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    • Update on Bayboro Harbor in Proposed St. Petersburg Anchoring Regulations

      Bayboro Harbor - Click for Chartview

      Here’s a quick but important word about the anchorage regulations proposed by the city of St. Petersburg, in regards to this community’s participation in the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program.

      Re the anchoring restrictions: The comment period for the St Petersburg ordinance ended on March 18, but all should know that if adopted as proposed there will be no anchoring in the various basins except for a limited area in Bayboro Harbor, west of the entrance to the Harborage Marina.
      Chuck Waygood Sr

      March 8, 2013
      Bayborough is also off limits. I was just there and can buoys proclaim the area is a construction area and vessels will be removed. Cruisers are not welcome here. I’m not spending one red cent in st pete.
      Steve Roth

      There are countless boater friendly spots in Pinellas county and Tampa. Boaters have no need to run the St. Pete anchoring gambit. Vote with your wallet.
      Glenn Parker

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Bayboro Harbor

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    • Controversial Martin County (Stuart, Florida) Anchorage Restrictions Approved by the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife (FWC)

      On Wednesday, December 5, 2012, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission approved, with several modifications (see below), the proposed anchorage regulations for Martin County and Stuart, Florida. This is one of the five sites previously approved to take part in the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. As any of you familiar with this long, drawn-out process already know, the approved sites are given the right to regulate anchorage in their waters, IF AND ONLY IF THE REGULATIONS ARE APPROVED BY THE FWC!
      It is not stretching the truth at all to report that this particular set of regulations is the most controversial of the five sites participating in the pilot program, with the possible exception of St. Augustine’s 30-day anchoring limit, which was ultimately shot down by the FWC. The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net has published several previous articles on the proposed Martin County regulations (see /?p=100456).
      Now, with some FORTUNATE modification inserted by the FWC, these regulations have been approved, and will almost certainly go into effect shortly. ALL CRUISERS WHO EVER PLAN ON ANCHORING IN THE STUART, JENSEN BEACH REGION WILL WANT TO READ THE TEXT BELOW, AND LEARN ALL THERE IS TO KNOW! (See, I was a poet, and you did not know it!).
      First, let’s hear from our “man on the scene in Stuart, Florida, maritime attorney Captain Ted Guy:

      Basically, the City of Stuart is banning anchoring within 150 ft of the existing mooring field and other “marine infrastructure” (docks, seawalls, etc.) throughout the city limits (that provision is probably reasonable) and will require anchored cruisers in the City Limits to demonstrate navigable mobility of their boats and pumpout receipts every ten days.
      In the Manatee Pocket, anchoring will only be allowed in the charted small anchoring triangles (see the third map I sent you in October with the draft ordinance). The ordinance does not provide the exemption for live-aboards provided by Florida Statutes, an obvious legal omission.
      W.E. “Ted” Guy, Jr.

      And, here is the official press release from the FWC:

      Meeting Wednesday in Apalachicola, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved, with contingencies, the city of Stuart/Martin 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. Two meetings were held in Martin County on the topic.
      Rather than writing an ordinance that was countywide, city of Stuart/Martin County participants established four areas in the county in which the ordinance would be effective. They selected one in the Indian River, two in the St. Lucie River, and one in the area referred to as Manatee Pocket in Stuart.
      In the St. Lucie and Indian River locations, the ordinance prohibits anchoring and mooring within 300 feet of the mooring field and other maritime infrastructure. In the Manatee Pocket location, the prohibition applies to the whole area except within provided anchoring areas.
      `There is a ‘˜safe harbor’ exception in all areas for vessels anchored temporarily due to severe weather or mechanical issues,’ Daugherty said.
      For vessels that have been anchored in any of the areas for 10 consecutive days, the ordinance requires vessel operators to document that they can successfully navigate under their own power by visiting designated locations. After that first documentation of operability, they must also demonstrate compliance every six months.
      `This will ensure that boats can operate safely and will also deter abandoned or derelict vessels,’ Daugherty said. `This protects the marine environment and keeps waterways safe for all to use.’
      A final part of the ordinance is a requirement to demonstrate compliance with marine sanitation laws by providing proof that marine sanitation devices have been pumped out within the 10 previous days.
      Commissioners discussed the ordinance, asked questions and heard public comment, ultimately approving it with a few contingencies, including reducing the buffer distances in the St. Lucie River areas to 150 feet while still restricting anchoring between the Stuart mooring field and eastern shoreline. Commissioners also required the removal of the Indian River location until the associated mooring field is constructed.
      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.
      The ordinances for St. Augustine, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Monroe County have already been approved.
      For more information on the anchoring and mooring pilot program, visit or call 850-488-5600.

      Thanks to Mr. Guy and all the others that commented it appears the approved regulations are much more reasonable than the original proposal. However, as usual, the law is poorly written. For example, if one arrives, then anchors for 10 days, haven’t you already demonstrated that you can navigate your vessel? How else would you get there? If you sail away for a week and then return for another 10 days do you have to once again demonstrate you can navigate by going to a designated location? Do these laws also apply to boats on moorings? If not, why not? Also, how can one provide proof of pumpout if you don’t pumpout’“using a composting or incinerating system, or a porta pottie? This just further adds confusion to the hodge-podge of anti-anchoring ordinances in Florida that most boaters will be completely unaware of.
      John Kettlewell

      We have a 75 gallon holding tank. If we pump it every ten days, to get our money’s worth we are going to have to invite many, many guests aboard to take a’¦

      My inclination is to plan on sailing through those areas, i.e. stop before & after; there are enough challenges without jumping through hoops and being hasselled. Current state law allows recovery of costs for ‘˜derelict’ vessels which go down or threaten safety of others from the registered owners. my 2c.
      David Hendry

      How will boats with composting heads comply with the proof of pump out requirement?
      Dick Mills

      Some composting toilets are classified as `portable’ just like a porta potty. Because they don’t have holding tanks, they are exempt from such regulations. Believe it or not, the USCG prefers portable systems if it is possible and reasonable to use. Portable systems are much more difficult to discharge illegally because to discharge them you have to be conspicuous. You can’t simply go below and open a valve out of sight. Additionally, with a portable composting toilet, there is no urgency to empty the collection container and therefore no need to break the law.
      Sandy Graves

      Hard to demonstrate pump-out when the Martin County pump-out boat doesn’t show up.
      H Mason

      Being the only person aboard my boat with a 50 gal. holding tank, I only need a pump out twice a month, at the most. I last pumped out at Stuart Loggerhead Marina when I fueled and the receipt had no mention of a pump out. I keep a pump out logbook. If a logbook is sufficient for the FAA , why not for Martin County?
      Don Neville

      We are planning a cruise south from the Chesapeake Bay through Florida this winter (2013). How can we find out where we can or cannot anchor in the Boater Friendly State of Florida. Thanks
      Raymond W. Smith, Fire Dog

      I guess Stuart will just have to served notice of intent to suit for violation of civil rights afet the first ticket is issued to a composting boat, interesting politicians in that area, dumb would be a compliment.
      Dennis McMurtry

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    • Stuart/Martin County Proposed Anchorage Regulations Are A Disaster

      Fiasco in Stuart, Florida/Martin County
      An Article/Editorial
      Claiborne S. Young
      Editorial Director
      Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net

      Back in 2009, when intense negotiations were underway to help pass the new Florida Anchoring Law, it was with more than a little trepidation that the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net, Boat/US, the Florida MIA, and the SSCA, reluctantly agreed to support a compromise proposal for a Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program, IN RETURN FOR COOPERATION FROM THE FLORIDA LEAGUE OF COUNTIES AND MUNICIPALITIES TO INCLUDE CRUISER FRIENDLY LANGUAGE IN THE BILL, in particular, modifying the definition of “live-aboard vessels.”
      The primary reason for all this nervousness was a deep suspicion that some communities/counties that were approved as one of the pilot mooring field sites, might try and use this program to run off anchored cruisers almost entirely.
      Fortunately, that has largely not happened, but, then again, that’s probably due more to hard work by Boat/US, BARR (Boater’s Anchoring Rights and Responsibilities) and the Cruisers’ Net (among others), rather than any far seeing, cruiser friendly planning on the part of the communities involved in the program.
      Well, I guess there had to be at least one really bad apple in this proverbial barrel, and that entity is Stuart, Florida and surrounding Martin County.
      Their proposed anchorage regulations, which have twice been rejected by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), would basically outlaw anchoring everywhere in Stuart, and the surrounding waters of the St. Lucie and Indian Rivers, except for a small plot in Manatee Pocket, which is, by the way, is not within easy striking distance of all the businesses and dining attractions in downtown Stuart (though there is a West Marina and another set of restaurants within dinghy distance of the Manatee Pocket proposed anchorage).
      On top of all this, these proposed regulations are Draconian in their penalties, and are so complex as to allow almost unlimited interpretation by local/county officials and law enforcement officers!

      Opposition (or any other sort) comments can be registered at:

      You can read the LENGTHY proposal in its entirely at:

      Maps of the Anchoring Ordinance can be found at:

      Also, may we URGE you to take the time to read the comments from fellow cruisers below. Captain Ted Guy is the former president of the Treasure Coast Marine Industries Association, and a Stuart based attorney who perhaps knows more about the Florida anchoring issue than anyone else in the Sunshine State. Ms. Virginia P. Sherlock is a cruiser and attorney based in Stuart, and, of course, Captain Charmine Smith Ladd is a special reporter for the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net, and the founder of BARR (Boater’s Anchoring Rights and Responsibilites).

      This is one of the biggest power grab boondoggles I’ve seen in Stuart for a long time. Read it, download the maps, and imagine how it’s trying to encompass Live-Aboards (specifically exempted by the authorizing statute Sec. 327.4105 F.S.) and all vessels.
      I think the FWCC is more or less on our side in this. Twice they have rejected the ordinance for hearing, but the County and City have not cleaned it up to conform to the law.
      W.E. “Ted” Guy, Jr.

      Claiborne: Here is the FWCC’s summary:

      It would affect cruisers staying in Martin County or the City of Stuart waters for ten days or more. It uses the word “vessel” repeatedly without pointing out that live-aboards are exempt under the authorizing statute, sec. 327.4105 F.S.
      It covers all waters in the City Limits and some County waters West of the City, waters off Jensen Beach within 1,000 ft of the shore, and the Manatee Pocket, ie: all the favorite, desirable waters for anchoring in our county and city.
      In effect, it would force cruisers to rent moorings in the City mooring Field and the proposed and permitted Jensen Beach mooring field, or anchor in very small areas of the Pocket. The ordinance is over broad, overly complex, vague, and much more broad than the authorizing statute ever contemplated.
      Our County Commission passed it in response to complaints by waterfront property owners who don’t like to see boats anchored near their homes.
      Public comments are due at FWCC by Nov. 5th; then about the ninth they will publish a summary of comments and the staff recommendation. FWCC will vote it up or down next spring.
      W.E. “Ted” Guy, Jr.

      Public Comment on proposed Stuart/Martin County Anchoring and Mooring Ordinance
      The proposed ordinance raises serious concerns that must be addressed by FFWCC before approving the draft, including
      (1) Over-reaching and over-broad regulations that go far beyond the intent of the pilot program;
      (2) Complex and difficult to follow language that makes the ordinance hard to understand and, therefore, extremely difficult to comply with;
      (3) Overly harsh penalties, making it a crime that can result in incarceration for failure to comply with what is an extremely convoluted ordinance enacted as part of a two-year experimental program; and
      (4) Reducing access to navigable waters by failing to provide alternatives to the boating public.
      The revised draft of the proposed ordinance has not addressed the critical issue of over-reaching by the local jurisdictions which appear intent on prohibiting anchoring or mooring in waters of the state throughout Martin County.
      Of the three pilot program areas ‘“ part of the St. Lucie River within the City of Stuart and Martin County, part of the Indian River in the Jensen Beach area, and the Manatee Pocket ‘“ only one area has an existing operational mooring field (the City of Stuart).
      The ordinance does not require an operational mooring field to be available but rather prohibits anchoring and mooring in an area where a mooring field has been issued permits but has not been constructed and is not likely to be constructed before the pilot program ends (since there is widespread public objection to the project and no dedicated funding source).
      This allows the County to prohibit anchoring and mooring in an area where there is no alternative for local recreational boaters, fishermen or cruising vessels.
      There is no justification for prohibiting anchoring or mooring within 1,000 feet of the western shoreline of the Indian River Lagoon. In local discussions, residents have been unable to determine exactly where the 1,000-foot boundary is. How can boaters traveling through the area figure out where the regulated area is when locals can’t identify the boundaries? This is especially troublesome since there’s no existing mooring field within the pilot program area.
      Even the 300-foot boundary set out for the City of Stuart pilot program area and the Manatee Pocket area are excessive and confusing. Since there is no existing mooring field in the Manatee Pocket area, the ordinance requires a mooring permit issued by the Department of Environmental Protection or restricts anchoring and mooring to two defined `anchor areas’.
      The proposed ordinance clearly has gone far afield of the intent of the pilot program to promote establishment and use of public mooring fields and promote public access to waters of the state. The ordinance is designed to limit public access, even criminalizing non-compliance, which may have a chilling effect on boaters and even day fishermen who may be caught in the extremely wide net of these proposed regulations.
      The proposed ordinance also is counter to the statutory pilot program’s intent in that it appears to apply to live-aboard as well as non-live-aboard vessels. The Legislature established the pilot program `to explore potential options for regulating the anchoring or mooring of non-live-aboard vessels outside the marked boundaries of public mooring fields.’ Section 327.4105, F.S. The law provides that `a county or municipality selected for participation in the pilot program may regulate by ordinance the anchoring of vessels, other than live-aboard vessels . . . outside of a mooring field.’
      The Stuart/Martin County proposal appears to apply to live-aboards, using the pilot program as a means of prohibiting live-aboard vessels throughout the pilot program areas. The proposed ordinance does not meet the intent of the pilot program to regulate anchoring or mooring of non-live-aboard vessels.
      The proposed ordinance is convoluted, establishing different regulations for the three separate pilot program areas, and extremely difficult to understand. The revised version of the proposed ordinance has not addressed concerns that were previously raised, such as providing criminal penalties in an experimental, short-lived ordinance that is clearly going to be subject to revision if the pilot program is renewed. A pilot program is, by definition, a `test program’ that should not include criminal penalties at this early stage when those who must comply with it are still trying to figure out the rules.
      Some of the regulations set out in the ordinance appear to conflict with the mooring field operational plan that was previously adopted by Martin County and repeals anchoring restrictions within the Manatee Pocket which have been in place nearly 40 years.
      While the City of Stuart qualified for inclusion in the pilot program by virtue of its operating mooring field, Martin County should not have been included in the program and has not made allowances for its failure to provide viable alternatives to recreational, sports, and cruising boaters and to avoid severe limitations on access to public waterways by drafting a proposed ordinance which contains ambiguous language and overly broad definitions and lacks any foundation in research or studies to support arbitrary distance restrictions.
      The FFWCC should reject the Stuart/Martin County proposed ordinance as drafted.
      Virginia P. Sherlock

      Just received the public comment from Virginia Sherlock on behalf of those she is representing in Jensen Beach (see below). I agree wholeheartedly with her objections. Please consider this correspondence on behalf of all the members of Mariners Barr as being in agreement with her stance that the Stuart/Martin County proposal should be rejected. We here at Mariners Barr feel that Stuart/Martin County’s proposed ordinance is so blatantly uncooperative as far as meeting the objectives of the Pilot Program, that they should be removed as a participant from the Program altogether.
      As we all are fully aware, there are many many problems with the ordinance as it is written. Stuart/Martin County is well aware also. We have gone through this process so many times without any real effort on the part of Stuart/Martin County to address those problems, I feel strongly they are wasting our time and yours.
      The bottom line is that Stuart/Martin County has made no real effort to participate. They have made no real effort to address the issues the public and your Office has raised during this entire process. Their persistence in demanding excessive setbacks that have no basis for benefiting the public appear to be tailored for the purposes of prohibiting public access rather than promoting it. Their zeal for criminal penalties is quite disturbing. So much so that there is not a doubt in my mind that if given the opportunity, Stuart/Martin County would enact harsher penalties as soon as it is legal to do so (or even if not quite legal). Their disdain for boaters and cruisers is apparent. It is our stand that, given their history, Stuart/Martin County would more than likely overreach in the enforcement of any ordinances enacted and use them to harass and discriminate against the very public for which the Pilot Program has stated it would promote access.
      Removing Stuart/Martin County from further participation in Florida’s Anchoring & Mooring Pilot Program is the right thing to do.
      Respectfully submitted,
      Charmaine Smith Ladd
      Executive Director, Mariners Barr

      when the municipalities and Cities realize where the power out !! specially the last sentance
      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.}
      Let them have their way, then sue the ******** and do not settle, money talks,,bs walks ..
      Dennis Mcmurtry

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    • 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

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    • 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.

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    • Interesting Strategy When Your Vessel Is Being Boarded by Law Enforcement Personnel

      Captain Robert Lucas, aboard S/V Aquitaine, has sent us a very interesting idea about a strategy that cruisers might employ when their vessel is boarded by Law Enforcement. The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net neither endorses nor takes issue with the strategy set out by Captain Lucas. All we will say is that it’s certainly interesting!
      I’m linking to the full article below, as it is lengthy.

      I tried this and it worked.
      Took about fifteen minutes of discussion, but the officer, after making three phone calls, said he was not authorized to sign any document. He wished me a “good day” and left.
      Captain Robert Lucas
      S/V Aquitaine
      Bradenton, FL

      Click Here To Learn about Captain Lucas’ Novel Approach to Being Boarded

      BRAVO! and bravo again! I always wondered just which bureaucrat or politician gave up our Fourth Amendment rights regarding unreasonable search. My guess is that printers are humming already (if you’ve got one aboard). I hope we can find some more results of this tactic!
      Capt Mike
      S/V Blue Skye

      Captain Lucas:
      In checking the regs, I found:
      Coast Guard may go aboard any United States vessel at any time, anywhere to conduct a documentation and safety inspection.
      A search of a U.S. vessel beyond this type of inspection is subject to limitations under the United States Constitution. If a search extends beyond this narrowly defined scope, a court may be asked to evaluate the legality of the search by balancing the individual’s right to privacy in the specific circumstances of the search against society’s interest in detecting criminal conduct.
      Captain Whitney

      Cpt. Lucas does not state which authority he is re. to’¦
      USCG, FMP, county?? Presumably it’s th CG but’¦ I am reasonably sure that Cpt. Whitney is correct in his assessment. Still, just the novelty of being presented with such a doc. might cause enough confusion w/ officer on the scene and higher-ups to make them pause. I do think, though, that this would certainly be useful in the case of boarding by auth. other than CG. No lawyer I, but seems reasonable. Imagine what would happen if everyone demanded the signing of such a doc. every time some auth. wanted to board a vessel.
      Gov’t. of the people’¦by the people!!!!
      Dr. W. W. Waldrope

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    • Cruising Community Reaction to Bizarre Proposal to Partially Fill North Lake Worth, North Palm Beach, AICW Statute Mile 1014

      Our earlier posting about the bizarre proposal to partially file northern Lake Worth, plant sea grass beds there, and displace the anchorage and local mooring field (see /?p=83767), is already soooo lenghty, we are posting cruising community reaction here, in this separate article.

      I would like to know who it is that proposed such a project. What is the real reason behind such a project?
      When we have such a beautiful basin, why on earth now is someone trying to fill it in?
      If the answer is to protect animals, then could someone tell me which animals that this is meant to be benefiting? If it is for manatees, then if we bring them we must be able to protect them. Which means that there must be a budget line item for funds for patrolling the area at least for quite some time, to make everyone know about the fact that there are /will be manatees attracted to this area. Also for signage, and patrolling for all the boats that are presently speeding through the channel under the bridge and through to, and around, Little Lake Worth, and are thereby damaging manatees in the process.
      There will have to be many funds put aside to dredge all the areas north of this, where a lot of the sand will end up after a short amount of time. What guarantees do we have on this? The appropriate agency is not doing this now. Is that because the county doesn’t have enough money for that?
      But one of the many big problems facing this project is simply that this is a waste of money, or at best, a use of money that would be much better used for other more important things, let alone all the follow up funds that would be needed.
      The bottom line is that this is a dreadful idea.
      If the county has sand that they need a home for I am sure that there are many seawall owners that would love to have some delivered, myself included.
      Helen Scott

      As a cruiser, I appreciate your response to this issue. Since your email to me indicates that you were aware of the problem before I wrote you, I cannot and will not take credit for bringing the matter to your notice. Let it suffice to say that I am glad the news is ‘on the air’ so to speak. I hope your treatment of the issue may evoke further cruiser responses. I think, however, that a small rambling on my part may give you a sense of my disgust and anger about how things get done in (what I call) the Louisiana of the South East (not withstanding Rhode Island’s
      or Youngstown, Ohio’s histories).
      It appears that Palm Beach County is again engaged in its’ “business as usual policy”. Part their, “…as usual business,” is a seemingly sub-rosa directed-failure to involve those people who have interest(s) in many county based (and therefore tax based) issues, and public participation in them. Those issues are often clouded in secrecy, obfuscation, outright lying or patently illegal fraud. In a way, the old saw of ‘ Taxation Without Representation” comes to mind, not to mention the violation of Sunlight Laws and just plain questionable morality on a large scale.
      Palm Beach county has a long history of this kind of activity. It is documented and punctuated by the convictions and resignations of numerous county officials. The county sustained “enforced” loss of membership in their “old boys club” due to action of the courts, exposure by the press and TV, and more rarely, by public outrage fueled by blatantly egregious behavior of their officials.
      Now to my point, rambling, but a point none-the-less…
      It seems that, given the county history and the fact that this is an election year, some kind of investigation (possibly forensic accounting) might well serve the needs of those of us who are or might be effected by this project. By this, I do not mean simply taking a look at the depth of the water as the product of the project and concluding that, yes, the water will get shallower and it may support sea grass. I mean an investigation that is detailed. It should include: those who let the contracts to whom, what common or associated interest(s) they have or have in the outcome(s), their interests and/or relationships (financial, political ((contributory)) or otherwise) to/with those fulfilling the contracts, what rewards or benefits they are to, will, or may receive, the role of the USACOE and its relationship to county officials and vendors, the effects of the project on the environment, county usage, boater usage, traffic (boat or otherwise), dredgeline placement and/or damage,past effects of similar project in the area, the relationship(s) of county officials to vendors and, neither last or least, the relationship of local property owners to the process. It should also take a good look at something county officials are always (would you say hippocritically) called accountabiity, something sorely lacking in PBC operations.
      Thank you for your interest in my interest and your sustained activity on our behalf. As an active member of a large, international, Bahama-based yacht club, and one in south Florida, I will pass on what Information I can to you and my fellow cruisers.
      D Krakow,
      M/V Pizzazz
      Now laying Boat Harbour, Abacoa

      A couple of comments on this. I don’t think much of that area has 15 feet of water right now. The maximum depth on the nautical chart is 14 feet, with more like 9-11 feet over the remainder. Also, there is a charted channel through the middle of it, along with several USCG daymarkers , an R10 and a G11, so I would imagine the USCG would have some say over this. The note for the charted channel says `8 feet reported 2000.’ So, their hydrographic study seems rather incorrect. It seems like an absurd proposal, and it is hard to imagine that North Palm Beach shouldn’t have an equal say in what is allowed in that body of water.
      John Kettlewell

      I am strongly opposed to the filling of Lake Worth as outlined in Public Hearing by Army Corps of Engineers Permit Application No. SAJ- 2012- 00131 ( IP-EGR).
      Bill Brubaker

      Little Lake Worth is a favorite anchorage of mine in trips to the Bahamas. It is an easy anchorage for clearing in after returning, and shopping is conveinent. It would be a hardship on the boating community if the anchorage were eliminated or greatly reduced’
      Joan Clark

      I may be incorrect about this, but I was told a year or so ago that the wife of a very famous sports personality (not a current pro) objected to boats in the area.
      If this is the scam it sounds like, it’s a very clever way to eliminate anchoring in this area, isn’t it?
      Amazing the lengths to which these people will go if this is, indeed, the situation.
      Wally Moran

      Florida politicians and land developers just keep writing Carl Hiassen’s next book plots for him, don’t they?
      Pretty easy to figure out that this is the backup plan for the new Maule Lake Marina owners, after trying to stop anchoring there earlier and failing.
      R. Holiman

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    • Full Text of Public Notice to Fill and Plant Sea Grass in Northern Lake Worth

      4400 PGA BOULEVARD, SUITE 500
      JANUARY 31, 2012

      Permit Application No. SAJ-2012-00131(IP-EGR)
      TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: This district has received an application for a Department of
      the Army permit pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. §1344) and Section
      10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:
      APPLICANT: Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners
      Department of Environmental Resources Management
      C/o Robert Robbins, Director
      2300 North Jog Road, 4th Floor
      West Palm Beach, Florida 33411
      WATERWAY & LOCATION: The project is located in navigable waters of the United States,
      in Lake Worth Lagoon, east of 1300 U.S. Highway 1, North Palm Beach (Section 4, Township
      42 South, Range 43 East), in Palm Beach County, Florida.
      Directions to the site are as follows: From I-95 in Palm Beach Gardens, exit PGA Boulevard and
      head east to U.S. Highway 1. Head south on U.S. Highway 1 to the project site located in Lake
      Worth Lagoon, east of 1300 U.S. Highway 1.
      LATITUDE & LONGITUDE: Latitude 26.839° North
      Longitude 80.055° West
      Basic: The basic project purpose is to enhance the aquatic environment.
      Overall: The overall project purpose is to create seagrass habitat in eastern Palm Beach County.
      PROPOSED WORK: The applicant proposes to cap approximately 42 acres of muck sediment
      in a dredge hole (average depth -17 feet NAVD) area known as Turtle Cove with approximately
      640,000 cubic yards of sand to create approximately 37.8 acres of seagrass habitat with an
      elevation of -6 feet NAVD. The project includes signage for seagrass protection. The applicant
      has not requested compensatory mitigation credit for the project.
      Avoidance and Minimization Information: The applicant has provided the following information
      in support of efforts to avoid and/or minimize impacts to the aquatic environment: The project
      would result in improved aquatic habitat within the project area. Temporary construction
      turbidity would be minimized through the use of turbidity curtains. The construction
      methodology, including the construction of a submerged perimeter berm with subsequent fill
      placed on the inside of the berm, would minimize turbidity in surrounding waters.
      Compensatory Mitigation: The applicant has provided the following explanation why
      compensatory mitigation should not be required: No impacts to seagrass or any other special
      aquatic site are proposed. The project would result in a net increase in seagrass habitat based on
      the success of similar projects completed by the applicant in Lake Worth Lagoon including the
      Snook Islands Natural Area and the Ibis Isle Restoration Project.
      EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site consists of an open water dredge hole with an
      average depth of -17 feet North American Vertical Datum (NAVD) and a minimum depth of -14
      feet NAVD. The project site contains an average of 10 feet of muck sediment with no seagrass
      based on project area substrate and depths. The existing area surrounding the project area
      consists of open water, marinas, and residential/institutional development.
      ENDANGERED SPECIES: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has determined the
      proposal may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the endangered West Indian manatee
      (Trichechus manatus) and would not result in an adverse impact to its designated critical habitat.
      The Corps has received U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concurrence with this determination
      pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
      The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect
      the endangered smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), or the endangered/threatened swimming
      sea turtles (Chelonia mydas, Eretmochelys imbricata, Lepidochelys kempii, Dermochelys
      coriacea, Caretta caretta). The project would not result in an adverse modification of any
      designated critical habitat for these species. The Corps will request National Marine Fisheries
      Service’s concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species
      The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on any other listed threatened or
      endangered species or designated critical habitat.
      ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): This notice initiates consultation with the National
      Marine Fisheries Service on EFH as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation
      and Management Act 1996. The proposal would impact approximately 42 acres of unvegetated
      muck/sand substrate utilized by various life stages of penaeid shrimp complex, reef fish, stone
      crab, spiny lobster, migratory/pelagic fish, and snapper/grouper complex. Adverse impacts due
      to construction would be temporary and the project would result in a net increase in seagrass
      habitat. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial
      adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the South Atlantic Region. Our final
      determination relative to project impacts and the need for mitigation measures is subject to
      review by and coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
      NOTE: This public notice is being issued based on information furnished by the applicant. This
      information has not been verified or evaluated to ensure compliance with laws and regulations
      governing the regulatory program. The jurisdictional line has been verified by Corps personnel.
      AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification may be required
      from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and/or one of the state Water
      Management Districts.
      Comments regarding the application should be submitted in writing to the District Engineer at
      the above address within 30 days from the date of this notice.
      If you have any questions concerning this application, you may contact Eric Reusch at the
      letterhead address, by electronic mail at, or by telephone at 561-
      The decision whether to issue or deny this permit application will be based on the information
      received from this public notice and the evaluation of the probable impact to the aquatic
      environment. This is based on an analysis of the applicant’s avoidance and minimization efforts
      for the project, as well as the compensatory mitigation proposed.

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    • Cruising Community Reaction to Proposed Marathon – Boot Key Harbor Anchorage Restrictions

      Unsurprisingly, the proposal by the city of Marathon to outlaw anchorage on portions of Boot Key Harbor where formerly this practice was welcome, has elicited an outpouring of reaction from the cruising community. The volume of messages has grown so large, that we have moved all these many welcome notes here, and linked this page from the original posting concerning this topic, at:


      This appears to be a very informative and balanced article. Well done to Charmaine, please keep us up to date on this.
      Phil Johnson

      We spent five winters in Marathon on a mooring ball, met many great cruising friends and enjoyed our time there. However, last year we tired of the City Marina treating cruisers like naughty school children and scolding them on the morning radio net (I was one of the Net controllers one day per week). So this year we decided to try a winter elsewhere and are glad we did!
      I wrote to the Chamber of Commerce to let them know that we won’t be back and that other cruisers we talk to are beginning to see Boot Key Harbor changing from a cruiser friendly place to being hostile to the year-round mooring residents and those who prefer to anchor.
      Anchoring out in the open roadstead south and west of Boot Key in the winter season is at best uncomfortable and sometimes downright dangerous! Taking a chance on arriving to find the moorings all taken and being told I couldn’t anchor in Sister Creek or in the harbor until a mooring was available is NOT something that I would recommend to anyone.
      Boot Key Harbor and the City Marina have lost us and others we know as customers already. Unless they change their current position on rates and anchoring restrictions they will lose more customers.
      Larry Sherman
      s/v Enchantress

      Sad to see all of the changes going on down there. I used to skydive once a year down in Marathon and always wanted to stay a few months to revisit when I started in cruising.But for that price I can just dodge up to the Port Charlotte area and pay for a nice slip with shore power, good wifi, and all the perks and not have to worry I’d be waiting exposed in a harbor while room freed up. I stayed at Gasparilla last year and it was secure, extremely friendly and had a good work yard with reasonable prices.
      From that area I have Cayo, sailing on Charlotte is divine, Ft Myers mooring and a quick motor across the Okeechobee waterway gives me access to the Bahamas.
      I got into cruising to get away from the hassles of life, not add to them.

      I am not always opposed to change, changes can be made in a good way. We did anchor in Boot Key for a week or so waiting on a mooring ball to come available. I do think that maybe the council could consider temporary anchoring in all areas suitable when the mooring fields and set up anchorage is full, so as not to drive away cruisers, while this would still prohibit, derelict boats from permanent anchorage in these other areas. But at the same time, the derelict boats are just going to occupy the set up anchoring field and fill it so that cruisers won’t be able to anchor there when they arrive. So I do understand the councils problem. I do hope that maybe they will consider some way of making it work for everyone. Marathon was one of our favorite spots to visit, and we did spend time at Marina’s there as well, but even those are full much of the time. Best wishes with the efforts here, we are not cruisers who wish to boy-cott, because of change or rules, but at some point, things do become inconvenient, and when that happens, it does slow the flow. Us included.
      Capt. Clay

      There are existing ordinances to rid Boot Key Harbor of Derelict boats however the are NOT ENFORCED! Not by the City of Marathon nor the Florida Maine Patrol nor by the Monroe County Sheriffs Office which has a patrol boat @ Marathon Municipal Marina. Any excuse by the town,county or state is only an admission of there own violation of there own existing laws.
      Our Lord’s Blessing to All
      Ed & Bonnie Spomer
      S/V Almost Heaven

      Thanks, Charmaine and SSECN for bringing this situation to our attention.
      We last visited Marathon two years ago. When had a reservation at Sombrero Dockside marina, but when we arrived the boat in our slip had not left and we were forced to anchor out overnight in Sisters Creek until they left the next day. I’m not sure what I would have done if I had not been able to anchor in Sisters Creek. The mooring field was full. The marinas that could accomodate a boat of our size were all full, and it was too late in the day to head over to Newfound Harbor.
      The city does, of course, have the right to charge whatever it chooses for slips, mooring balls and dinghy dockage. However, the isssue of anchoring and safety are another matter. Derelict boats can be handled with current regulations, so I still do not understand why the city would choose legislation to restrict anchoring that could cause a negative reaction from the crusing community and be potentially dangerous.
      We had planned to cruise back to the keys next winter, but we will definitely be bypassing Marathon if this legislation is enacted.
      Bill Root

      I have been making ready to stay over in Marathon for the last two years, this new news is making me re think my plans. I am retired and on a budget. Being on the hook in more open water is not on my to do list. Maybe the islands are better. Regretfully,
      Nick Leva

      I have to say the current state of Marathon was shocking. Just took a nice group of sailing students on a week long cruise. Never had the time to anchor in Book Key Harbor before so I decided what a great time to visit and show some West Coast sailors how great the Keys were. Again, not having spent any time in Marathon, I always thought of it as one of the few real cruising friendly areas down here in the Keys, a little taste of what I had in the Carolinas and Chesapeake.
      Big mistake. I was embarrassed for my clients. Not only were we harassed in the anchorage by some very derelict live aboard boaters, yelling and screaming while pounding down beers and smoking at 9am, but walking the streets was a big wake up call. I’ll never take any clients to Boot Key Harbor again. So sad to have to make that statement.
      Being a sailing instructor, I am trying to show cruisers in training what our lifestyle is all about. How to get safely from destination to destination and how wonderful it is to pull into that funky, cool little down, dinghy up and have great time, or sit in the cockpit and watch the sun go down.
      Marathon does need a massive clean up, as true of many Key’s anchorage areas. Real cruisers are getting a bad rap from all the derelict boaters. But penalizing the active cruising community is not the way to accomplish this.
      Marathon I don’t want to give up on you but you have a long way to go.
      Capt. Edana Long

      We were just down at Marathon for a month in an RV, with a boat, and visited the harbor almost daily. There was always a 2 to 3 day waiting list for moorings. The parking places were nearly full. I can see the point of showering on shore, if the water is $.05 a gallon!

      We did notice that boats seemed to be having difficulty getting anchors to hold’“and it may well be the type of anchor ‘“mostly Bruce type or Claw seemed to be having problems.
      Bob Austin

      My husband and I have visited Marathon the past 2 seasons, anchoring out for a few days before taking a mooring. We’ve had very positive experiences with both the local boaters and the cruisers and the sense of community we find here is what draws us back. Yes, there are those who live a different lifestyle than what we choose, but there is room here for us to coexist, and the general atmosphere of the community is one of support and friendship.
      Cathy Dieter s/v Orion JR

      The problem with derelict vessels can be resolved by having an Insurance requirement requiring Liability, wreck removal and polution coverage. The Certificate of Insurance could be required by the harbormaster within 48 hours after anchoring or the harbormaster could call the police to evict and or ticket the owner. Derelicks are uninsurable because a condition survey is always required prior to coverage being bound. This could be a requirement much like the DMV. Cruisers / snow birds are always aboard seaworthy boats because they need to be to cruise. Boat yards require coverage to haul so why can’t the state, municapality and local harbormasters require coverage as part of the FL registration?
      Bill Owens

      Localities can’t require equipment or insurance above and beyond what is state mandated’“that is a state-level requirement, just as car equipment requirements are set at the state level. If you start allowing localities to impose their own rules you would be constantly having to go through hoops every time you moved on to the next harbor, making cruising impossible. However, there are numerous laws already on the books that can deal with supposed `derelict’ boats, which is really more about derelict boat owners who have problems above and beyond any maritime rules. However, these laws are just not enforced: proper registration, proper sanitation equipment, proper boat equipment, anchor lights, etc. In the case of Marathon, sure there are some boats there that are marginal, but the real reason the city is making anchoring difficult and expensive is they have a shortfall in the marina and mooring budget and they want to force more people to pay for the moorings. It is about $$, and don’t let them throw a smoke screen over it by declaring it is about derelict boats, which they refuse to do anything about using the laws already on the books.
      And, I should have added above that they may be solving the derelict boat problem by eliminating legal anchoring areas, but they are going to do it by chasing away legitimate tourist boaters who prefer to anchor out. They will lose money in the long run with that attitude. Cruisers don’t want to visit places that are a hassle’“they go cruising to get away from all that.
      John Kettlewell

      I have gone to Marathon many times over the last 15 years and enjoyed the friendly people and the area. I got to know many locals who treated me as if I were one of them. I sure hope that the fees for the mooring field don’t price me out of one of my favorite place.
      Richard Bruning

      After reading the entire article, if possible, I would like to add that the three boats we were visiting with were 25 foot C Dorys, who anchored in Sister Creek until a mooring became available. It would have been very uncomfortable and on some days dangerous for this size of boat or smaller, to have anchored in the open roadstead to the West and South of Vaca Key. One night it blew up to over 30 knots–another night it was 50 knots in gusts.
      Bob Austin

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    • St. Petersburg: Nothing SAINTLY About It! – A Special Anchoring Rights Report From Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd

      January 27th 2012

      St. Petersburg: Nothing SAINTLY About It!
      by Charmaine Smith Ladd

      Somebody grab the Brasso: St. Petersburg’s halo is badly tarnished! For a city who sports the motto of “Always In Season,” with their proposed anchoring ordinances it appears St. Pete is attempting to replace their friendly olive branch with a thorny Russian Olive branch and advertise instead: “Always Off Season” to cruisers.

      Essentially, what St. Petersburg’s ordinances propose is no access to downtown St. Pete for cruisers visiting the area. Is this the way to treat tourists? Imagine arriving by car and seeing a sign at the City Limits stating “Non-residents limited to a 72-hour stay.” Is this the Wild Wild West of old, “Hey stranger, we don’t like your kind ’round here. You best be out of town by sundown.” Am I in a time warp? Is this the Twilight Zone or is it the 21st century and someone has laced Florida’s oranges! It is all nothing short of madness.

      To ban liveaboards from anchoring is totally contrary to FL Statute, in fact it is blatant discrimination. There is absolutely no justification for it. It is as if to say anyone who lives aboard their vessel and does not navigate the waters is guilty of something and considered an undesirable. This rationale will ultimately lead to Florida returning to the “No Liveaboards Allowed” status they had years ago in marinas. Most marinas allowed it, but on the down low so as not to get a rise of their neighborhood watch monitors. Many of us have worked very hard to quell the fears marinas had of those who chose to live aboard. If we allow this to be done to liveaboards, then cruisers will be next. Of this, I have no doubt. These municipalities want you either in the cookie cutter mode of society or you’re out. This is the 21st Century, but apparently Florida does not know times have changed. Prejudice is prejudice–be it against color, creed, or aimed at those who live aboard a vessel rather than a house on land. Ignorance always fuels such prejudice. This situation is no different in that regard.

      What St. Petersburg will have to do is define when a cruiser becomes a liveaboard. This is the danger of their ordinance. Many cities already have tried to do this. Most recently in Stuart, the city in Florida that in 2008 had an ordinance stating after 72 hours at anchor a boat becomes a “Liveaboard.” It was immediately challenged and removed. This is the can of worms that St. Petersburg is opening again. It is an enormous problem. Derelict vessels has become “Derelict People.” Some cannot see through their greed and fear that either the derelicts will rob their house when they are gone, or that a boat on the water has a better view than they do! Either way, it’s ridiculous.

      The Pilot Program is perpetuating myths that allow those who only really want a clear view of the horizon a manner by which to kill the dream of living aboard. There are no other reasons as the excuses drummed up simply do not wash. We all know that millions of gallons of raw sewage gets dumped into Florida waters quite routinely. The septic systems for the homes that built where there used to be swamp (basically all of Florida) are not adequate and constantly seep or spill over into Florida’s waters. Sewage from boaters is nothing in comparison. Even the Department of Environmental Protection does not blame boaters for the pollution of Florida’s waters: they know better. We have orange groves that use fertilizers that pollute our waters, golf courses don’t stay green naturally. These pollutants all come from LAND. Should we as boaters begin to demand golf courses and orange groves be banned and houses torn down because they are the largest contributors to pollution in Florida waters? That would be absurd, would it not?

      Now that the cat is out of the bag on the ridiculousness of using boater sewage as a health issue that should be regulated, the powers that be are no longer using it. Yet it still remains on the Pilot Program agenda as an objective with which to be dealt. That is irresponsible, in my opinion, as it is misleading and arguably an untruth. So that takes us to the derelict and abandoned boat problem.

      If only these areas would deal with that very real problem: derelict vessels. Derelict vessels most often are those that have been stored for years. You know the “fixer uppers” that people can’t seem not to buy but purchase and let it for years. At some point, someone takes it off their hands for a few dollars and it continues to sit. Out of sight, out of mind. It sits there and rots. Most of these stored vessels are owned by those who live on land.

      There is a lot of ignorance about the lifestyle of those who live aboard be they cruisers or not. As if those who do are an alien species to be eradicated. The freedom to choose one’s lifestyle is there for everyone. Sure, there are bad apples in every walk of life…as we all know, there are millions more on land than on the water, yet severely restricting or ridding waters of inhabited boats will make the world a better place? It is laughable.

      Rather than resort to blanket ordinances that infringe on the inalienable rights of others in their pursuit of happiness, those who complain about boaters need to realize they do not own the water. Their ordinances are Constitutionally unsound because there are laws in place to handle those who break the law — be they on the water or on land. USE THEM. But give someone an inch and they’ll take a nautical mile! The adage doesn’t quite go that way, but tailoring it to make a point here certainly fits.

      To the powers that be in St. Petersburg, you are not listening to your public. It is evident to me that the waters of St. Petersburg are being held as if owned by those who live in homes there. If we allow such reasoning to go unchecked, waters held in the public trust for use by the public will be gated and available only to those in similar tax brackets — just as their land communities are. It will never end.

      The Pilot Program, in my opinion, has done far more harm than good for the State of Florida. We are throwing the baby out with the bath! The remainder of the States are laughing at us…one of the oldest Ports in the U.S. should know by now how to get it right and be an example of how things can work amicably between sailors and landlubbers. But noooo. The world must think mainland Florida has lost its mind. You can’t kill sailing and living aboard, people…remember, it’s how you got here!

      Tourists are tourists, commerce is commerce, and effectively your proposed ordinances are saying “We don’t want you here.” If you say that to citizens of the US, what do you say to foreign visitors? It’s shameful. President Obama is pushing hard to tout America as THE place for tourism. I don’t think St. Petersburg got the memo. So suck it up and get out the Brasso. Restore the saintly shine that halo of St. Petersburg and let it be the Port of the PUBLIC. Shake out your Unwelcome Mat and replace it with a Welcome Mat! Live up to your motto: “Always In Season.”

      Charmaine Smith Ladd, SSECN Special Correspondent & Representative
      Executive Director, Mariner’s BARR (Boaters’ Anchoring Rights & Responsibilities)

      Great report! The sad thing is that the laws they propose don’t solve the problems they say they are worried about. Derelict boats aren’t anchored in downtown St. Pete, and in any case existing laws can and should be used to take care of them. All these laws do is impact legitimate transient boaters who wish to visit St. Pete. I have read elsewhere that occupancy in their mooring field is very low’“this is also a push to try to force people to pay for those moorings.
      John Kettlewell

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    • A Disturbing 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:
      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 /?p=4958, 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

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      Comments from Cruisers (3)

      1. Dennis McMurtry -  September 29, 2018 - 10:14 pm

        We were considering a vacation to the West coast of Florida and renting a houseboat or motor yacht around 40 ft to cruise the icw from the Keys to Tampa St Pete. we owned a 44 ft boat in that area quite a few years ago and sold due to anchorage nonsense, we had thought that issues had been resolved over the past few years and thought we would re visit the areas we enjoyed we are from the PNW, reading the current situation, we will spend our vacation money elsewhere. Sad to see the loss of freedom keeps creeping in the yachting community, good luck in the future.

        Reply to Dennis
      2. Bart Simpson -  September 25, 2018 - 8:09 am

        I remember stopping at a marina in Fort Lauderdale on my 40 foot Pacific Seacraft sailboat. I planned to shop, visit some restaurants, restock the boat, and have some service work done. All in all, I probably was going to spend close to $1000. I took my dogs, and headed off for a walk. I saw signs prohibiting dogs from the beach, so I kept them on the street.

        Apparently, the prohibition also covered the street in front of the beach, so a cop stopped me, and demanded ID. After a pile of intrusive questions, he told me that he could arrest me for violating the dogs on the beach ordinance. Maintaining my cool, I apologized, and indicated that I thought that the prohibition only covered the beach. I indicated that I planned to get off the street at the next cross street. After logging me into the system, he let me go with a warning.

        Within 15 minutes, I cancelled the rest of my stay at the marina, and was back on the water heading north within the hour. I spent my money at another locale.

        I will never return to Lauderdale under any circumstances.

        Spend your time and money where you are welcomed. I certainly did.

        Reply to Bart
      3. Steve Ramsay -  September 24, 2018 - 1:42 am

        I moved here from New England and as a boater since age 2, I am very disappointed with the availability of moorings here (Tampa area). Boating is such a healthy outdoor activity for the whole family. Go to New England, you will see boats on moorings as far as the eye can see, and they only have a 4 month season. I had planned on buying a 24 ft. sloop but I am afraid I will have to abandon the Idea altogether. Personally, at $400 per month for a mooring, I am forced to leave my favorite past time to a high end class of people who will continue to enjoy sailing as much as I did. I have been priced out. It seems like boating here is discouraged rather that encouraged and fully advocated for.

        Reply to Steve
    • Great Info on Derelicts and “Live Aboard Hulks”

      I have been preaching from my pulpit for years now, that the fly in the proverbial ointment when it comes to the struggle for Florida Anchoring Rights, is the very real problem of abandoned vessels (“derelicts”) and what I term, “live aboard hulks” (vessels that are being lived on, but which will probably never move again)! These problem vessels are the excuse that the anti-anchoring forces keep throwing in the mix every time the debate rages about Florida anchoring.
      Many others here on the Cruisers’ Net, and on many other forums, have opined that the problem of derelicts and “live aboard hulks” can be solved with existing Florida laws and regulations, thereby not penalizing all other boat owners.
      Now, our good friend, and true friend of the cruising community, Captain Jay Bliss, member of the St. Augustine Port Commission, has provided us with the means below to research derelict vessels in Florida, on a county by county basis. Thank you Captain Bay for providing this wonderful resource!

      Hi Claiborne,
      Here’s the pertinent website for the identification, procedures, for Derelict, Abandoned,and AtRisk vessels in FL

      For those that reside in any particular patch in FL, they can get an idea of the problem boats in a particular county by going to this site

      At that url, examine the Legend (rh side), then clik “Queries”. The page there allows you to type in a FL county. Do that, and press Search.
      Your county will show problem boats as colored circles. Clik on a given circle, and you’ll see further details about that boat. Stats are in the lower left side of the page. You can compare counties, etc. You can learn dates boats were identified, etc. It’s a valuable tool to see how we progress in ridding our Public waters of problem boats.
      Jay Bliss

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. TonyMalone -  March 14, 2019 - 3:26 pm

        These "live aboard hulks" aren't a problem as you describe. these are peoples homes. Shame on anyone who tries to take anyone's home away from them.

        Reply to TonyMalone
    • In-Depth Article Now Available About Anchoring on Boca Grande Bayou (Gasparilla Island, near St. M. 28.5)

      It was almost a year ago that we posted an article here on the Cruisers’ Net about the possibility of boaters being denied the right to anchor in popular Boca Grand Bayou (hard by the shores of Gasparilla Island), behind the Pink Elephant Restaurant, due to possible private ownership of the bottomland in question (see /?p=46788). A slightly later article provided more details (see /?p=51002).

      Gasparilla Bayou Anchorage

      Then, over this past Thanksgiving holiday, yours truly and the first-mate, first-mate spent a wonderful week in Boca Grande. I personally observed only two vessels lying at anchor in the Boca Grande Bayou Basin anchorage, where formerly there were many more. In asking around, I began to hear rumors that vessels anchored on the northern end of the basin were being asked to move along, as the bottomland was claimed to be private property.
      Last week, a fellow cruiser sent me a “Letter to the Editor” which appeared in Gasparilla Island’s superb weekly newspaper, the “Boca Beacon.” Here is a link to that article:

      Most importantly, I learned in a telephone conversation last week that the “Boca Beacon” editor, Ms. Marcy Shortuse, was working on an in-depth article concerning this very complex issue. I shared my insights on this subject, and sent Ms. Shortuse a link to my “Whence Come The Anchorage Regulations” editorial (/?p=4958). Last Friday, 12/16/11, Marcy’s article was published, and it is linked below. Her excellent, in-depth study of this situation is a must-read for anyone interested in the Florida anchoring issue:

      We solicit additional input on the issue of anchoring in Boca Grande Bayou from the cruising community, particularly those mariners who frequent the waters of Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor. Please follow the “Click Here to Submit Cruising News” link on the upper right of this page, and share your point of view.

      I deleted Boca Grande from my website, too risky to suggest it as an anchorage.
      Mary Dixon

      Very simply and to the point the U.S. Supreme Court has already spoken on this issue.
      `1.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.’’
      Robert Driscoll

      Driscoll nails it. It doesn’t matter whether or not the bottom is privately owned, there is still a right of navigation that trumps that. Anchoring is considered to be a normal part of navigation. Take a look at St. Augustine where the city has claimed they own the bottom land since forever, yet they were unable to prevent anchoring in those waters until they built mooring fields over most of the anchoring area.
      John Kettlewell

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    • 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 /?p=76631). As you will see, Captain Richard’s note got a favorable reply, and it undoubtedly clued everyone in the sheriff’s department to the latest Florida state laws concerning anchorage.

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

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

      Arthur Richard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    • 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

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. David Burnham -  October 30, 2015 - 8:51 pm

        More than a few of St. Augustine’s north mooring field buoys remain empty because of shoaling of the bay bottom. This prevents the marina from being able to assign boats to these buoys because a falling tide MAY have the boat on the hard bottom.
        Because this is a designated mooring area, a shallow draft cruiser that COULD anchor in this space is denied anchoring as allowed by FS 370.04.

        Reply to David
    • 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

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    • 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

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    • North Yacht Basin Basin/Vinoy Basin Closed to Anchoring (Tampa Bay, Western Shore – St. Petersbrug, FL)

       Slips are now available!! On the brand new Dock 5. For information please call (727) 893-7329 or 800 782 8350

      St. Petersburg was selected some time ago as one of five sites for the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. And, it was previously announced their mooring field would be located in the North Yacht Basin/Vinoy Basin, which borders on the northern side of the huge St. Petersburg Municipal Marina (A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR) and just south of the Renaissance Vinoy Resort Marina.
      It appears that construction is about to begin on this mooring field, and, consequently, the city of St. Petersburg is asking all the anchored vessel in the Vinoy Basin to leave.

      Cruising News:


      Of course, one alternative is to dock at the St. Pete Muncipal Marina. This is one of the largest, and best managed city facilities it has ever been my privilege to review, and, as mentioned above, they are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR.
      There are some other anchorages available on central Tampa Bay’s western shores. I have listed links to those havens below. HOWEVER, none are anything like being as convenient and as close to good shoreside support as the Vinoy Basin.

      Little Bayou Southerly Anchorage:

      Little Bayou Northern Anchorage:

      Big Bayou Anchorage:

      Coffeepot Bayou Outer Anchorage:

      Coffeepot Bayou Inner Anchorage:

      Smacks Bayou Outer Anchorage:

      Smacks Bayou Mid Anchorage:

      Smack Bayou Inner Anchorage:

      Smacks Bayou South Side Anchorage:

      Well, I can answer one of Captain Bill’s questions below. To my knowledge, the ONLY ONE of the above described anchorages with dinghy dock access is the Big Bayou Anchorage. At the back of Big Bayou is a public launching ramp, where you can tie your dinghy off temporarily. And, as a plus, several GOOD restaurants are to be found within walking distance. In particular is Munch’s Restaurant (727-896-5972), one block south. Both breakfast and lunch (open 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) are terrific.
      Now for the bad news. I would not even begin to try and navigate a 7-foot draft vessel into Big Bayou! Captains piloting vessels drawing 5 feet or less, however, may find these waters a a good, or at least acceptable, alternative.


      The FWC Pilot Program is supposed to improve water access ‘“ I fail to see how limiting anchoring is ‘˜improving’ access. This is another of the Florida anchorages we are losing due to this program.
      Wally Moran

      Sam Warr

      Thanks Sam the South Basin has the depth but is the airport closeness a probem? i’ll try it. Thanks

      We have anchored in the Vinoy Basin on and off since 1986 when we first came to Florida. We used to dinghy ashore to visit the museums, shops, and grab a bite to eat about 20 or 30 times a year. Frequently, our stays were just for the day allowing us to spend our money in town. Regretfully, we will now have to find a different favorite place to go.
      Eileen Colon

      There is a small anchorage just south of the mun marina at the Harborage Marina in downtown St. Pete at the location on this link:
      No mooring balls; use your own ground tackle and dinghy to the marina or to a sand bar at the USFSP campus and walk to town. We live aboard at the marina. Good protection and depth and easy access to Tampa Bay and the ICW.
      M/V DEWLAP
      DeFever 49 CMY

      What will the rules and rates be upon completion?
      Bruce W. Watters

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    • Anchoring/Mooring Field Editorial From Captain Jay Bliss, St. Augustine Port Commissioner

      The following article is reproduced by special permission from both Captain Jay Bliss and

      Letter to the Editor
      St. Johns County and Vilano homeowners have reached an accord, DEP and Army Corps of Engineers have permits in place, and significant dredging will take place this winter in the StAugustine channel entrance and off Porpoise Point. Massive federal funds, $20M plus or minus, will pay for dredging and renourishing StAugustine Beach sands. The inlet channel will be twice its width and as deep as 30 feet. Turtles have nested and before they return to lay eggs in Spring 2012 the dredging should be done.
      Boaters will be able to access the inlet in relative safety. An onshore wind and an outgoing tide will still create a rollercoaster ride. Once inside, StAugustine’s unique waterworld offers scenic wonders whatever your course. Boaters can look for a new floating dock off the Vilano fishing pier by Spring 2012, providing free short-term docking and ready access to Publix’ new supermarket at Vilano Beach. B&B guests downtown might embark by water taxi at the City dock to shop the Vilano Publix. Certainly boaters at anchor or on moorings will enjoy the convenience of a market close to the water.
      City Commissioners and staff are intent upon maximizing revenue from the mooring fields. There are bills to pay, debts to amortize. Their Pilot Program ordinances increase `no anchoring’ zones. Moorings are convenient, and at $20 a night, not a bad deal. Anchoring does enjoy a following, however. Picky boaters place their trust in their own equipment. Boaters who read fine print might not sign off on the liability release on the mooring contract. One proposed ordinance limits time at anchor. Similar time limit laws have been declared invalid in Federal courts in Stuart and Naples. Navigation laws, anchoring precedents, predate even StAugustine’s history.
      More importantly, we (County, Port, City, residents) need to ask: what has the placement of mooring fields done, and what can we project with the Pilot Program ordinances?
      Putting the mooring fields in place required energizing enforcement: we discovered that about ten boats had been long abandoned. The mooring fields then displaced some 28 boaters/boats from the downtown area and from Salt Run, and they’re part of the anchored fleet S of the 312 and N of the Vilano bridge, beyond City limits. Google `StAugustine city limits’ for a map.
      Imposing the Pilot Program ordinances will further displace about 15 boats beyond City limits. Those boaters will join others who cannot afford to be part of the mooring system. The ordinances will demand more time from City and County and FWC law enforcement. Increasing their duties, adding to the laws, will not improve enforcement of laws already on the books. Overboard dumping, derelicts, are already covered by laws on the books. (Call FWC 407 275 4150 to report on-the-water problems). Those very real challenges do not justify further Pilot Program ordinances. The challenge is enforcing what we have. Will revenues increase significantly?
      Every motorist expects to be duly notified with a yellow line, or ` no parking from here to corner’ sign. It’s difficult to imagine how we will legally notify our boating guests of all these prohibited anchoring zones, and still generate goodwill.
      Our image with the boating public is at risk. We disregard the effects and consequences of anchoring sprawl, and add more fine print, more laws. We court failure in Federal court. We need to make mooring fields more appealing, affordable, rather than make anchoring more prohibitive. When boaters cruise in the StAugustine inlet, they should be greeted with hospitality and choices.

      Fantastic even handed commentary from a government official. Yes indeed there are already laws against dumping sewage and against derelicts. Yes you will drive anchorers away including me. I know what my anchor will hold and what condition my rode is in. I sleep better on my own tackle. Looking forward to trying the free dock to shop at publix in the spring of 2012.
      Bill Dixon

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    • 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


      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Jeremy -  December 25, 2015 - 6:51 pm

        I’ve got 13 bogus tickets from officer Eric hill. Who gave us anchor light tickets, when We live in a special anchorage with amenities. I got anchor lites, led. He gave me more tickets. Been to court our lawyer got 5 of 7 thrown out. He then chased us all around the island trying to give me a nav lite ticket. 20 minutes before Sun down. We have written several letters to police chief and mayor. He stopped harassing us for a week of Christmas. I’m very disappointed in Bradenton bch for not firing this prick. He has been so unprofessional. Rammed our boat several times. Causing hundreds of dollars in damage. I’m fighting for not just my rights. But all boaters rights. We are Americans. We are strong together United. Seperate we fall.

        Reply to Jeremy

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