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The Salty Southeast
Cruisers' Net
Cruisers Helping Cruisers
Twin Dolphin Marina, 1000 1st Ave. West, Bradenton, Florida 34205-7852, 941.747.8300  -  fax 941.745.2831, e-mail: harbormaster@twindolphinmarina.comGulf Harbour Marina    
ICW Marker 73, 4.5 miles from Gulf of Mexico  
14490 Vista River Dr.,
Fort Myers, FL 33908
239-437-0881 Slips are now available!! On the brand new Dock 5. For information please call (727) 893-7329 or 800 782 8350Gulfport Marina includes dry boat storage, ship store, bathroom, public boat ramp, parking, fueling stations, lighted range markers and guest docking facility.Located at Mile Marker 135 on the Okeechobee Waterway, 15 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Myers Yacht Basin is a well designed and protected marina. It is owned and operated by the City ofBoca Grande Marina, Gasparilla Island, FloridaPink Shell Beach Resort and Marina239 461-0775 Legacy Harbour Marina entrance is located on the Okeechobee Waterway East of Marker #49 on the Caloosahatchee River. The Marina is situated two blocks from historic downtown Fort Myers and three blocks from the historic Edison-Ford Winter Estates. The Marina's 131-Slips range in size from 40 feet to 80 feet and can accommodate Transient Boats of 100 feet plus. The large Fairways make our slips easily accessible. Our slips are surrounded by one of the largest 'floating breakwaters' on the Gulf of Mexico. The floating docks are state-of-the-art. Legacy Harbour Marina is a full-featured facility with all the modern conveniences of home including pump-out station, heated pool, fitness center, full electric metered at the slip, cable TV, laundry, air-conditioned showers and wireless Internet connections available. The Boaters' Lounge is available for relaxing after a cruise or for private parties. The view from the lounge is spectacular! Our grounds are beautifully manicured and provide great strolling along the river with benches, Chickee Hut, and excellent access to all of historic Fort Myers. Please take a few moments to browse our website and see for yourself what our  beautiful boating facility can offer you the next time you are cruising in Southwest Florida.
St. Andrew's MarinaRegatta Pointe MarinaPunta Gorda, Florida - a GREAT cruising destinationThe Town of Fort Myers Beach proudly operates and maintains the Matanzas Harbor Municipal Mooring Field. The field boasts 70 mooring balls available for public rental year-round, and accommodates vessels up to 48 feet in length. The mooring field is located east of the Sky Bridge between San Carlos and Estero Islands in Matanzas Pass. For recreational cruisers, the Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field is a wonderful destination. Coming ashore at the Town’s dinghy dock puts boaters in walking distance to beaches, restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and public transportation. Mooring ball rental fees are $13/day or $260/month. All renters MUST register with Matanzas Inn upon arrival. The dinghy dock is available for public use to tie up dinghies 10’ or less (no overnight tie-ups). The dock is located beneath the Sky Bridge between Matanzas Inn Restaurant and the public fishing pier. The Port St. Joe Marina is at the heart of Florida's Forgotten Coast, on the eastern shore of pristine St. Joseph Bay on Florida's northern Gulf Coast. Located between Panama City and Apalachicola, FlFisherman's Village Marina and Resort, Punta Gorda, FLRiviera Dunes Marina Just off Tampa Bay Owned and Operated by Boaters
  • 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

  • Thoughts on Florida Anchoring Space

    Captain Feiges is responding, in her message below, to a posting which appeared here on the Cruisers’ Net some time ago, about the victory in St. Augustine, when the city proposed ten day anchoring limit outside the mooring field, was shot down, and changed by the FWC to a thirty day limit.
    Her point in this missive is very different, and very much worth the cruising community’s thoughtful consideration. Beverly speaks of a lack of anchoring “space” in Florida due to the proliferation of private moorings!

    We are cruisers, plain and simple, and seldom stay in one spot for even a week. Even in Georgetown, in the Bahamas, where we may spend a month or more, we switch anchoring spots every so many days, depending on wind or activities ashore. Putting in mooring fields in very popular spots has the advantage of allowing many more boats to safely anchor, but it is also nice to have some room to anchor left over for those of us who may be too big for the spacing and holding power of the moorings, or too high off the water to easily pick up the mooring. Having permanently anchored boats in what is a limited area, even if they must move them every thirty days, does not help the honest to god cruiser who is passing through and wants a spot for a night or two. Even worse seems to be the unregulated dropping of private moorings everywhere it used to be possible to anchor.
    I want the right to anchor, but there must be room to do it, and in allowing people to set their private moorings all over the place, (in Maine some people have as many as five in different harbors), or to stay anchored more than 5 days without a valid reason, then this room does not exist, and you just as effectively have cut off my right to anchor. We had this experience in St. Augustine this fall, almost impossible to anchor.
    Beverly Feiges

    Virtually all anchoring regulations being promoted by FWC are in violation of Florida Statute 370.04 in the wake of two Florida Supreme Court decision favoring boater’s (almost) unrestricted anchoring rights. There is nothing to be applauded here as FWC seems to be forging ahead unempeded with its greed and rise of power with little or no sound rationale or legal foundation.
    Make your resistance known against this flagrant arrigance and disregard for formal constitutional decisions.
    Bruce Bingham

    Perhaps a private mooring can now be considered “the owner is anchored” and falls under the new regs ?? Interesting possibility…
    Dennis McMurtry

    I agree with Beverly. Sure, Florida’s mooring fields are busy in the winter, but for most of the year there are many vacant moorings that eliminate huge areas that used to be available for anchoring. St. Augustine has effectively eliminated all of the best anchoring areas by covering the harbor in moorings, most of which remain vacant most of the year. Same thing in Marathon. I have squeezed into the remaining anchorage there during the off season when half the moorings were empty.
    John Kettlewell

    Laws continue to be changed. FL Statute 370.04 I could not find. Overriding everything is our Federal Navigational Servitude and the Public Trust doctrine which provide, among other things, that navigation includes the right to anchor in all navigable waters.
    FL Statute 327.44 states “no anchoring…in a manner which shall unreasonably or unnecessarily constitute a navigational hazard.”
    Jay Bliss

  • Latest on Florida Keys Anchoring As of 12/1/11

    The report below from our very special Florida Keys correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, sounds very hopeful. This is an important issue as all of the Florida Keys have been selected to be included in the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. Sites selected for inclusion in this program have the power to regulate anchorage outside of mooring fields, but only after gaining input and approval from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC).
    The Cruisers’ Net, BARR (Boaters’ Anchoring Rights & Responsibilities) and Boat/US are working hard to insure SENSIBLE anchorage regulations are adopted by all participants in the Pilot Mooring Field Program.

    Last night’s meeting of the MPAC held here in Marathon, went exactly as planned. Prior to the meeting, I spoke with Senior Administrator Rich Jones via telephone and informed him though I would not be there personally, I had sent him a letter. He said he would read the letter at the meeting. Mariner’s Barr and SSECN both are very happy with how Monroe County has handled the responsibility of meeting the objectives of the Pilot Program. All with a carefully thought out plan so as not to displace or burden those in the cruising or local liveaboard communities. There are very caring people here, that is wholly apparent.
    We’re still quite a ways before the actual ordinance is written and approved by the BOCC, but we’re getting there. The areas discussed last night are Boca Chica and Sunset Cove, where longterm liveaboards have a community. The ordinance will NOT affect cruisers and transient boaters in those areas. This was a way to keep from displacing those who live there. It’s not really in the realm of the Pilot Program, per se, as there is no mooring field associated with either area. However, Monroe County could do it under protection of the marine sanctuary…so it’s all good. We’ve worked very hard here in Monroe County to protect all boaters and cruisers from over-regulation. No time limits and a way for those who live aboard and do not navigate to still feel welcome…but making them own up to responsibility. I applaud the efforts made to accommodate and represent ALL boaters who enjoy the waters of the Keys. – On another note, the vendors in KW Harbor can have their floating structures as long as they are licensed otherwise to do business. That’s a huge thing for those whose livelihood depends on such.
    Key West Harbor was never in the loop of the regulations that were outlined for Boca Chica Basin and Sunset Cove, Michael. It’s easy to get them confused. KW Harbor was only to have a buffer area around their mooring field, of which no one has any complaint. Most anchor on the other side of Fleming Key or off Wisteria. With Wisteria out of the picture, things look very good to stay the same in Key West Harbor.
    The “approval” is only for language to be drafted into an ordinance to be presented to the BOCC in January; now that everyone is on the same page with what the ordinances should state. The BOCC will then take a look at it with the Public’s input, and it could still need tweaking. Once it is approved by the BOCC it will then be submitted to the FWC. Still a long way to go before there are ordinances of any kind in place. No surprises here of any kind, this has been the path Monroe County has taken from day one. A good one: LESS IS MORE.
    Charmaine Smith Ladd (SSECN Special Correspondent & Representative)
    Executive Director, Mariner’s Barr (Boaters’ Anchoring Rights & Responsibilities)

  • Cruising Community Comments on St. Augustine’s 30-Day Anchoring Limit Victory

    Way to go Charmaine,
    Thank You,
    John Connon
    s/v Donita

    Thank You !!
    Mike Cline

    I am very happy to hear the news, we will be cruising Fla waters next fall and this news is very welcome indeed. After reading about the history and cruising opportunities in the St Augustine area its nice to be able to anchor off some of the time and 30 days is a good way to stop people dropping off their unwanted boats and causing more problems for honest cruisers.
    Gary Holtze

    I think I speak for many cruising captains. If St Augustine, or any other Florida town, makes it difficult for us to visit, we just simply won’t visit – and won’t spend any money there. We’re all rather tired of these restrictions and Florida police boats pulling us over, seeking an excuse to give us a $150 ticket to boost agency incomes. There are plenty of attractive waterway towns on the East Coast or Great Loop which welcome boaters at many free docks, realising that we attract tourism overall not the reverse. The best way to change Florida law is simply not to go there.
    Arnold Parkinson

    A big thank you to all those who fought hard to make this decision a reality. After serving this country for four years in the military to protect our freedom it is good to see that at least some of them are still there for us to enjoy.
    James Angelf

    Way to go! Let’s keep the pressure on these people until they leave us alone. it is good that the fwc is listening to us. 30 days isn’t too bad a deal, probably won’t be enforced unless the boater in question is a problem anyway.
    Pete Shaw

    Let have big round of applause for Captain Ladd. Thanks so much for being there for us Florida boaters. And congratulations!
    Len Krauss,
    Punta Gorda FL

    I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Charmaine Smith Ladd and Bonnie Basheim for their defense of cruiser’s rights and also to Cruisersnet for reporting the events.
    Stewart Force

    This is welcome of course, and congratulations to the cruisers everywhere who spoke up, but it’s small beans in the greater scheme that is happening here.
    There is virtually no place left to anchor in St. Augustine anyway and the issue of the hold harmless clause negating boaters’ insurance wasn’t addressed. Boaters taking a mooring in St. Augustine – or anywhere in Florida for that matter – will not be insured should a mooring fail.
    And there are much more onerous fights ahead of us – we’ve lost Manatee Pocket and Vinoy Basin in St. Petersburg as anchorages for example. Manatee Pocket might yet be salvageable if the FWC refuses to grant Stuart its 300 foot setoff, but Vinoy is gone, leaving no place convenient to downtown St. Pete to anchor.
    This fight is far from over and the hardest part is yet to come.
    Wally Moran

    That is great news! Now, if everyone can try to send a comment to Stuart/Martin County before their next meeting on November 22 that would be very helpful. They are proposing no anchoring within 300 feet of shore in a large area, resulting in the total elimination of anchoring within Manatee Pocket, along with other onerous stuff.
    John Kettlewell

    What happens if a boat remains anchored for 30 days, but instead of leaving the area, ties to a dock (or slip or in the mooring-field) for a few days, then goes back on the hook? How many days must the boat be docked (or moored) before it can anchor for another 30 days, if it does not leave the area for a day?
    Rick Ritchie

    Thank you Charmaine & BOAT US, and the FWC for sticking up for the boaters!
    Lupe Tucker

    Hey Claiborne, great article, yes and a victory as well.
    I do want to point out though, that the FWC approved 30 days of consecutive anchoring within a 45 day period. Does this not mean then that after 30 days of consecutive anchoring, one must leave for 15 days before returning?
    Here is the news release we posted from the FWC on
    Lupe Tucker

    It’s a shame we have to go to such lenghts to keep our anchoring Rights. And they are rights, not privleges.
    Inheritated from our forefathers!
    Columbus anchored out without restrictions!!
    Capt. Sterling

    No question 30 days is better than 10 days but NOT a victory to celebrate! Two years from now the Florida League of Cities will say “Look, a 30 day anchoring restriction worked in St. Augustine”, now let every city impose a 30 day limit. NOT a good precedent to set!!
    Now, I know Claiborne that you don’t approve of a boycott of the St. Augustine mooring field and businesses. But I still believe that is the only way to prove to the municipalities and business communities that treating cruisers and liveaboards poorly is bad for their economy. The city council members of St. Augustine did no cave in, this change from 10 days to 30 days was forced on them due to all of us pressuring the FWC. St. Augustine does not deserve cruisers supporting or paying for their mooring field or our money supporting their economy. I love stopping in St. Augustine as a tourist who arrives by boat or car, however, I still call on all of the seasonal boats heading south to bypass St. Augustine this year, leave their mooring field empty, anchor north of the city limits and the Villano Bridge, and call the city marina on the radio as you pass by heading south to let them know you are bypassing their fair city this year to spend your money in places that welcome cruising boats!
    Henry Morgan

    Grateful are we. Good News. (even tho we’re on the opposite side of the state of Fla. near Pensacola.)
    Capt. M. L. Middleton

    I also thank the 2 people who showed up for the St. Augustine meeting, but I am surprised there was not a greater number present. More towns and cities seem to think that their town will be better off by shooing away the cruisers. The only way that can stop is if cruisers make a point of appearing at these town meetings and making a stink about it. Why is Elizabeth City the only town that truly gets it…Cruisers are income for the city.
    Howard Mitchell

    Cruisers need to clean up their act. Holding tanks and pump out or head for the Wall St. group.

    Congrats – I know it is not any easy fight.
    I worked with Bonnie Basham in the Standing Watch vs Save the Manatee Club days. You couldn’t find a harder worker or better advocate for most any marine related cause. She’s the BEST.
    Dick Smith

  • HUGE VICTORY FOR THE CRUISING COMMUNITY – Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Sets St. Augustine Anchoring Limit at 30 Days (NOT 10 Days!)

    At approximately 1:00 pm today, 11/17/11, we received a telephone call from our very special Florida Keys Correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd. Charmaine passed along a detailed report on today’s FWC meeting in Key Largo, Florida, which had just adjourned. This gathering was called specifically to consider St. Augustine’s request for a 10 day anchoring limit on their corporate waters, outside the city mooring field.
    The only people to speak were Captain Charmaine, representing both BARR (Boater’s Anchoring Rights and Responsibilities) and the SSECN, Bonnie Bashem, representing Boat/US, and a representative from the city of St. Augustine.

    According to Captain Charmaine, the St. Augustine representative, as you would expect, requested approval of the already much discussed 10-day anchoring limit for the waters outside of the city mooring field, while both Bonnie and Charmaine argued for a longer time limit. In fact, Charmaine asked for a 90-day limit.

    The final result of the meeting was a DENIAL OF ST. AUGUSTINE’S REQUEST FOR A 10-DAY LIMIT, AND, INSTEAD, A THIRTY (30) DAY LIMIT WAS APPROVED. Vessels which want to anchor in St. Augustine waters for longer than 30 days must leave the corporate waters for at least 24-hours, and they can then return for another 30 days.


    I might also add, that this decision shows me that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission IS keeping the needs of cruisers in mind, at least somewhat, as the process of approving local anchorage regulations for those communties (or counties) involved in the Pilot Mooring Field Program, goes forward!

    The cruising community owes of a HUGE debt of thanks to Boat/US and Bonnie Bashem, Captain Charmaine and the hundreds and hundreds of cruisers who have bombarded the FWC and the St. Augustine City Government with e-mails.

    However, the fight is most surely NOT over yet. There are still details to be worked out in St. Augustine, and there are four more Pilot Mooring Field Program sites for which anchorage regulations are yet to be approved.

    So, the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net’s advice is STAY VIGILANT! In the meantime, though, let’s all bask in this victory, for at least a few moments!

    As you might imagine, comments have been POURING in to the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net since the above article was published. So many, in fact, that we have had to establish a separate page so that everyone’s words can be displayed. Please click on the link below, and discover what your fellow cruisers have to say on this HOT topic:

    I have been contacted in the past month by a group whom are trying to stop the anchoring in Sarasota Bay. So heads up and look out for the next boom of protest to prohibiting boaters their rights.
    Captain Kat Luchene

    I agree that having to move your boat once every 30 days is a small inconvenience for boats cruising Florida waters compared to having to move it once every 10 days.
    For sailboats it is even less of an inconvenience. I am thinking that the captain who is anchored waiting to get a part shipped for his engine so that he can continue cruising his powerboat is at a disadvantage unless he can get a friendly tow.
    I too am fed up with abandoned boats sinking in our anchorages. Boats need to be stored on land and used on the water. Just as automobiles are not stored on public highways.
    My Cal 2-29 is on a private mooring in the St Johns River. It is moved at least twice a month but seldom for a 24 hour period. That is the one aspect of this that has me in disagreement. I am more concerned that an anchored boat is being used by its owner than how long it has to be moved from its anchorage. If the owner is aboard once a month, leaves the anchorage and returns, problems may be corrected before the boat becomes a hazard.
    David Burnham

    Thank you for this very important and needed update!
    helmut g. kramer MD,MSc

  • Reported Anchoring Hassles Near Anna Maria Island (near St. M. 92, south of Tampa Bay)

    This is the first report we’ve had here on the Cruisers’ Net that mariners dropping the hook just south of Tampa Bay, near Anna Maria Island, are being hassled. Can anyone else give us a report on a similar or dissimilar experience in these waters?????

    Sarasota is working with boating community, which is good. A place boaters want to avoid is Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island, just noryh of Longboat Key. The code enforcement officer [there] will harass boaters for anchoring in waters around the island. Bestt o bypass Anna Maria Island and go to anywhere where boaters are treated with
    Captn Steve

    We utilize the anchorage off Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island southwest of the Cortez Bridge for our “homebase” during the summer. This summer we had a skirmish with the City of Bradenton Beach. The had enacted a requirement for an “anchoring permit”. When approached by their police boat I informed the officer he was violating state law and he hit the throttle and left. Another cruiser received a citation. I contacted FWC, they responded and called the city attorney to “educate” her, city commissioners repealed their illegal ordinance and dropped the case against the cruiser who was cited!
    We are now south for the winter but I recently hear that the city police, coast guard, border patrol and FWC did a “lights out” raid on anchored boats there and in Longboat Key! Supposedly for “Homeland Security” looking for drugs, outstanding warrants, and sewage handling. Nothing of significance found or cited according to news reports. No question there are a few unsightly boats anchored there inhabited by some colorful “characters”. As a result the police chief in Bradenton Beach demonstrates an attitude of no respect for federal or state law regarding anchoring, or the constitutional or civil rights of boaters!
    Please don’t avoid anchoring off Cortez, Anna Maria Island or Longboat Key because of this. If you are legally anchored and meet all safety equipment and MSD regulations they can’t “run you out of town”! This is not the old wild west, it is still the U.S.A!
    Larry Sherman

    No, it’s best to point out to this guy that he is acting illegally and to advise them if he doesn’t go away, you’ll call the police to deal with him. He has no business bothering boaters whatsoever and needs to be told.
    You should send a copy of this issue to, he’s their [Florida Marine Industries Association] lawyer and will send a rude letter to the offending municipality.
    Wally Moran

    A correction to my post above – Dickerson is with the National Marine Manufacturers Association – not sure what my fingers were up to typing that note. And what Dick sends won’t be rude, although it might be a rude awakening for the municipalities involved.
    Given the publicity the state’s anchoring law has received, it’s hard to believe that Bradenton Beach had the nerve to put up an ordinance in direct violation of the law. Seems to me that the City of BB should be up on charges itself – their lawyer absolutely HAD to know the ordinance was illegal, if not, he should be fired. And the fact the officer sped off when challenged is proof that the city knew the ordinance was illegal.
    What IS it about Florida? How can their elected officials be so – so – someone help me, what is the word we should use here?
    This is why it is so important that every boater becomes involved in the fight against the Pilot Program – because if you don’t, you can expect to see your anchoring rights taken away in Florida. Join Charmaine’s group on Facebook, check out the facts at my blog,, but get informed and get involved.
    Wally Moran

    I am sorry to read all of this. We anchor out on a regular basis at Jew Fish Key (where Long Boat Key ends and Anna Marie Island starts). We dinghy into Moores Stone Crab and Mar Vista restaurants all the time.
    We anchor there at least 1 or 2 weekends a month and NEVER have been bothered by any law inforcement at all.
    Matter of fact if they see me on the swim platform they come over to just chat for a while.

    On our way to FL for first time. Want to tour east side, Keys and westside before we’re shut out. Could be our one and only trip to the totalitarian state of FL.

    My wife and I are getting ready to go cruising full time in 2012 and we are wondering. Don’t government agencies need probable cause for searches of your boat. I get the Coast Guard inspections and have gone through that, and I understand about stopping and searching boats at sea for drug and immigration enforcement. I don’t understand it being conducted in anchorages on properly registered boats. Can anyone explain?
    Peter Treiber

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

  • Florida Anchoring Regulations – The FEDERAL Dimension

    Most of us who have been involved in the Florida anchoring rights issue for more than a few years, know there is a Federal dimension to this issue. And, that issue is, many would argue, ONLY the Federal government, NOT states, counties or municipalities, can regulate “navigation,” AND anchoring is very much a part of “navigation.”
    In fact, several years ago, a fellow cruiser sued the city of Stuart, Florida in Federal Admiralty Court for prohibiting him/her from anchoring. Not only did the cruiser win the court case in question, but the city of Stuart had to pay all the cruisers’ attorney fees, and pay a sum of money for damages.
    So, while many of us have fought the fight for Florida anchoring rights on the state level, most of us have known there is a “fall back” line of defense by way of the Admiralty Courts. Captain Robert Driscoll lays out a good case below for the notion that only the Federal government can indeed regulate anchorage.
    This is very interesting input indeed! If there are any maritime lawyers out there reading this missive, PLEASE give us your input as well by clicking the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below!

    With the understanding that an informed public, in this case the boating public, is the best way to ensure the navigational freedom that we enjoy the follwoing is submitted.
    Anchoring is an act of navigation, navigation is under the jurisdiction of Admiralty Courts. Admiralty Courts exist only at the federal level.
    The laws of the United States are superior to state laws and state laws in conflict must yield. Likewise the Federal Court rulings are supreme.
    With the foregoing in mind consider the following rulings and laws which exist at the National Level, all of which are superior to any state legislation:

    U. S. Constitution, Article III, Sec 2.1
    “The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising under this constitution, the laws of the United States, … (and) to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction …”

    U.S. Supreme Court, Butler v. Boston Steamship Co. 130 US 557, 141 US 1, Detroit Trust Co. v. The Thomas Baslum 293 US 21, 42
    “As the constitution extends the judicial power of the United States to ‘all admiralty and maritime jurisdiction,’ and as this jurisdiction is held to be exclusive, the power of legislation on the same subject must necessarily be in the national legislature and not in the state legislatures.”

    U.S. Supreme Court, Knickerbocker Ice Co. v. Stewart 253 US 149, 164
    “Congress cannot transfer its legislative power to the states, … by nature this in nondelegable.”

    U.S. Supreme Court, State of Washington v. Dawson 264 U.S. 219
    In responding to and overturning a lower court decision where a state was attempting to apply a local state law to all vessels which visit or navigate in the state the U.S. Supreme Court decreed: “This cause presents a situation where there was no attempt to prescribe general rules. On the contrary the manifest purpose was to permit any state to alter the maritime law, and thereby introduce conflicting requirements. To prevent this result the Constitution adopted the law of the sea as the measure of maritime rights and obligations. The confusion and difficulty if vessels were compelled to comply with the local statutes at every port, are not difficult to see. Of course, some within the states may prefer local rules, but the Union was formed with the very definite design of freeing maritime commerce from intolerable restrictions incident to such control. The subject is national. Local interests must yield to the common welfare. The Constitution is supreme.”

    U.S. Statutes at Large, Vol 30, 55th Congress, Sess 425, Sec. 10 states:
    “That the creation of any obstruction not affirmatively authorized by Congress, to the navigable capacity of any of the waters of the United States is hereby prohibited; …”

    U.S. Supreme Court, State of Wisconsin v. State of Illinois 362 US 482
    The phrase “not affirmatively by Congress” as opposed to the phrase “affirmatively authorized by law” which was used in an earlier similar law (51st Congress …) makes mere state authorization inadequate.”

    U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Republic Steel Corp. I11 362 US 482
    The diminution of navigable capacity is an obstruction to navigation. “Obstruction to navigation is not limited to structures specifically, but also includes diminution of navigable capacity by other means.” {(personal comment) The State declaring areas where anchoring is not allowed is certainly a diminution of navigational capacity.}

    U.S. Law 28 USC 1333
    Admiralty jurisdiction covers every vessel under the American Flag, whether it is on the ocean or within the boundaries of a state, no matter what size or means of propulsion, or
    whether it is documented or not.

    Federal District Court, Anderson v. Reames 161 S.W.2d 957 961
    “…’rights of navigation’ include the right to anchorage, which may be exercised for either business purposes or pleasure.”

    Federal District Court, Hayn v. Culliford 3 C.P.Eiv 417
    “’navigation’ for some purpose, includes a period when a ship is not in motion, as, for instance, when she is at anchor.”

    U.S. Supreme Court, Lewis Blue Point Oyster Cultivation Co. v. Briggs 229 US 82
    When overturning a lower court case the U.S. Supreme Court said: “If the public right of navigation is the dominant right, and if, as must be the case, the title of the owner of the bed of navigable waters hold subject absolutely to the public right of navigation, this dominant right must include the right to the use of the bed of water for every purpose which is in aid of navigation.”

    U.S. Law 33 USC 471 Chap 10
    “The Secretary of Homeland Security is authorized, empowered, and directed to define and establish anchorage grounds for vessel in all harbors, rivers, bays and other navigable waters of the United States whenever it is manifest to the said secretary that the maritime or commercial interest of the United States require such anchorage grounds for the safe navigation….” {(personal comment) when the language “authorized, empowered, and directed” is used it implies sole authority to perform the named act. The Boating Public is a definite minority and it is only by the laws which exist in this country can navigational rights be preserved.}

    I agree that it is pretty clear that Federal law should rule, but the problem is that there is absolutely no political support for this at the state and local level, and no Federal entity, particularly the Coast Guard, wants to meddle in state and local affairs either. Now, if this were some issue that had broad national political support, like gun rights, you would have state and local politicians bending over backwards. Boaters are not organized or united politically, and because of the nature of the problem they are more likely to just move along to avoid the hassle. Plus, this mostly impacts transients, who have zero local political clout. Local and state officials answer to their constituents and supporters. Sure, they could be taken to court, at great expense, effort, time, and aggravation, but who wants to deal with that? Not many of us.
    No Name Supplied

    So, who is going to front the legal costs until the courts rule in a cruiser’s favor, and who is going to eat the costs when the courts don’t?
    While some folks who cruise Florida have very deep pockets, the most aggrieved in this situation are not so fortunate.
    In the absence of a “cruising rights defense fund” or some such construct, I’m not going to be lining up for a test case. I am not willing to double down with shrinking retirement funds on the skills of a government admiralty lawyer.
    The Bahamas are a short distance away and much more welcoming on their worst days.

    Every cruiser, EVERY cruiser needs to know this. Spread this information to every boater you know, every boating forum, any way you can. Local authorities are over-stepping their boundaries with unjust and, as we now find out, illegal anchoring restrictions.
    Thank you, Claiborne
    Larry McDonald

    I am not an attorney but I used to pretend to be one at the local pubs on Saturday nights. But seriously, being involved in this issue in Florida for many years, it is my understanding that the Federal Government handed over the jurisdiction of the local Waterways to the States many years ago, with some exceptions. Those are mostly exceptions dealing with maintenance and navigational aids which are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Corps of Engineers. The States were given the authorization to pass laws and regulations and enforce those laws and regulations. It is then up to the individual States as to whether they would in turn allow municipalities or counties to pass and enforce further regulations. And this has been the deal breaker in trying to get these anchoring regulations overturned or thrown out in Federal Court. Now my recollections could be fuzzy, so perhaps a true expert can enlighten us.
    Chuck Baier

    The United States Supreme Court has said (see Knickerbocker v. Stewart above) that the federal government cannot, repeat cannot, delegate its legislative power to the states. In doing so it would not be the first time the Federal Legislature has passed a law that would later be found unconstitutional. Unfortunately for a law to be ruled unconstitutional it must first be presented to the court, unti it is the law remains in force.
    Robert Driscoll

    I, too remember something about the feds abdicatiog responsibility for anchoring. Maybe discovered by the woman in Daytona beach who started an organization???
    I know a couple of guys who served on the “Harbor Board here in the 80′s and 90′s I will ask them about their recollections.
    Bill Dixon

  • An Overview of the Florida Anchoring/Pilot Mooring Field Program by Captain Jay Bliss

    Captain Bliss is a member of the St. Augustine, Florida Port Commission, and has been instrumental in protecting cruisers’ anchoring rights in St. Augustine. His well reasoned article below provides a good overview of this entire issue!

    Florida’s Anchoring Pilot Program is underway. Each of five sites gets to establish local ordinances, rules, for that particular site, enforceable until July 2014.
    For the cruiser heading South, it will mean abiding by local rules in St. Augustine City Limits; State rules then pertain until he reaches Martin County and the City of Stuart. Upon leaving Stuart/Martin county he’s back to State rules down through Ft. Lauderdale and Miami (or he traverses the Okeechobee to the West coast under Stuart/Martin rules), until he enters Monroe County at Key Largo, whereupon he’s under Monroe rules all the way to the Dry Tortugas. Over on the West Coast, cities St. Petersburg and Sarasota get to establish their own rules.
    The stated purpose of this abundance of rules is to encourage the establishment of additional public mooring fields and to promote the use of existing ones. If everyone uses a public mooring field the goals of the pilot program–protect environment, enhance safety, deter derelicts, etc.– are readily achieved.
    The big picture: mooring fields provide safety (we hope), sanitation, convenience, prime location. Their prime location comes from taking free anchoring sites, part of our Navigational Servitude and waters of the Public of the United States, and improving for paying patrons.
    Boaters with less (or no) ability to pay are ruled elsewhere. The present result is the exact opposite of the goals of the Pilot Program: anchoring sprawl that adversely affects maritime environment, leads to improperly stored boats, and invites chaos. In that them vs. us mode, we get enforcement efforts that can readily escalate the ill will.
    Mooring field permits, mooring field operations, should all be asked to account for the boats they displace. That account must provide for accommodation of the displaced.
    Cities, Counties, should not be asked to create further rules that wash elements of the boating into other jurisdictions. Governments must be required to absorb the less able, the less fortunate, into the mooring field system. There lies the challenge: incentive rules for free admission, reduced admission fees into PUBLIC mooring fields. The Anchoring Pilot Program needs a paradigm shift.
    Jay Bliss
    USCG Lic. Capt.
    St.Augustine Port Commissioner Seat 5

    Is it possible to get a list of the mooring fields in Florida?
    Fred Rogerson

  • Miami Herald Newspaper Article Describes “Anchoring Incident in Miami Beach”

    Those of you have been following along on the Cruisers’ Net for the last several weeks, know we were the first press organ to break the story about Captain Wally Moran’s “Anchoring Incident in Miami Beach.” For those of you who have not read this story previously, the very short, over simplified version is that a water cop approached Captain Wally’s anchored vessel in Miami Beach’s Sunset Lake, courteously acknowledged that he did not have the right to ask him to move, but allowed as to how a nearby influential property owner had called the station, and requested that the police ask the vessel’s owner to move. And, apparently, they did so.
    Anyway, the “Miami Herald” has just published a story that details some of the chain of events which led to this conundrum, and a review of the whole situation on “Sunset Lake.” All cruisers interested in the Florida Anchoring Rights issue will want to follow this link:

    This link for the Miami Herald story works better.
    Jim Davis

    Click Here To Read the Original “Anchoring Incident in Miami Beach” article

    Click Here To Read the “Anchoring Incident in Miami Beach (Input Received After 6/10/11)” article

  • Anchoring Incident in Miami Beach (Input Received After 6/10/11)

    Claiborne…to follow is my correspondence with the Chief of MB police. It does not sound good….I’ll leave it to you to post.

    Sent: Friday, June 10, 2011 3:31 PM
    To: Noriega, Carlos
    Cc: Reeder, Tricia
    Subject: anchoring issue, Fredric Karlton
    Good afternoon Sir – By now you have received correspondence from the mayor’s office via Rebecca Wakefield concerning my complaint to the Mayor regarding anchoring in Sunset Lake.
    I’d like to take this up directly with you at this point, but first I’d like to congratulate you on the superb comportment of your marine officers. All of us on board were quite impressed and I hope that you will pass on to them my thanks for their courtesy and professionalism.
    My concern at this point is that most cruisers such as myself are ‘conditioned’ to do as the police ask – especially when the request is as politely made as in this case. However, the situation should never even come up as I’m sure you’ll agree. Someone – and I suspect I wouldn’t want the job – is going to have to tell Mr. Karlton that the police will not be responding to his calls any longer, unless there is an actual issue at hand and not just his angst at finding a boat, of all things!, anchored behind his house.
    I also think it appropriate that Mr. Karlton be informed that his behaviour in playing loud rap music and shining a strong spotlight at night on boats anchored behind his home is not appropriate. That sort of behaviour might even be considered a threat by some and I wonder if Karlton shouldn’t perhaps be cautioned about it – but I absolutely defer to you in making that particular decision. Before you make it though, may I direct you to the Cruisers Forum page where a video showing just what Karlton was doing has been posted:
    Should you wish to speak to these people, I’ll provide you with their email address*. I’m quite certain that they’ll wish to share their concerns regarding Mr. Karlton and his behaviour with you, including his threat to park his boat immediately beside theirs the next morning.
    At this point, I’m still preparing to move ahead with the July 4th Anchor Fest, as we have no real assurance that this situation is resolved or that Karlton will change his behaviour, at least as far as involving the police is concerned. If we do go ahead, I’d like to speak with your marine people about how to best handle this from a safety viewpoint so as to minimize any negative impacts – well, other than on Mr. Karlton of course, but I honestly expect him to choose to be out of town that day. I’d like to make this as positive an event as possible if it goes ahead.
    Thank you for your time and concern, I’ll look forward to hearing from you. Again, my congratulations on a professional force, you can be proud of them. And I say that as the son of a career police officer.
    Wally Moran

    * since this letter was written and first sent, these people have indicated they would be happy to speak with you if you deem in necessary.

    Chief’s Response – Mr. Moran,
    Since you have suggested in other correspondence to the Mayor’s office that politicians and police superiors may be abusing their authority with this matter as conveyed with your following statements,
    My question here is this: are the politicians of Miami Beach, and the senior police officers giving the orders and who appear to leap at the politicians beck and call, so craven, so spineless, so hungry for political largesse that they will order their front line officers to break the law? Because that is exactly what happened here – with their request, these officers were violating our rights. They knew it, and clearly didn’t like being ordered to do it.
    It’s not like these officers didn’t have more important things to do, it was a busy weekend on the water. No, they were ordered to break the law, to go after us, to get us to move on, all because one man has money and the politicians of Miami Beach (who are in his pocket) don’t have the backbone or integrity to tell him that his money doesn’t buy him that privilege. Quite frankly, if I were a voter in Miami Beach, I’d be asking some very difficult questions of the mayor and the Chief of Police.
    For those who would like to ask those questions, Mayor Bower’s email is The Chief’s email apparently isn’t publicly available.
    I want to make it clear that I find your statement completely irresponsible, slanderous and libel. Accordingly, I will not be responding to any future communication from you. Instead, you may refer your concerns to the Mayor’s Office, City Manager’s Office or our City Attorney’s Office. Also as you are probably aware, I have been contact by the Ethics Commission with regards to your complaint. I welcome any “… difficult questions” presented to me and so that the record is set straight my e-mail is publicly available ( on our City website. We will continue to monitor the activity related to this matter and will aggressively pursue any criminal behavior involved, including any threats that are or have been made.
    Carlos Noriega, Chief of Police
    Office of the Chief of Police
    1100 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139
    Office: 305.673.7776 Ext. 5315
    Fax: 305.673.7065

    My further reply to the Chief:

    Dear Mr. Noriega – my intent was not to aggravate you, and I’m sorry both that you are incensed at my remarks and that you feel disinclined to discuss this matter with me. I understand that it’s been a difficult week for you, given the events you’ve had to deal with. I’m sure you don’t need this on top of everything else.
    However, the facts of the matter are that your marine police have, on more than one occasion and subsequent to Karlton’s complaining, come out to ‘encourage’ boaters who are legally anchored in Miami Beach, to move. That is fact – it is NOT slanderous, libelous or irresponsible.
    In fact, what IS irresponsible in my opinion is the waste of police resources – manpower, time and equipment – that are used in pandering to Mr. Karlton’s personal problems with boaters engaging in a legal pastime. If I were a taxpayer in Miami Beach, I would most certainly have issues with all of that. I also have issues with the infringement on people’s rights to engage in a legal activity which is inclusive in what is happening here.
    You happen to be the boss. You set the tone, and if what I saw on Memorial Day weekend was representative, then you are doing a good job and your men reflect that. All I’ve tried to do here is to bring out a situation that needs attending to. I’m astonished by the hostility of your response to my concerns, which represent the concerns of the many other boaters who have stopped in Miami Beach and been confronted by Karlton. I would have thought your concern would be to resolve the situation, to make it clear that Karlton does not have special privileges with the MB Police. You haven’t said that.
    I don’t know just who dispatched your officers. If it was a desk officer or staffer responding to a call and there was no influence behind it, please just say so. I can accept that and admit that my assertions were in error. In fact, I’d be quite pleased to hear that, since it would be a far simpler situation to resolve. Instead, you’ve taken huge umbrage to my remarks and that leads me to wonder if, indeed, there isn’t some complicity, some pandering towards Karlton’s concerns. What I want to hear is that it isn’t MBPD policy to be at Karlton’s every whim when he’s upset over someone engaged in a legal practice. I want to hear that boaters don’t need to be concerned that they will have to deal with a police presence while engaged in doing something they have every right to do. That’s hardly a lot to ask, or so I would have thought.
    For your information, I have deliberately not posted my original email to you while awaiting your response, out of respect for your office. I had hoped that I would be able to report back to the hundreds of cruisers who are following this issue that the MB Police had assured me that we would no longer be ‘gently harassed’, as one of them put it, by the police. As I said, I have no criticisms of your men, who were most polite, but the fact is, what they are doing is still not right. They know it, I know it, and you know it.
    I note that you have not indicated that you wish to speak to the couple who were harassed by Mr. Karlton with loud music and a bright spotlight until well into the night in May, 2011. Is this how you intend to “monitor the activity”, as regards “threats that have been made”? They felt threatened by Karlton’s actions, and have said as much to me. Do you plan to respond to that?
    Since you have indicated that you have no intention of communicating with me, I will forward this correspondence – and yours – to those you have suggested, along with my remarks on your response. I am sorry that you have not chosen to deal with this more amicably. It was never my intent to cause disagreement here and most certainly not with you.
    W. Moran
    p.s. my remark about your email was based on the consideration that a Chief’s email just might not be public, given that there are people who would abuse it. I simply didn’t see it online anywhere. There was no slight intended.

    As a “native” (born in Miami) I am ashamed of the conduct reported in this situation. I will avoid doing any business in the lower half of my old home state. My friends in North Carolina seen to appreciate my business!
    Reginald Holden

    Wally: I don’t know if it would be convenient for you, but I would suggest requesting a meeting to discuss this with the chief. Oftentimes it is difficult to accurately interpret the tone and demeanor of someone via email and letters. At that meeting you might be able to hand directly to the chief copies of the Florida statutes that are applicable to anchoring in that location. Unfortunately, I find that law enforcement–even marine law enforcement–rarely has a good comprehension of applicable boating laws, which leads to this sort of problem. Good luck!
    John Kettlewell

    I second John’s suggestion. I doubt you’ll get a face to face with Chief Noriega though. He suggested in his reply that he took great offense to Wally’s implication that someone is giving special consideration to Mr. Karlton’s complaint especially since Wally suggested it might be politically motivated.
    Chief Noriega should be more thick skinned than that or perhaps Wally’s suggestion is correct. Chief Noriega’s response was so defensive it makes one wonder. Especially since he no longer wants to communicate with Wally at all.
    Tim Pittman

    And, here’s a note from Captain Wally received 6/24/11, describing the latest developments in this ever unfolding saga.

    The city of Miami Beach agrees that cruisers choosing to anchor in Sunset Lake have a right to do so without being harassed by either local citizens and/or the police. They have expressed their concerns over the issue of cruisers being asked, improperly, to move by the police and it is being looked into. Karlton has been spoken to by the City over his behaviour with loud music and spotlights and it could well lead to his being charged in the future. The city has asked that, should Karlton continue to be disruptive, that cruisers take photos and video and contact City Hall with them.
    Wally Moran

    I’m also not rich, I make 30k a year. I don’t own a big mansion and I don’t live in Florida. But I am on the homeowner’s side. It’s obvious boaters are a problem for him. Reading the article I saw he has had several things stolen from his property. You may think it is just YOU, but to him it is over 300 of you per year, averaging just under 1 boater per day/night. A lot more in the high season. I live in a neighborhood where people park to block my driveway almost every day. It is my house and I pay for the right to my driveway and my yard. They destroy that. Think about this, for you it is one or two days, for this owner it is EVERY day. Leave him alone, you (as a group) are in the wrong.

    I hope those boats all have anchor lights showing all night long as that is not a special anchorage area, and even though they are small it could be argued that it is an area where traffic is likely and therefore lights must be shown. Someone should notify the Coast Guard about that.
    John Kettlewell

  • New Idea for “Anchoring Permits” Proposed in Regards to the Sarasota, Florida Pilot Mooring Field Project

    Captain Ken DeLacy is a fellow live-aboard cruiser who has been working very had for several years in concert with other Sarasota boaters to bring about sensible mooring field/anchorage regulations which both preserve the rights of cruisers to anchor, yet address the problem of derelicts and “live aboard hulks.” In our collective opinion, his idea, outlined below, for Sarasota “Anchoring Permits” goes a long way towards solving these twin concerns. In a nutshell, as you will read, there is no time limit set for anchoring in Sarasota waters, as long as the vessel in question can pass a simple USCG Safety Inspection. This one simple act, will quickly cut out the derelicts and “live aboard hulks.”
    We believe this is an idea WELL WORTHY OF CAREFUL CONSIDERATION!

    Cruising News:
    Being a resident in Sarasota, one of the Pilot Program sites, and a concerned cruiser I made the drive down to Key Largo last Tuesday to attend the Public Workshop meeting. While I noticed about 40 cruisers in attendence only about 5 spoke. I did pitch the idea of Anchroing Permits as an alternitive to buffer zones and time limits to sort of test the waters. Some positive feed back was received by 2 cruisers, 1 condo resident who previously spoke supporting more mooring fields, and the FWC. We are looking for further thoughts on the idea and so I thought I’d paste it below.
    Thanks for any input and a special thank you to Claiborne and this network.
    Ken DeLacy

    Sarasota Anchoring Permit – draft 2
    The City of Sarasota will issue 90 day and Annual anchoring permits to all vessel owners who meet the following requirements. (90 day for cruisers and Annual Permits for cruisers/locals)
    1. a. Vessel shall obtain a USCG Aux. Vessel Safety Check (VSC) and receive either a “Yes” or “N/A” in order to receive the VSC decal. (Inspects Marine Sanitation Device, life jackets, fire extinguishers, navigation lights, etc.)
    b. Vessel shall also be required to receive a “Yes” for Items I – VI under “Recommended and Discussion Items” of the VSC. (Inspects anchors and line, bilge pump, marine radio, 1st aide kit, etc.)
    c. Vessel shall be required to navigate under it’s own power to a USCG facility, or other location which still demonstrates vessel’s ability to navigate, for VSC inspection. (USCG Aux. has assured willingness and ability to perform inspections at their dock at Centennial Park. They are volunteers – no cost to City.)
    d. Vessel shall display an up to date decal at all times. (Issued by USCG Aux. upon a passing inspection)
    2. All anchoring permit holders will be required to use pump-out services. (The VSC will require a functioning Marine Sanitation Device. The City pump-out boat which is currently servicing anchored vessels will report non compliant vessels to Marine Police.)
    3. Annual anchoring permit holders will be required to have a licensed diver inspect their anchoring system once their boat is anchored. The permit holder will be responsible for all these associated costs, and the diver must check off the following requirements. (Keeps costs away from City and placed upon the Anchoring Permit holder.)
    a. Vessel in location not adversely effecting seagrass, navigation, or another anchored vessel.
    b. Appropriate type and size line / chain used with no obvious defects.
    c. Appropriate amount of scope deployed.
    d. Anti chafe gear in place and in good condition.
    e. (1). Two anchor system set approx. 180 degrees apart. (2). Three anchor system set approx. 120 degrees part. (3). Four anchor system set approx. 90 degrees apart. (4). One anchor system not permitted.
    4. Applicant responsible for presenting VSC and Diver Inspection to Marine Police in order to receive the Anchoring Permit. Failure to do so within 30 days of arrival may result in violation of City Ordinance 07-4711(x)(x)(x).

    Shouldn’t short-term anchoring be permitted for at least a week without requiring a permit? Or will adequate moorings be available for rent? Last I heard, work had been stopped on expanding the very small mooring field.
    Will White

    The mistake I see in all of this is buying into their argument that a problem exists. The Sarasota proposal does that on steroids.

    What isn’t clear is what does this mean to someone who might want to anchor for a week. To go through all this rigamarole and expense for a short stay is a non-starter for us. The rules for clearing in and out of Cuba are simpler.

    This could be the way to go as it will help with the derelict vessel problem but needs a little tweaking. the diver inspection would be a problem because if no diver corps have the right permitting they just will not offer the services which will make all the rest obsolete. there should be no third party involved but city and state otherwise there will be price gouging and corruption and we have all had enough of that
    Dave C.

    Terrible idea! You might as well just outlaw anchoring. Why should those who wish to anchor have to submit to this sort of drastic limit on their freedom? I for one consider having to fill out forms and taking tests to be totally against the spirit, and for that matter, established law of anchoring. It would absolutely guarantee I won’t visit Sarasota by water. I wouldn’t want to waste the time and money. This is a very slippery slope. Once one town gets a law like this on the books, the others with mooring fields will institute similar laws, but with different requirements. Before long we will have to register and submit forms, and of course pay fees to administer and enforce all this, to anchor anywhere. Other problems: a USCG auxiliary inspection requires equipment above what is required by law–unenforceable, and I suspect someone could have the ticket thrown out of court for this reason. Many of us don’t use holding tanks and don’t require pumpouts–I have a composting system. Having a licensed diver inspect your anchor = $$. Having someone else determine how I should be anchored is something I will not submit to. I have anchored thousands of times and I know how to anchor. This is obviously just a way to make it so much hassle that it will drive the anchorers away.
    John Kettlewell

    You HAVE to be kidding! We just spent 10 days anchored off Island Park in Sarasota. The bum boats are mostly gone already, lots of anchoring room, police towed two remaining abandoned boats away while we were there. We really enjoyed our stay, spent lots of money in their stores downtown, restaurants, etc. If this “anchoring permit” idea goes into effect we will NEVER again stop in Sarasota!!!
    I would not be willing to waste my time going into an inspection station even though my vessel meets all of the requirements just so I could anchor for a short time in Sarasota. This “anchor permit” will deter all cruisers who just want to spend a few days enjoying Sarasota from ever stopping there again. BAD idea, might as well just ban all anchoring in Sarasota waters. I would rather deal with a time limit (even a short one) than to submit to all this bureaucratic nonsense!!
    Larry Sherman

    Cruisers who want to anchor for less than 90 days don’t and shouldn’t need a permit to limit their freedom to do so.
    Non-cruisers, local residents or NOT, who want to STORE their boats at anchor for more than 90 days should be subject to oversight to protect the other cruisers using adjacent waterways from becoming victims of their neglect. An anchoring permit is a reasonable solution if you cannot STORE your boat on land.
    If the permit is a device to get derilect boats removed from sight, it will fail because you can comply with all the requirements of the permit and still have an unsightly boat.
    David Burnham

    Not sure why a two anchor system is preferred over a single good anchor. Two anchors will lead to different swing patterns and will not increase holding as the weakest link in the chain is still the worst anchor. For the transient cruiser it is a major hassle to deal with the “multi’ anchor folks.
    Stop increasing regulations and start enforcing the existing rules. Most derelicts do not have current registration or sanitation devices. Enough to violate existing regulations.
    S/V Endeavor

    I personally think USCG Aux. Vessel Safety Checks are a great idea, and we do one every year as a routine, ongoing safety program. I can support that idea in principle, and I ass/u/me it would also include the equivalent check from the US Power Squadron. One issues is that the stickers are based on a calendar year and expire in December. There needs to be a grace period recognizing that the program is an annual calendar-based program.
    I also agree with the idea that there needs to be a short term exclusion. It *is not* reasonable to require a permit for short stays; perhaps less than 14 days.
    One poster does raise an interesting point. What happens if one anchors in violation of a permit? Penalty? Fine? I wonder if a permit violation based on requirements that exceed state law and CG regulations would be enforceable? That criteria would just waste everyone’s time and energy, generate enormous dissatisfaction and resentment, and seems like it would be contrary to the spirit test.
    Finally, I agree that any ordinance needs to have a clearly defined statement of purpose and objective. If Sarasota’s is about derelict boats and derelict boats are not a problem, then there should be no ordinance.
    Jim Healy, aboard Sanctuary
    Monk 36 hull 132

    Not sure why a two anchor system is preferred over a single good anchor. Two anchors will lead to different swing patterns and will not increase holding as the weakest link in the chain is still the worst anchor. For the transient cruiser it is a major hassle to deal with the “multi’ anchor folks.
    Stop increasing regulations and start enforcing the existing rules. Most derelicts do not have current registration or sanitation devices. Enough to violate existing regulations.
    S/V Endeavor

    I too do not agree with over regulation. Particulerly when one of the city of Sarasotas complaints is the cost of enforcing current laws. However Ken’s proposal is much more cruiser frindly then plans that state no longer then 72 hours on anchor in city waters. That require the use of the proposed Marina Jacks managed mooring field after 72 hours. The city has been chosen as a state pilot program site. There will be regulations put in place. I would perfer the people pushing the mooring field not write them. To add to all of this the city claims that after there last mooring field failure. They are to invested to permenently abandon the plan. At the same time they will not rent showers, laundry facilitys, WiFi, or parking passes to cruisers or resident boat owners. Opening these services to boaters (not on Marina Jack’s docks) who can prove they have a safe navigable vessel. Could recover there loss with out adding to there debt. Aswell as bringing in more of the cruisers who would pay for those on shore luxuries. On the anchoring topic I do not care how you anchor. Just dont hit me and dont swing in that horried 200 ft 1 anchor ark. However when you pull up a ball of lovely Sarasota bay muck. Dont cry when you hit the beach or worse yet me.
    Bryan Makepeace
    S/V Albatross

  • Anchoring Incident in Miami Beach

    Captain Wally Moran, author of the “open letter” below, sent to the mayor of Miami Beach, is a reporter and writer for “Sail” magazine. Thanks to Captain Moran for sharing this very interesting, if a bit lengthy, note with the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net.
    After reading Wally’s missive below, you may want to refer to my earlier anchoring editorial, “Whence Come the Anchorage Regulations” ( In particular, check out my “#2″ reason behind such regulations.

    An open letter to Miami Beach Mayor Bower:
    I know that running for office can be expensive, and that politicians often seek financing from those with the money to contribute, but at what price to the politician? And just what is the price to the people represented by that politician?
    The balance of this letter, Mayor Bower, is intended to put the onus on you to stop the abuse of rights in Miami Beach that wealthy political contributors think they have purchased when they finance a politician’s campaign, not only in the specific circumstances outlined in my letter.
    My sailing students and I had only just anchored at Sunset Lake in Miami Beach, behind the house at 2344 N. Bay Road, when the police boat came up to us. The officers aboard politely requested that we move the boat a couple of hundred yards south. They very carefully explained that we didn’t have to do this, that they had no right in law to make the request, but that they would appreciate our doing so.
    The reason for their request? We had anchored in front of the home of a man with considerable political clout, apparently purchased with substantial donations to various politicians, although the police didn’t give specifics. The man had phoned the police, probably before our anchor had finished sinking to the bottom. The officers had been ordered to respond, and did so in less than ten minutes. I’m quite certain that there are victims of crime in Miami Beach who would be astonished by the speed of this response, but as we were discovering, wealth does have its advantages.
    We and the officers had an entertaining fifteen minutes discussing the merits – or lack thereof – of the situation we found ourselves in. The officers were clearly disgusted at having to do the bidding of the man who had complained, but since they were acting on a superior’s orders, they really had no choice.
    After the officers left us, we sat for a half hour and enjoyed watching the instigator of this situation surreptitiously watching us as he pretended to clean his boat. We left after a half hour at anchor, not because of this man but out of respect for the officers, who were only doing their job – no, belay that, they were doing what they had been told to do – which was most decidedly not their job.
    My question here is this: are the politicians of Miami Beach, and the senior police officers giving the orders and who appear to leap at the politicians beck and call, so craven, so spineless, so hungry for political largesse that they will order their front line officers to break the law? Because that is exactly what happened here – with their request, these officers were violating our rights. They knew it, and clearly didn’t like being ordered to do it.
    It’s not like these officers didn’t have more important things to do, it was a busy weekend on the water. No, they were ordered to break the law, to go after us, to get us to move on, all because one man has money and the politicians of Miami Beach (who are in his pocket) don’t have the backbone or integrity to tell him that his money doesn’t buy him that privilege. Quite frankly, if I were a voter in Miami Beach, I’d be asking some very difficult questions of the mayor and the Chief of Police.
    For those who would like to ask those questions, Mayor Bower’s email is The Chief’s email apparently isn’t publicly available.
    There is something else that we can do about this as free citizens. I’d like to invite all Miami Beach and area boaters to an ‘Anchor Fest’, to be held on July 4th, starting at 2 p.m. The Anchor Fest will be a celebration of American freedom, particularly the freedom Americans have to see all legal rights respected by our politicians.
    I’d like to see several hundred boats anchor in view of this man’s home, to help bring home to him the fact that, while he may be able to buy politicians, the Miami Beach Police do not answer to him through them, they do not violate the rights of others because he is displeased.
    I’d also like to see the politicians of Miami Beach get the message that someone with money doesn’t have the right to force police officers to break the law through political patronage. I’d like Miami Beach’s politicians to remember and understand that they answer to the voters of the city – all of them, not just ones with lots of money and attitude.
    I’d like to thank the officers for their courtesy and for the job they do for us. I know you’ll be with us at Anchor Fest in spirit.
    I’d like to see everyone have a great time at this man’s expense, for him to see that his money doesn’t buy him the right to abuse the rights of others.
    And I have a suggestion for this man: if you don’t like boats anchored where you can see them, buy a home inland. I’d suggest New Mexico or Arizona.
    I hope to see everyone at Anchor Fest. You can get more details on Facebook, just search for Anchor Fest or Anchor Fest Miami Beach.
    W. J. Moran

    I just sent off the following email to the Mayor and encourage others to do the same….
    “Mayor Bower, Would you be so kind as to respond to the reports that a wealthy land owner and political contributor is using the Miami Beach Police Department for personal use to harass boaters that anchor near his home in Sunset Lake. This is a complete abuse of power, since the order either comes from the Chief of Police or his superior. And we all know who his superior is. With tight budget constraints in almost every city today, how do you justify the cost to the citizens of Miami Beach for the Officers time and use of a boat to coddle to this one individual and ask your police officer to harass innocent boaters in clear violation of Florida State law. It is the hopes of all of the boating public that an investigation by higher authorities will provide answers if you will not. But I did feel it necessary to voice my opinion in this matter and give you the chance to respond. I await your answers.
    Sincerely, ”

    Ah, the man often referred to in blogs and discussions of anyone who has anchored in or near Sunset Lake. The man who also abuses his (land) neighbors rights by blasting loud, obnoxious music to try to drive cruisers away, and shines spotlights on the boats as well.
    This man has to be the single biggest waste of time for the Miami Beach Marine Unit’s officers. Anchor Fest should be a weekly event.
    Lynn Kaak

    I wish I could be at your anchor fest. Thank you for speaking out. I suggest you put the notice out on utube or twitter. That will get a lot of young ones involved. They need to be aware of their future. Once again boaters are being a target. The politicians should have their benefits and salaries cut like many of the locals are having major cuts in their every day common life. Maybe they would not be able to afford the extras in life. Like a police force.

    Thank you for doing this Wally Moran! I have experienced this citizen first hand and know that he can be nasty when he wants to be! We will be further north for the 4th of July but we will be there in spirit!! Please post photos, we would love love love to the see them!!
    This is the email I sent today to the mayor of Miami Beach as well as the Miami Herald. I changed the citizen’s name in this posting to not put Cruiser’s Net in an awkward position of posting his name but I did not call him Citizen X in my letter to the mayor. I encourage ALL boaters who care about anchoring rights to email the mayor and to other cruisers who have first hand experience with this citizen, SPEAK UP!
    Dear Mayor Bower,
    As a cruising sailor that has enjoyed Miami Beach on several occasions on my sailboat over the past few years, I have to ask do you not understand what visiting boaters contribute to your community? By allowing your city’s police officers to essentially politely harass visiting boats anchored legally in Sunset Lake in Miami Beach you are discouraging boaters from visiting your city. Do you not realize in a recession how important tourist dollars are to your town? Do you think just because a visiting boat does not stay in a marina, we do not have money to spend? Boating is not a cheap lifestyle. Miami Beach is a great city full of interesting things to do, great places to eat, and wonderful places to shop. Trust me, when one visits Miami Beach, one spends money!
    Citizen X has repeatedly called the police about boats anchored LEGALLY in the PUBLIC waters behind his house and he should be considered a nuisance to the city’s police force. He is trying to harass private citizens (tourists mind you!) engaging in LEGAL activities and the Miami Beach PD is doing his bidding!
    I know from personal experience on two separate occasions how citizen x can be. A year ago we were anchored in front of his house as we were transiting the ICW south and he came up to our boat in his power boat and politely asked us if we would consider anchoring in front of the vacant lot instead of in front of his house. It really made no difference to us and he was polite so we moved.
    This past winter he called the police on our friends and when the police boat came out they were extremely apologetic and specifically told our friends that they had a legal right to be there and the Police visit was pretty much for show to appease “a certain neighbor”.
    That is an utterly appalling waste of police resources!! As the mayor you’d think that you would be concerned about that, not condoning it! It would be an entirely different story if these boats were doing something illegal or something to bother Mr. Karlton but boats using public waters legally is really none of citizen x’s concern is it? You would think after the first couple of phone calls the police would tell him they are not going to respond to it anymore but I am guessing someone higher up the political food chain is putting a little pressure on the police force…
    If you Google Anchor Fest Miami Beach, bully on the waterway in Miami Beach, or “citizen x’s name you will see the negative attention this story is getting on the major cruising boards across the internet. Trust me, people will stop visiting Miami Beach on a matter of principle, anchoring boaters as well as the boaters who utilize the dock space in Miami Beach, because us cruisers, we stick together.
    Hope “citizen X’s” political contributions were worth it for you.
    Nicole Chambers

    This is one incident that is becoming the norm here in Florida and will become law by way of ordinances if we don’t get busy and let our voices be heard.
    What we’re talking about here are CRUISERS. Cruisers (called “non-liveaboards” even though cruisers may indeed live aboard) and includes the recreational boater who navigates the waters cannot by regulated with regard to anchoring, according to FL Statute 327(60). The People of Florida demanded that Statute stay intact. IT DID.
    But a 13th hour FWC Pilot Program goes around that and is exempt from adhering to the Statute. As FWC posted on their site “Due to pressures from homeowners and some others….” [they added the Pilot Program and submitted it along with what the PUBLIC agreed would be revisions to the Statutes]. This was AFTER it was submitted to the Legislature: done without Public input or knowledge…a back door loophole for those who have political pull to continue to try to override the majority of what Floridians wanted. THIS is what is so scandalous about the Pilot Program.
    Five sites were to be named yet Sarasota immediately jumped the gun and put up a 72-hour anchoring limit. It was challenged and they dropped it, but everyone who knew anything knew that Sarasota would definitely be one of the five sites to participate in the Pilot Program. It is a self-serving program for a few to get what they want despite what the people have used due process to show as their choice: NO ORDINANCES ON ANCHORING for Florida cruisers! When they named the five sites, it was incredulous that one site is ALL OF MONROE COUNTY! This is what happens when people are confused and don’t know what is going on. The Pilot Program is nothing more than a way to ignore the majority and quell the whining of a few powerful minority to take away the freedom of boats in navigation, and use our tax dollars to do it! Misuse of government resources is blatant here.
    The Pilot Program is not focused on derelict boats or hulks as those vessels are already subject to regulation and have been since 2006. Cruisers and recreational boaters are the ONLY ones outside of being regulated, based on our right to navigation as per Maritime Law. We need choices and options — not anchoring ordinances! By confusing people and making them think the Pilot Program was needed to help rid harbors of derelicts and sewage is exactly what they want you to think. They can already do that! I fought from day one the Pilot Program and saw it for exactly what it was…but so many others could not see that there are people this powerful and this brazenly arrogant that they couldn’t see the forest for the trees. “How can they do that?” Well, this Miami Beach incident is a perfect example and they are and will do it unless we stand up and expose it. The Pilot Program will eventually make it legal for them to do it by way of ordinances.
    The FWC will be holding more workshops on the issue of anchoring rights for NON-LIVEABOARD VESSELS (that is all cruisers and recreational boaters whether you liveabord or not). See how confusing this is?! It is meant to be. This is so important, my good people. Get involved or lose your freedom.
    There is a Workshop at the Government Center in Marathon, FL on June 8th at 6 pm. If you cannot attend, let your voice be heard by writing. We cannot let this happen. Public trust is being manipulated and we can help our local authorities fight back against those misusing that trust with our voices saying or pens writing that we won’t stand for our rights and wants being ignored.
    Our authorities are essentially being forced to represent a few rather than the majority and the actual LAW. Just imagine what will happen if ordinances are allowed and cruisers and other recreational boaters are subject to anchoring restrictions by law. No thanks!
    One ordinance outside of mooring fields will lead to another ordinance outside of beaches, then another, etc. There is no end to anchoring ordinances for cruisers and recreational boaters if we allow them to BEGIN.
    The People of Florida said NO to them the first time and kept the Statute intact that protects our rights to anchor. This back door called the Pilot Program has got to be exposed for what it really is and SLAMMED SHUT. It is not about derelict vessels, or liveaboard hulks, it’s about YOU the boater, the cruiser, the person who navigates the waters of Florida, and enjoys dropping the hook without a visit from authorities telling you how long you can stay.
    Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd

    Well written, Capt. CSL. Yes, the Pilot Program seems to be a carte blanche for 5 sites to screw with regs between now and July 2014. After that the Legislature supposedly writes into FL law whatever has been effective. OR dumps the kitnkaboodle.
    Continued appreciation to Claiborne Y who traveled to StAugustine to specifically address StAugustine’s Pilot proposed ordinance ideas. Claiborne got his three minutes in, and then in typical small town “we’d rather hear ourselves talk” the mike got passed on. Not to be forgotten: a few years back we put MLKing behind bars. We’re more suave now, but City still gets to do things as City sees fit.
    Captain Jay Bliss
    St. Augustine Port Commissioner

    I wrote the mayor with my protests, and if we were not many miles north, we would most certainly participate in the Anchor Fest.
    Beverly Fieges

    I am a 66 year old cruiser, now in the Chesapeake for the summer and early fall, and a retired attorney having practiced privately in Miami for almost 25 years. Before that I was a trial atorney with the US Dept of Justice in Washington, DC. During the winter my wife and I often go out for overnighters and weekends and I’ll be damned if I will obey the illegal order of any officer, no matter how courteous, concerning moving from a legal anchorage. While anchored, we cause no disturbance or neuisance whatsoever. If I am arrested I will make sure that the source of the illegal order, presumably the mayor, will be prosecuted. The same is true for any homeowner causing the arrest.
    Seth Stopek

    As a long time member of the USpower Squadron , Key west aand now North Carolina, I feel its my duty to inform the resident at 2344 N Bay Rorad, Miami Beach, Sunset Lake Area that I will make  a point at our next regular meeting to encourage all our members to locate and utilize that location when in the area as a palce to anchor and party. If you are at all familar with the Key west Squadron that can be a very noisy group of sailors.
    Billy Ray

    This string is getting so lengthy, that I ‘m placing a link below for the continuing input received from 6/11/11, onward. If you are interested in this topic, don’t fail to follow this link, as you will read some very interesting correspondence between Captain Wally and the Miami Beach Chief of Police:
    Click Here To Read Input Received Concerning the “Anchoring Incident in Miami Beach” after 6/11/11

  • Anchoring Hassles in Port Charlotte (off Peace River in Edgewater Lake)

    First of all, let’s locate the anchorage where the series of events described below is centered. Edgewater Lake is accessed via a canal which cuts off the northern shores of upper Charlotte Harbor/lower Peace River, just across the way from the Punta Gorda waterfront. These waters are indeed recommended as an anchorage in both my “Cruising Guide to Western Florida” and here on the Cruisers’ Net.
    Secondly, if we believe Captain Ritchie’s assertion below that they “sail and/or maintain multiple times per week” their vessel, clearly this craft is NOT a derelict or a “live aboard hulk.”
    So, this is pretty clearly a case where the adjacent land owners simply do not want to see anchored vessels when they go out into their back yards. IN MY OPINION, THIS IS PRECISELY THE SORT OF INSTANCE THE 2009 FLORIDA STATE ANCHORING LAW WAS MEANT TO ADDRESS. According to this law, as most of you already know, LOCAL MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY AUTHORITIES HAVE NO RIGHT TO DENY ANCHORAGE ON THESE OR ANY OTHER WATERS TO ANY CRAFT (unless it is abandoned or a “live aboard hulk,” which, to be repetitive, this vessel is not).
    It’s just this sort of instance which paints all of Florida in a bad light, and why when I talk to cruising groups in the Carolinas, Georgia or the non-Floridian Gulf coast, generally the second or third query in my question and answer sessions goes something like, “Should we take our boats to Florida?”
    But, all of Florida is NOT like this. Places like Fort Myers Beach could not be more welcoming to the cruising community, and really this positive attitude towards cruisers is the rule, not the exception. However, let an incident like the Volusia County Sheriff’s office boardings of last fall happen, or what is described below, and mariners begin to have very real, very legitimate questions about whether they should avoid Floridian waters entirely.
    Well, that’s today’s unsolicited editorial. Read on and discover what prompted this stream of consciousness.

    On Tuesday, May 10, 2011, I wrote this letter to a Florida attorney who is interested in violations of Florida’s anchoring laws by local municipalities, in this case, Charlotte County.
    May 10, 2011
    Ahoy! My name is Rick Ritchie. I am a Michigan Resident staying at my mother’s house in Port Charlotte, Florida. My family and I have a 37 Irwin sailboat (registered in FL) which we sail and/or maintain multiple times per week. We anchor in Edgewater Lake, a small cove just off of North Charlotte Harbor, which is listed as an anchorage in Claiborne Young’s Cruisers’ Guide and on (an online cruising guide), also designated as an anchorage on Florida’s FWC nautical chart (the one that is published for FWC for boaters). It is designated anchorage number 7 on FWC chart SGEB-61. Even the two unhappy local lake-shore landowners concede that it is an anchorage. Of course, as you know, even if it were not designated, as such, anchoring there would still be legal because it is a navigable part of Charlotte Harbor, Florida. The “anchorage” designation by FWC is just a redundancy.
    We (my family and I) have been “talked to” by the Charlotte County sheriff’s office, twice, and told to move our boat. They have told us that this navigable lake is not an anchorage. In both instances I was able to demonstrate to the officer that my boat was (and is) legally anchored. I did this by showing them the aforementioned FWC nautical chart and the reference in the cruiser’s guide. The last deputy sheriff’s parting words were that he is NOT telling us we have to move it (even though that is exactly what he told us to do at the beginning of the dialog), but that there is a time limit on the anchoring of boats in Charlotte county. My wife asked him. “what is the time limit?” and he said that he didn’t know. Then he left.
    Also, we were asked to attend a meeting of the neighborhood association (actually, just two homeowner couples showed up) to discuss my boat. The short version of the meeting is that they don’t like to look at boats anchored in “their water.” It was, actually, a gripe session where my wife and I politely listened and responded to their questions and managed to avoid rising to their baited and barbed comments and insults. One of them even offhandedly threatened us. Of course his wife said that he was not serious. (our anchor line has been cut twice while anchored there, quite probably by someone who lives nearby. We now have all chain.)
    Before you jump to the wrong conclusion, we have friendly relationships with many of the homeowners around the lake, even getting invited to use a homeowners dock for our dinghy, and another homeowner is smitten with our children and invites us into their home for beverages. So only two homeowners, it seems, are calling the sheriff and complaining. Unfortunately, the Sheriff’s office seems to dance to their tune.
    One more thing (promise): According to one of our several friends who lives on that anchorage’s shore, the sheriff’s boat has been visiting our boat on a regular basis (lately, almost daily). Today, it seems, they even tied onto it. I don’t know if they boarded it, or not. We were at my mother’s house a few miles away, at the time. That’s where we usually are if we aren’t on the water.
    This is all for your information. If you have any advise or questions please feel free to email me.
    Rick Ritchie

    More on this Charlotte Harbor Anchoring Hassle:
    May 15, 2011
    First, let me emphasize this: Deputy Katsarelas was polite during the entire phone conversation– even when I told him that he was wrong about the anchoring law. If he was unhappy about it, I couldn’t tell. He continued to be polite and professional.
    Second, I understand that this letter may find its way to the Sheriff’s office. For that reason I have been careful to be accurate in this testimony and faithful in my recreation of the events and
    quotations. Other than my speculations, which I have identified as such, this is as accurate as I can make it.
    Read on:
    My boat was just tagged as an “At-Risk of becoming derelict” vessel by Deputy Sheriff Katsarelas of the Charlotte County Sheriff Department. When I spoke with him on the phone, today, he said that the citation was based on another complaint by an Edgewater Lake homeowner. He also stated that he (Katsarelas) has never seen anybody aboard my vessel. I explained that I have been on-board my boat weekly, usually more than once per week. I also informed him that some friendly homeowners on the lake could verify this.
    [Maybe he hasn't seen me aboard my boat because, until last week, he only patrols Edgewater Lake for a few minutes out of every month... just a guess]
    Specifically, the tag that he left on my boat states that my vessel has been identified as being “at risk of becoming a derelict vessel.” The reason stated on the tag is that my vessel is “neglected, improperly maintained, or is not able to be used for navigation.”
    This is untrue. As I stated in the letter to ATTY Dickerson, which you posted on Cruisersnet, my wife and I visit my boat multiple times per week to maintain and/or sail her.
    We don’t always get to sail her, but we ALWAYS are able to get out there and take care of her, start the engine, air it out, install a redundant bilge-pump, add another battery, replace
    hoses, replace anchor line with chain, etc..
    Deputy Katsarelas suggested that I moor my boat at my house instead of anchoring on the lake.
    After I explained to the Deputy that I was within my rights to anchor there, and cited the Florida statute, he informed me that the County has more strict anchoring regulations.
    And I quote from Deputy Katsarelas of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department: during today’s phone conversation:
    “The County has more binding regulations than the State.”
    “The county has the right to add to the State regulations.”
    “[County regulations] …are in-addition to State regulations”
    When I informed him that he was in error, I gave him the specific statute (327.60) which specifically states that local municipalities are prohibited from enacting , continuing in effect, or enforcing any ordinance or regulation regulating the anchoring of vessels other than live-aboards. Deputy Katsarelas then stated that he was not current on the new anchoring laws.
    Again, a quote from Deputy Katsarelas:
    “I’m not up on the new anchoring laws.”
    So I offered to give him a copy of the new regulations and a copy of Boat US’s summary of the new law. He said that I could do that if I wanted to.
    So now my boat is listed in the new State-wide database of Derilict vessels. I wonder if this might be a prelude to an accusation of vessel abandonment? Swell!!!
    I guess I will send him a copy of the statute and a copy of Boat U.S.’s summary of the anchoring laws. I suspect that it won’t help, though. Maybe it’s just because a few of them make numerous complaints, but the unhappy Edgewater Lake homeowners seem to have some sort of special influence over the sheriff’s office. I speculate that I will now be hounded by the sheriff’s office.
    It would be cool if a more official type person would send the statute and a legal opinion of it to Deputy Katsarelas and the Sheriff’s Department of Charlotte County — perhaps a member of
    the BAR.
    I wonder what the sheriff dept. has in store for me? Boardings? Safety Inspections? Home visitations? Towing my vessel?
    I wonder what the unhappy homeowners have in store for me: More anchor rode cuttings (I now have chain so it’ll have to be with bolt cutters, this time)?
    Anyway, Edgewater Lake, designated as an anchorage in the cruisers guides and FWC charts (not that it needs to be), is a little less than friendly.
    P.S. In the interest of fairness and completeness, the tag that was left on my boat also stated thatthe registration numbers are not in contrast with the hull color. To that, I have to admit that Deputy
    Katsarelas may have a point. I informed him that I will the numbers from black to white and he said that would be acceptable.
    Again, this is for your information. I hope that someone out there can make good use of it.
    Rick Ritchie

    This situation is truly unfortunate and also an opportunity. Although, I’m not a lawyer I believe it is illegal for even the police to board your boat without your invitation. I would speak to your shore side friends about setting up a video surveillance(VS). Post the boat with a sign, and file charges after the violation. At the very least, you might make it known that there is VS on your boat. Harassment of this type is unacceptable and the police should be investigating who cut you rode.
    Marc Sexton

    Now, here is a well-thought note that demands some serious consideration. Read Captain Kewley’s comments first, and then peruse my editorial remarks afterward:

    Mr Ritchie,
    I would like to offer some thought to clarify a couple of points that you make in your post.I believe that the sea floor in Edgewater Lake is owned by Charlotte County since the lake like the waterways are not natural bodies of water, indicating why the County Sheriff would be involved in policing anchored boats there. This also brings into question whether the rules on anchoring in Florida State waters apply.
    I think the crux of the issue lies with the point at which an untended boat becomes a hazard or derelict. I do not believe that the residents around Edgewater Lake object to overnight or short-term anchoring since I visit the location fairly frequently. However you use the anchorage as a long-term storage facility for your Irwin while staying with relatives miles away and apparently have done so periodically for a couple of years. Barnacles growing up your anchor rode in the past have indicated infrequent movement of your boat.
    As the 2011 Hurricane season approaches and I wonder if the residents surrounding Edgewater Lake should feel reassured that your liability coverage will be adequate to compensate them should your boat’s chain anchor rode not withstand storm conditions.I think that it is a matter of reasonable consideration for others, and storing your boat for free, anchored near someone’s backyard for months at a time certainly is inconsiderate at best.
    Clifford Kewley

    Captain Kewley raises at least three interesting questions in his note above. First, there is matter of whether Florida anchoring law applies to bottomland that is the result of man-made action, e. g. dredging. I have heard some say yes and some say no. However, I do clearly recall in my political science classes, that “Federal law supercedes state law, and state law supercedes local and county statutes.” Given that truism, one must conclude that there is at least a distinct possibility that the 2009 Florida state anchoring law applies even to bottom lands that are the result of dredging. For a more definitive answer, we must defer to the lawyers among us. If anyone practicing the legal profession would like to weigh in, and please do so, then click the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, and share your information.

    Secondly, there is the matter of how long should a well maintained, non-abandoned vessel that is in compliance with all safely and MSD regulations, be allowed to anchor in one place. In my 2010 editorial entitled, “Whence Come the Anchorage Regulations,” (, I wondered out loud:

    “Finally, that leaves the case of what I will call “responsible liveaboards,” boat owners who religiously come to the dock (or use a “honey boat”) to have their holding tanks pumped, don’t throw trash overboard, don’t make loud noise, don’t’ trespass, and keep their vessels attractive and well secured. How long should a mariner of this ilk be allowed to anchor his or her vessel in the same spot?”

    I don’t have an answer for this instance to this day. Anyone else????

    And, finally, there is the question of damage caused by anchored vessels during a violent storm or a hurricane. A legitimate concern to be sure, but in the case of Captain Ritchie, since he is clearly in close contact with his vessel, there should be ample time for him to move his craft before a hurricane hits. Thus, I tend to think this question is a non-issue!

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Edgewater Lake

    Some may question whether or not someone “should” anchor a boat for long term storage like this, but it is crystal clear that it is perfectly legal to do so according to Florida and Federal statute. The issues about a potential for hurricane damage and being “untended” are bogus–if this was the standard throughout Florida nobody could anchor or tie up anyplace for more than a few days. The sheriff is just hunting for something, anything to allow him to make this boater move along.
    John Kettlewell

    Dear Captain Young
    Thanks for stimulating a very interesting discussion and spotlighting the issue of anchoring rights. Kinda brings to mind the Paul Simon lyric in discussing apartment living,”one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor”.
    Your essay/editorial “whence come the Anchorage Regulations” and your message discusses responsible live-aboards. In the case of Mr Ritchie, substitute the term responsible long-term storage behind someone else’s home.
    I do not know the legalities of whether ownership of the sea floor determines the applicable regulation of anchoring and, hopefully some “sea lawyers will opine on the issue.
    Clif Kewley

    Dear Clifford Kewley,
    With all due respect, you seem to be confusing my boat with another one that was, in fact, abandoned on the lake and was finally removed a few months ago (by whom, I have no idea). It was a boat called the “Wild Hare” and it did, indeed, have a barnacle-ball the size of a basketball on the anchor rode. It also had a missing companionway hatch so it was completely exposed to the elements. Its hull had a barnacle-covering that made it resemple an oyster farm. The “Wild Hare” was there when I first discovered Edgewater Lake a year ago. My friends on the lake have told me that “Wild Hare” had been there for 2 years. This, however, is NOT my boat. My anchor rode has NEVER had a barnacle ball. Secondly, I have owned my boat for only 12 months, four of which I kept her at a dock on the Ackerman waterway (e.g. from November 2010 to February 2011), and several other weeks I kept her on the harbor, next to another anchored cruiser (Jim). So your assertion that I have been storing it on Edgewater Lake for “years” is mistaken. I maintain my boat, regularly, including the achor rigging, which I have had to replace… thrice… in the last year. More importantly, I SAIL MY BOAT! True, it is on the lake much more often than it is under sail, still I get to sail her reasonably often.
    So, I am now keeping a log of my visits to my boat. I don’t suppose it will make any difference to the disgruntled landowners, but I am recording what I do during each visit. And thanks to the local police, I will now have their official verification that I was on my boat to find the tag that they left, and was there on another occasion to replace the reg. numbers with more contrasting colored ones. So between the police and the friendly landowners I should easily be able to substantiate my claim of twice per week.
    So, my question to you is (this is a serious question, I have no ill-will loaded up here because I believe it was an honest mistake): How long should I stay away from Edgewater lake between anchorings; And, how long should I be able to anchor my boat there, each time?
    Please accept my apology for anything in this letter that seems less than polite. I find that the brevity of email sometimes impersonates rudeness. I do not mean to sound harsh or rude, especially to a fellow sailor.
    Yours sincerely,
    Rick Ritchie

    Mr. Ritchie,
    I am not sure of your legal right to anchor/wet store your vessel in Edgewater Lake for long periods of time. So to move the discussion along and avoid the on-line “huffing and puffing” about anchoring rights in Florida, lets change the scenario.
    Lets say that you worked long hours for many years and sacrificed to save money to enable you and your family to enjoy your favorite locale and lifestyle. A beautiful mountain community where you paid extra for a building lot to build your home with an unimpeeded view of the mountains. Nice!
    Now lets assume that a local mountain view lover from the next town decided to situate and store his motorhome on the right of way just left of your center view of the mountains, obstructing, oh maybe 10% of your view, and he WAS legally able to do so.
    Now my thought on this is that the lot owner, you, would probably not mind or be too upset if the visitor stayed for a weekend, or maybe a week but….
    If it is only about what is legal then we are in big trouble as a society.
    Clif Kewley

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Edgewater Lake


    The two messages below from Captain Faughn are very good news indeed. Heretofore,  the city of Fort Lauderdale has consistently ignored Florida state law in regards to anchoring. Now, at least for the moment, they are complying. HOWEVER, there is a new threat to Florida anchoring rights on which we will shortly report!

    Subject: Ft. Lauderdale Anchoring
    Cruising News: Claiborne,
    We are currently anchored, and having a great time anchored in Sunset Lake in Miami Beach. We will be heading up to Ft. Lauderdale in a couple of days. So, I read with great interest your postings about the problems and potential problems with anchoring in Ft. Lauderdale. Since this has been a great stop for us in the past, I called the Ft. Lauderdale Marine Division of the Police Department to ask what they are enforcing right now. The officer told me they are no longer enforcing the 24 hour anchoring rule and you may anchor in Ft. Lauderdale and use your tender to land at a dock, which allows you to do so, and enjoy the town and provision your boat. They are in compliance with the new Florida state law with regards to anchoring and cruising boats. To us this was great news since we do enjoy visiting one of if not the largest West Marine Stores and of course Blue Water books not to mention many of the other attractions. I believe this is new information for you. By the way, thanks for all of the info you have on your website.
    Jim Faughn
    S/V Freedom a Gemini 105M

    Cruising News: I emailed previously that I had called Ft. Lauderdale Marine Police and they said they were in compliance with FL State Law. I am currently anchored in Lake Sylvia along with 8 other boats and everything is just fine except for the rain and front passing. It appears this should go back on the list of places you can anchor.
    Capt. Jim Faughn

  • Victory Against Sarasota’s 500 Foot Anchoring Regulation

    We are going to start this posting with GOOD NEWS! As you will see below, the Sarasota city attorney has recommended against prosecuting Captain William (Pete) Shaw. He was ticketed for anchoring within 500 feet of private property. To my own unlawlerly mind, and many others, this local Sarasota ordinance is in clear violation of the new Florida anchoring law. In spite of the Sarasota City Attorney’s careful language (see below), I think he’s saying the city would have lost if this case had gone to court.
    This is a small, but important victory for the cruising community in regards to Florida anchoring rights. While some may have preferred that the case went forward, very likely resulting in a favorable ruling for Captain Pete, the abandonment of pursuing this matter by the City Attorney, has to send some sort of message to other municipalities in Florida.
    I AM STILL WORKING ON A MAJOR ARTICLE/EDITORIAL ABOUT WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE NEW FLORIDA ANCHORING LAW VERSUS LOCAL REGULATONS. I hope to present this new story next week. In the meantime, let’s all rejoice that it’s now just a bit safer to drop the hook in Sarasota waters. THREE CHEERS FOR CAPTAIN PETE!!!!
    As was said above, the first sequence of notes you will read below define the abandonment of the case against Captain Peter. Farther dowin this ever lengthening string, you will discover older messages that define what happened in the first place.

    Dear Claiborne,
    Recent emails from the Sarasota City Attorney are below. The short story is that he is not going to prosecute the recently cited boater and may suspend enforcement for 30-45 days while he does more research. So I will again be pursuing the option of the city council rescinding their rule (as opposed to having it done in court) and will be meeting with the city attorney and council members later next week. My proposal will be to replace the 500 foot rule with a collection of general nuisance ordinances to quell the concerns of waterfront property owners.
    Helping to get to this point was an admiralty attorney, Joanne M. Foster from Guy Yudin & Foster in Stuart, who threatened a federal civil rights suit. They are the same firm that sued Stuart in the Vincent Sibilla anchoring case last year. Also, the phone call the city attorney received from the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association attorney, most likely prompted from the postings on Cruiser’s Net, was influential in swaying the city attorney’s position.
    Jeff Bole

    Thanks for your email and the constructive input/suggestions. I didn’t know if you had seen email correspondence below or not. If we suspend enforcement, which I’m prepared to recommend at this point, then I think everything is on the table. So even though I’m not recommending repeal at present, I consider the repeal or modification to be possible alternatives. I would like to meet with you and hear about your suggestions. It will have to be after Monday though. I will follow up with you by early next week at the latest with some possible times.
    Robert M. Fournier
    City Attorney
    City of Sarasota

    Commissioners, I am forwarding an email I sent to Chief Abbott today advising that I have decided to decline to prosecute Mr. Shaw for anchoring his vessel within 500 ft. of property used and zoned for residential purposes. Mr. Shaw was anchored for 3 days at 343 ft. from the shore line. I am planning to bring this up on Monday under remarks of Charter officials. You may recall that I discussed this ordinance and the so called 500 ft. rule in a memorandum that was transmitted to you via email dated January 13, 2010. I am still not prepared to recommend repeal of Sec. 10-52, but due to the high probability that the continued validity of the ordinance will be litigated at some point, I want to be certain that the City is in the best possible position before that happens.
    Robert M. Fournier
    City Attorney
    City of Sarasota

    I would like to thank everybody who helped get me through this situation. The support and kind comments, advise and hard work done by many people has this possible. Thanks especially to Jeff Bole, Ken Delacy and my attorney Joanne Foster. Also the NMMA,the Cruisers Net, and the Sarasota Herald Tribune. After paying the bills and working for a short spell to replenish the cruising fund, I will be headed toward the Bahamas after all! If we stay organized, the cities and counties won’t stand a chance if they choose to ignore the new anchoring rules the state has put into effect. (be aware that the city of Miami owns some submerged lands and they call the shots there) I hope to see some of you in paradise, if you see my catamaran, Mahina, come on over and we’ll chat, maybe have a beer or six.
    William Shaw

    Question- Why do Lions do what they do?
    Answer- Because they can!

    Question-Why is the Citys’ Attorney trying to do what he’s trying to do?
    Answer?- Because he can’t? Maybe he just thinks he’s a Lion? A real Lion would know the difference between service anchors and moorings!

    Older message below were authored and posted here on the Cruisers’ Net PRIOR TO the abandonment of the charges against Captain Pete.

    Subject: Sarasota Anchoring Ordinance Versus FL State Law
    Cruising News: For the last six months, I have been working with the city government of Sarasota, FL to try to get their 500 foot rule repealed. This city ordinance prohibits anchoring within 500 feet of a residence for more than twelve hours, which appears to be in violation of Florida Statute 327.60′s prohibition of local anchoring regulations as referenced in the BoatU.S. information sheet titled “Anchoring Information for Florida Cruisers”.
    I have opinions from an FWC attorney who indicates that Special Act 86-458 (the act that gave Sarasota the loophole to initially enact their law) is now obsolete since the special act simply defines a term that is no longer in the state statute that it references (327.60) and from Donald Day, the attorney that won the Marco Island v. Dumas case, who thinks that Sarasota\’s anchoring rule would not stand up in court.
    However, the Sarasota city attorney is holding firm in his stance that the Special Act is still valid and that Sarasota\’s ordinance does not defy state law. Without convincing him to change his opinion or a strong legal argument to counter his, I can not acquire enough votes from the city council to overturn their anchoring restriction.
    A January 12th memorandum from the city attorney to the city commissioners addressed the 500 foot rule. He thinks that, regardless of the actual language used, the intended effect of the special act still stands and that the 2009 general rule does not supersede the 1986 special rule since the general rule does not explicitly state that it does. My counter that, “As a participant in the drafting process of HB 1423, I know that the intended effect of the revision to 327.60 was to standardize anchoring regulations statewide by prohibiting local ordinances,” does not convince the city commission to vote against the opinion of their attorney.
    As cruising sailors are currently being cited for violation of Sarasota’s anchoring ordinance, I would appreciate any help that anyone may offer in
    countering the city attorney’s argument so that we can get this law off of the books as soon as possible.
    Thank you,
    Jeff Bole

    Subject: Fla anchoring citation
    Cruising News: On jan. 10 I was issued a “complaint” form the Sarasota marine police for violation of city ordinance 10-52, for anchoring within 500 feet of a waterfront property. I called the telephone # printed on the back of the complaint and was promptly connected to the “Yuppy Puppy” pet salon. After calling around a bit, trying to find the penalty for this , I was connected to the clerk of court, who had no information as to the penalty involved. I intend to challenge the ordinance in court, as it should have been eliminated by the new anchoring law passed by Fla. and in effect since Oct 1, 2009. Iwas staying in the Plymouth Harbor anchorage near lido key and was 352 ft. away from the nearest home. I could use any legal advise or other assistance anyone could give me to overturn this ordinance. My court date is feb 1, which puts a cruise to the Bahamas I was planning on hold until this is cleared up. Anyone who wants to contact me can e mail me at thanks.
    William Shaw

    I believe that in the [SSECN] archives there is history of a similar case in Stuart a year or so ago, the defendants pro bono lawyer won an out of court settlement based on the facts that the ordinance enforcement violated the defendants civil rights, I believe the City had to pay up. Worth researching.
    Dernnis McMurtry

    Have either of you contacted the State Attorney’s Office yet? This would be the first place I would go, and request an opinion from him.

    I was thinking about this today as I cruised south towards ground zero – Ft. Lauderdale – and thought – we’ve had love-ins, sleep-ins, laugh-ins and sit-ins. Maybe it’s about time we all got together in one location, like Ft. Lauderdale, and had an anchor-in – and fought for our rights as a group, together by demanding the FL police issue each and every one of us a ticket.
    The publicity alone, which would be national, would cause the municipalities to rethink what they are doing and force the state to act to enforce its own laws.
    Wally Moran

    Sarasota is an extremely desirable place. Look at marina jacks, it gets crazy with 100’s of boats… but i would think they have every right to be there.
    Name not provided

    Assuming one day soon Sarasota’s 500′ rule is found to be in violation with the new State anchoring laws and done away with how may this effect the proposed mooring field? This may seem like a big assumption, but one FWC attorney and the prevailing attorney in the Marco Isl. case have both stated Sarasota’s 500′ rule is currently unenforceable. Well one could guess that if a mooring field is installed in the protected waters of the current harbor those not wishing to patronize it will seek protected waters elsewhere. That could very likely lead to many boats moving back to the Otter Key / Plymouth Harbor area which is what caused Sarasota to seek the 500′ rule back in the 1980′s. I would suggest the City abandon the proposed MF if they do not want this to happen once their 500′ rule is dissolved.

    That makes a lot of sense, which is probably why it won’t happen. In case anyone in this group hasn’t heard yet, I’m the guy who got the ticket and I believe I have a good chance of overturning the ordinance. The reason I anchor on the west side of the bay is the calmer water and the fact that the city have placed so many parking restrictions at Island park, I actually have more available parking over on lido key! Why don’t they just make Island Park the easiest place for boaters to anchor and land their dinghies (no fees) and then everybody will anchor there.

  • Eye Opening Video of the Debate in the Florida Senate Concerning the “Margolis Amendment”

    By now, just about everyone who has visited the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net within the last 24 hours knows that an effort was mounted in the Florida State Senate yesterday by Senator Margolis from Miami, that would have allowed Broward and Dade counties to pretty much institute any local anchorage regulations they wished. That amendment was withdrawn, BUT there is a new effort TODAY (4/23/14) to attach the same amendment to a Florida House bill. For more on this, please see

    Courtesy of the Seven Seas Cruising Association’s “Concerned Cruisers Committee” we can present to you a video of the debate which took place in the Florida State Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday. THIS IS VERY REVEALING, particularly when Senator Margolis states that “we certainly don’t want to hear from the public,” or words to that effect.

    To make this work, without having to watch the entire 8 hours worth of video, you must follow this procedure.

    First, go to:

    When the page opens, there will be a video window on the left side of the page. Click the play arrow. Let the video begin, and then hover your pointer near the bottom of the video window. A slide will appear. You will need to keep sliding this slider button to the right, until you reach the 462.30 minute mark. The debate concerning the “Margolis Amendment” is shown between time reference 462.30 and 469.5.

    It’s not often that members of the cruising community can actually see their “enemy” in regards to Florida anchoring rights, but this is an exception. We urge all cruisers to take advantage of this opportunity. And, oh yes, PLEASE let us know what you think, by using the “Comment” function below!

    I believe it is also important to recognize Davis Childs (NMMA rep.) and Bonnie Basham (Boat US rep.) both were there and both had cards in to speak if necessary.
    R, Phil

    I agree totally with Captain Phil’s comment above. Both NMMA and Boat/US have been invaluable and responded at light speed to this “out of the blue” situation! So, THANKS Bonnie Basham and Davis Childs!

  • FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission) Proposes Three Year Extension of the Pilot Mooring Field Program

    Just before Christmas, we received a telephone call from a fellow cruiser, reporting that the FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission) was going to propose a three year extension of the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. There was not time to verify this data before the Holiday, but then, over Christmas, Captain Michael Connelly forwarded the “Florida Keysnoter” ( story below (see red text), which confirms the FWC’s action.
    The entire issue of Florida anchoring rights and Florida mooring fields has become a fast moving, and much discussed issue here on the SSECN. First, we presented a very frank discussion about the desirability of having mooring fields at all (see, and then comes the bombshell that ALL Florida anchoring and mooring field regulations are being challenged in US Federal court (see! Now, here comes the FWC proposing a three year extension of the Pilot Program.
    It’s becoming a full time job just to keep up with this dynamic situation. The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net promises to do all in our power to keep the cruising community fully informed on all the latest developments in the struggle for Florida anchoring rights. HOWEVER, we need the help of fellow cruisers, like yourself and Captain Connelly. WHENEVER YOU GET WIND OF ANY LATE BREAKING DEVELOPMENTS, PLEASE SHOOT THAT INFO TO THE SSECN AT THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE MOMENT!

    New managed anchoring areas in the Florida Keys could have a short life span.
    A statewide pilot program that allowed creation of the new areas expires in July unless the Florida Legislature acts this spring.
    In October 2012, Monroe County commissioners gave final approval to the managed anchoring zones, or narrow no-anchoring buffer zones around existing mooring fields, in Marathon’s Boot Key Harbor, and in Lower Keys waters of Boca Chica Basin, Key West Harbor and Cow Key Channel.
    Over the past year, the areas went into effect as boundaries were marked by signs, and informational brochures were distributed to boaters and local marinas. A system of providing free but mandatory sewage pumpouts once a month was instituted.
    “Things are in place and going well,” Rich Jones, Monroe County’s senior administrator of Marine Resources, said this week.
    “We have not had a lot of feedback” from boaters using the areas, Jones said, “other than everybody likes the free pumpouts.”
    Information on how many boats are using the managed areas was not available at press time.
    The Legislature passed the 2009 law allowing the pilot program in five specific areas, including the Keys. The legislation specifies that the special rules will sunset on July 1 unless extended.
    It took time for local jurisdictions to craft their plans and rules, then have them approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Monroe County’s pilot program also needed the endorsement of city officials in Marathon and Key West.
    A slate of requests from the FWC board to state legislators for this spring’s session is expected to include a recommendation that the pilot anchoring program be extended until 2017.
    The Keys zones primarily were created to eliminate the illegal dumping of sewage from anchored boats, and identify boats at risk of sinking and becoming derelict.
    “Florida Keys waters have historically been used for living aboard and storage of vessels at anchor,” says the county’s managed-area information. “The water-related Keys lifestyle is a traditional part of the Keys culture. However, in recent years irresponsible boating practices, associated with proliferation of unmanaged anchorages, have created environmental impacts that have become a growing public concern.”
    As it stands, the Monroe County anchorages would remain if the Florida Legislature extends the pilot program. However, Monroe County commissioners could end the local program on their own by changing the local law creating them.

    As of 1/6/14, the “Keynoter” has published a follow-up story on this issue at:

    It’s WELL WORTH READING. PLEASE follow the link above!

    I view FWC’s latest announcement as a positive move. The state of Florida is continuing to hold municipalities accountable until a formal process for establishing anchorages and mooring fields is put in place. By doing this FWC (the state of Florida) prevents the Wild West of anchoring rules which are dreamed up by any town, county or city who wishes to displace or control boaters. If ultimately there is a permanent Florida state statute which has similar checks and balances in place as the current temporary statute, I believe the boating public at large will be equally well served.
    Philip Johnson

    Anyone who thinks the FWC has nothing better to do than harass local live a boards, has no idea of what’s going on. Every thing they are trying to enforce only promotes the conservation of our beautiful community. Follow the rules when you are in our backyard and you will find the harassment non existent.
    Today alone between noon and two o’clock FWC resecued a lost diver, responded to a reported square grouper, and investigated a migrant insertion vessel off of boot key.
    Joe Bauman

    I’m sorry to say, but I know of some experienced cruisers that are staying away from these communities with managed mooring fields and anti-anchoring regulations. The derelicts have not gone away, just moved elsewhere. So the only people impacted by these laws are the responsible transient boaters like myself who prefer to use our thousands of dollars of anchoring gear for something other than bow jewelry. And, these communities that think they will now reap the rewards of forcing boaters to pick up pay moorings are paying for all this with their taxes as the fees do not cover the costs of building, running, and maintaining the fields.
    John Kettlewell

  • Incredibly Generous Offer From SSECN Sponsor Key Lime Sailing Club to Support Mooring Field Challange in Federal Court

    Key Lime Sailing Club in Key Largo, 305-451-3438, www.keylimesailingclub.comIn response to a number of SSECN articles and editorials concerning the abuse of anchoring rights by official Florida mooring fields and in support of a lawsuit currently in Federal Court, SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Key Lime Sailing Club, is offering all cruisers up to a $100 credit at their facility, if you will contribute the same amount towards the legal expenses of the Federal court challenge to the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. All donations should be sent to Key Lime Sailing Club in Key Largo, FL (see below), NOT to SSECN. For more on the Federal Court challenge, go to

    If you would like to donate $100 or more to this legal fight and get full credit of $100 toward a Vacation in the Tropical Florida Keys, that includes a cottage and a 22′ sailboat send a check to Key Lime Sailing Club & Cottages 101425 Overseas HWY #922 Key Largo Florida 33037 and in the memo put Anchoring Rights Fight. I will forward the funds raised and credit each Person back $100 to a future stay at Key Lime Sailing club & Cottages. Note: Credit is Limited to $100 but Please send more if you can. Lets keep our waters Free for us to “Roam about”.

  • Florida Pilot Mooring Fields Program Being Challenged in US Federal Court

    Port of Call, St. Augustine This story is potentially one of the most important ever published on the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net in regards to anchoring on Floridian waters. It has the potential to change EVERYTHING! That may not happen, but there is some reason to believe it might.
    This news begins with a challenge in US Federal court to St. Augustine, Florida’s anchoring and mooring policies, as set forth under the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. However, this entire matter actually goes far deeper than a challenge to the Mooring Fields Program. In fact, it is a challenge to the rights of any state, county or local government to regulate anchorage on “navigable waters” in any way, shape or form. As I understand Captain MacDougall’s argument, only the US Federal government has this authority, and this right is guaranteed by Federal law and at least hinted at in the US Constitution!
    Going back to the 1990′s, and the old, now long defunct, “Coalition of Concerned Boaters,” many have said, including attorneys within this old group, that the real key was to challenge ALL Florida state and local anchorage regulations in Federal court. The problem was that no-one has had both the will and/or financial resources to undertake such a challenge, AT LEAST UNTIL NOW!
    All that has changed, with the Federal suit brought against the city of St. Augustine by Captain Michael “Wolfy” MacDougall. By following the link below to a well written story in the “St. Augustine Record,” you can find out much, much more about this still unfolding drama.
    And, before giving you this link, let me just note that one of the SSECN’s newest SPONSORS, Port of Call, St. Augustine ( is also heavily involved in trying to have all Florida anchoring regulations negated via Federal authority. You can read more from Port of Call St. Augustine concerning this issue at:

    And, to peruse the HIGHLY RECOMMENDED article in the “St. Augustine Record,” please follow this link:

    As we’ve said above, this is VERY INTERESTING news, no matter which side of the Florida anchoring rights debate you occupy. We would like to hear what YOU, the members of the cruising community, think about this US Federal court case. Please make use of the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, or send e-mail directly to

    I’d like to remark on this article, since I was quoted in it and now having read it and the comments accompanying it, can add the following:
    Had the Pilot Program’s actual intent been as stated, a lot more cruisers such as myself would have supported it. However, its clear intention was to move boaters from areas where they have historically anchored if such activity bothered wealthy homeowners.
    Another of its unspoken goals was to generate income where none was before, by ‘monetizing’ the act of anchoring. Unfortunately, and this can be born out by the experiences of the largest mooring field in Florida, Marathon, anchoring fields do not pay – they cost the municipality. That has been a long established fact. Marathon has sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into its mooring field, all taxpayer – not boater – funded.
    But the main goal for most municipalities was to get rid of their derelicts – people with drug and substance abuse problems, mental issues, or simply poverty. Such lovely folks you are – instead of choosing to help these folks, who truly need it, you just shoo them on to the next jurisdiction. Proud of yourselves I trust?
    However, you’ve also lumped myself and thousands of other cruisers in with your social welfare problem, by laying the same rules on us. The fact is, even the FWC noted that the real problem with derelicts was as I’ve just noted – poverty, substance abuse, etc.
    I’m so sorry that so many people in Florida cannot see the difference.
    Wally Moran

    I sailed in the Navy then the Merchant Marine for over 30 yrs. I learn 2 to sail a sailboat! Now that so much attention has come to our sport and lifestyle because of a small percentage of nasty kooks, I am at a loss as to how I’m supposed to perceive myself! Thanks Capt Wally, we will be seeing you around!Merry Christmas!
    Captain Jerry Robbins

    I agree with all above and would like to add that the Fwcs list of goals for their pilot program includes “Promote Public access to waters of the state” so how does limiting anchoring in some areas do this, it seems contradictory. I am sorry but derelict boats will always be a problem in our society. Just because someone abandons or wrecks a car on the side of the road or throw trash we do not prohibit cars from driving on the road do we. Our waterways need the Fwc to start looking at the real dangers to the Waterways of this state, pollution from agriculture including golf courses. We need to regulate runoff from land based sources. I have already spent close to 1000 dollars retrofitting my small sailboat for a legal holding tank system while I sit in my townhome in Broward County and watch all the chemicals sprayed on the golf course behind me end up draining into a canal that goes out to sea. Wake up Fwc and start doing something about this.
    Dave C

    Thank you Captain Wolfey. I will be sending a donation for your court costs and encourage others to do so. There are laws to deal with derelict vessels and the money is there. Its just a matter of priorities. I feel its really scary when the people who are supposed to be enforcing laws are involved this deeply in creating the legislation,ie.. FWC especially when theyre breaking higher laws. Who are the real criminals?
    Steve Roth

    Compliments of the Season to you also Claiborne.
    All these regulations we cruising people have to put up with are mainly on behalf of marinas trying to fill their slips in a poor economy – and towns trying to get income to augment their budgets. The net result is a far lower number of cruising boats on the water than was the case some 6 years ago.
    Many owners are trying to sell their boats – though only if prepared to accept low offers. Others have decided best not to cruise and save the money for whatever else might be coming down the pike. And still others are sick and tired of being boarded by all kinds of agencies trying to find a reason to give us a ticket. The irony is that many marinas today are finding it hard to make a living let alone a profit. They should be REDUCING their prices not increasing .
    Glad you have added charts etc for the St Johns River. You might recall that I am the person who first built Green Cove Springs Marina – which I sold out my ownership some 20 odd years ago under precisely similar conditions – that is a Recession which always badly hits anything to do with boats. We also had to deal with Environmental Agencies which at times was a nightmare.
    Now that too is much worse – very difficult for a marina to expand or even make improvements – always some official from some agency holding up approval etc.
    Oh well – we are possibly a dying breed – at least until the American economy improves.
    Best wishes to you

    If you would like to donate $100 or more to this legal fight and get full credit of $100 toward a Vacation in the Tropical Florida Keys, that includes a cottage and a 22′ sailboat send a check to Key Lime sailing club & Cottages 101425 Overseas HWY #922 Key Largo Florida 33037 and in the memo put Anchoring Rights Fight. I will forward the funds raised and credit each Person back $100 to a future stay at Key Lime Sailing club & Cottages. Note: Credit is Limited to $100 but Please send more if you can. Lets keep our waters Free for us to “Roam about”.
    Paul, Key Lime Sailing Club

    It is a shame that the promoters of this anti-anchoring law ignore the actual words written into the law that say it must promote access to the waters of the state. Outlawing people from anchoring in places they have always anchored does not promote access. And, as Wally points out, the derelicts have not disappeared–just been forced elsewhere, which in some cases I suspect is ashore in the same community but now sleeping on park benches and in shelters. And too it is interesting how certain well-connected political interests have benefited from the injection of public tax dollars to create mooring facilities that then create private profits. The cost of installing a Florida mooring field is many times what it costs in other parts of the country, and then the revenues almost never cover the long-term costs. The taxpayer pays again. Meanwhile, cruisers head elsewhere.
    John Kettlewell

  • Report from Mooring Field at Marina Jacks, Sarasota, FL, Statute Mile 73

    Marina Jacks - Click for Chartview

    Marina Operations/Marina Jacks abuts the east-northeastern shores, to the northeast of red unlighted daybeacon #8A in Sarasota Bay, in the heart of downtown Sarasota, Florida.
    The mooring field, which is the subject of Captain Power’s report below, has been controversial, first, because it displaced a very popular anchorage, and secondly, some claim its cost benefit ratio to the city of Sarasota is very much a negative concept. On the other hand, there was a legitimate problem with abandoned and derelict vessels in the old anchorage.
    Sarasota IS one of the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program sites, so the regulations surrounding their mooring field are legal, at least according to Florida state law. Federal law is another matter entirely, but that’s another discussion for another day!

    After much controversy in Sarasota, Marina Jacks opened its mooring ball field about a year ago. We recently used the field. The marina management, staff, and facilities are first rate. It is located right downtown with numerous restaurants nearby and a Whole Foods within easy walking distance. The only drawback is that out of the 35 balls, only 3 are set aside for transients. They do take reservations but you will have to move on if your ball is reserved before you want to leave. The daily rate is $20. You can still anchor outside of the field boundaries but it is a lengthy ride to the dinghy dock.
    David S. Power
    s/v Two If By Sea

    The City of Sarasota just approved doubling the number of moorings. The article didn’t mention how many would be for visitors.
    Dawn Moore

    The REAL violation is that this entire program is a violation of the right of cruisers to anchor, as provided for in federal regulations. Every single cruiser who uses the balls in Florida’s mooring fields helps to justify this move by the state of Florida on behalf of well heeled waterfront property owners, leading ultimately to a total loss of our anchoring rights.
    Sure, it doesn’t seem to mean much to take a ball, but when you support this sort of thing, you empower the bureaucrats who seek to remove our rights.
    Think on that the next time anchoring outside the mooring field seems a bit too far for you.
    Wally Moran

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Marina Operations/Marina Jacks

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Marina Operations/Marina Jacks

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