ill-informed, overzealous part time deputy Sheriff.
    I received the following response from the Sarasota County, FL Sheriff’s Office”

    From: Richard Mottola
    Subject: RE:Anchoring in Blackburn Bay
    Date: December 19, 2011 10:31:25 AM EST
    Mr. Richard,
    This is Captain Mottola from the Sheriff’s Office. The Marine Unit is one of the
    areas under my command (Special Operations Bureau). I checked with our two
    full-time boat captains and neither recalls speaking with you about this. It
    could very well be that you spoke with one of our part-time captains. I could
    most likely determine this if you could provide a date and time of the contact.
    Despite that, it appears you are correct in your interpretation of the statutes
    I can only surmise that the captain you spoke with, for some reason, believed
    you were actually living aboard your vessel and therefore assumed that county
    ordinance 130-42 may have applied. Otherwise, it would not be applicable.
    County Statute 130-42. Mooring of Vessels used as dwelling units:
    Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions (861-4049) – Or you
    may contact Captain Shipp with the Florida Wildlife Commission (Southwest Region
    Thank you.

    Arthur Richard

    And, with the comments below received after publication of the above article, the plot thickens CONSIDERABLY! Looks like the Sarasota Sheriff’s Department is using their own version of what constitutes a “live aboard vessel,” and, by the way, this definition is in contravention of Flroida state law!!!

    I would like to make a comment and pose a few questions pertaining to this important subject and more specifically my recent experiences anchoring on Blackburn Bay. I have been visited by the Sarasota county Sheriffs Dept. Marine unit on 3 occasions once when my vessel was not even actually present for apparently violating the 24 hour time limit for live aboard vessels, this most recent warning requires that I move my vessel by December 22 2011 or be subject to fines of 250 to 500 dollars a day. The Deputy asked me with issue of this most recent warning if I understood the reason why he had delivered it, to which I again replied something to the effect that, and to the very best of my knowledge and understanding of the applicable Florida State Statutes regarding anchoring outside of approved mooring fields and the definition of a live aboard vessel, that I have actually never been in violation of any of these law’s. He became visibly agitated and spoke to me as if I were an insubordinate child indicating that it had absolutely nothing to do with the Florida State statutes, I thanked him and said goodbye, I am very thankful that he left. My sailboat is in fact anchored outside of any mooring field and is a fully navigable vessel with all required safety gear. Can anyone comment on the enforceability of these muni-codes in light of the Florida State Statutes regarding anchoring?
    Cap’n Ron

    The county code referenced, strictly interpreted, is favorable to people who live in houses and cruise for extended vacations. For those of us for whom our boat is our home, the code invites us to leave in 48 hours.
    Nice of the Sheriff to be civil, though.

    Below you will find more from Captain Richard, with his reply to the Sheriff’s department, and their subsequent message to him:

    Captain Mottola,
    Thank your for your response to my inquiry. A Sarasota Sheriff boat visit to my vessel in Blackburn Bay occured on the afternoon of November 30, 2011. The Sheriff’s boat remained at least 10 yards from my vessel, and I was not boarded. The operator of the Sheriff’s boat did not give his name, nor request mine.
    I am pleased to find that my anchoring in Blackburn Bay was not in violation of county ordinances. It would be beneficial to the boating community if all of your officers were made aware of this.
    Thank you,
    Arthur M. Richard

    From Captain Mottola (Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office):
    My pleasure, and yes we are ensuring that ALL boat captains are made aware so that we do not have any further misunderstandings. Happy Holidays!

    Chris: That is incorrect. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are living aboard for more than 48 hours. As long as you vessel is used for navigation and not solely as a residence you are not a liveaboard by Florida law, which trumps any local ordinances. Florida statute says this:
    327.02 Definitions of terms used in this chapter and in chapter 328.—As used in this chapter and in chapter 328, unless the context clearly requires a different meaning, the term:
    (17)“Live-aboard vessel” means:
    a) Any vessel used solely as a residence and not for navigation;
    b) Any vessel represented as a place of business, or a professional or other commercial enterprise; or
    c) Any vessel for which a declaration of domicile has been filed pursuant to s. 222.17.
    John Kettlewell

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