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    • Florida’s Current Anchor Restrictions, FWC Commission Meeting, Feb 19-20, Tallahassee, FL

      This staff report is on the FWC February agenda and includes details outlining restrictions on anchoring in Florida waters. These setback distances are pertinent in light of Georgia’s recent extreme setbacks.

      MEMORANDUM
      To: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissioners
      From: Colonel Curtis Brown, Director, Division of Law Enforcement
      Date: February 20, 2020
      Subject: Staff Report – Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program/Derelict Vessel Report
      Purpose:
      Provide a report on the results of the 2009 Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program and the status of the
      Derelict Vessel removal efforts.
      Why:
      How vessels are stowed, parked, and moored in Florida waters is a topic of great public interest across
      Florida and staff want to ensure Commissioners are kept apprised of current activities in this area and the
      most recent information on Derelict Vessel removal efforts.
      Top Points:
      1. The 2009 Anchoring and Mooring Pilot program resulted in the capture of best practices in order to
      recommend statewide changes to address issues legislatively.
      2. Legislation was passed in 2017 as a direct result of a 242-page report sent to the Florida Legislature
      and the Governor in January of 2017.
      3. The status of FWC Derelict Vessel removal efforts is good, with the Grant Program receiving a
      marked increase in participation after FWC grant rule changes went into effect on November 29, 2019.
      Affected Parties:
      The general boating public, local residents and waterfront property owners and many county and municipal
      government partners responsible for derelict vessel removals within their jurisdiction
      Summary:
      The Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program began as an effort to address growing conflicts between the
      enjoyment of Florida’s waterways and the activities of anchoring and mooring upon state waters. This effort
      began in 2006 when stakeholder concerns were brought to the Commission. Staff sought the advice of the
      Florida Boating Advisory Council (BAC) in April 2007. The BAC suggested that the Commission seek
      clarification from the Florida Legislature on the appropriate roles of local and state authority to regulate
      vessels.
      At the June 2007 Commission meeting, staff was directed move forward with requesting clarification from
      the Florida Legislature as recommended by the BAC. Public input on anchoring and mooring issues was
      collected through 6 public meetings throughout the state attended by 273 stakeholders and a number of
      common concerns were identified. Further stakeholder engagement with over 700 additional stakeholders,
      resulted in a final recommendation which was approved by the Commission at their December 2008
      meeting. This recommendation was submitted to the Legislature during the 2009 Legislative session and as
      a result s.327.4105, Florida Statutes (F.S.) was enacted establishing authority to conduct an Anchoring and
      Mooring Pilot Program.
      FWC was required to submit a report on the pilot program findings and recommendations to the Governor,
      the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by January 1, 2014. The pilot
      program and all ordinances adopted under the program would have expired on July 1, 2014; however, it was
      reenacted and extended by the Legislature with a new expiration date of July 1, 2017, and a requirement for
      an updated report to be submitted by January 1, 2017. The 2017 legislative session produced s. 327.4109
      F.S., which regulated anchoring or mooring by:
      • Establishing a 150-foot setback for anchoring around marinas, boat ramps, boat yards and other
      vessel launching or loading facilities;
      • Establishing a 300-foot setback from anchoring around any superyacht repair facility;
      • Establishing a 100-foot setback from anchoring around the outward boundary of a marked public
      mooring field. Anchoring within a public mooring field was prohibited outside of the established
      exemptions within the statute.
      • Prohibited tying to an unpermitted object attached to the water bottom (to prevent the proliferation
      of unpermitted moorings statewide).
      • Making all of these new violations noncriminal infractions punishable for a first offense, up to a
      maximum of $50, for a second offense, up to a maximum of $100, and for a third or subsequent
      offense, up to a maximum of $250, and included them in the list of mailable citations.
      In addition, other legislative changes included the addition of the effective means of propulsion for safe
      navigation test as a way to reduce the change of a vessel becoming derelict and increasing the penalty
      section for expiration of vessel registration to require a mandatory court appearance and a $500 fine for
      second and subsequent violations after 6 months. Local governments were also given authority to
      implement a proof of pumpout ordinance for vessels at anchor in a public mooring field for a period of 10
      consecutive days of more. This provision was contingent upon the availability of pumpout facilities within
      the jurisdiction establishing the program. Finally, changes were made to the derelict vessel statute to allow
      for actual notification of a derelict vessel in person as opposed to notification by certified mail and the
      ability to freeze the title of a derelict vessel to prevent the sale of the vessel while in a derelict condition.
      The update on Derelict Vessels will include an overview of the Grant program including the number of
      Grant applications received, executed contracts, vessels scheduled to be removed and the amount of funding
      obligated for removal.
      Staff Recommendation:
      No action is requested at this time, but input from Commissioners is welcomed.
      Staff Contact and/or Presenter:
      Major Robert Rowe, Section Leader, Division of Law Enforcement, Boating and Waterways Section

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