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The Salty Southeast
Cruisers' Net
Cruisers Helping Cruisers
  • Key West Anchoring WILL Be Allowed Around Christmas Tree (Wisteria) Island and West of Fleming Key

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

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

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

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

    And, more input from Captain RMW:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • VERY IMPORTANT – New Florida Keys Anchoring Regulations Approved

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

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

  • VERY IMPORTANT – Florida Keys Anchoring Regulations Approved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) Offical Press Release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • GREAT Anchoring Tale

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Arthur Richard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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

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