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    • Good News re Florida Anchoring

      Our thanks to Kim Russo for sharing this good news via AGLCA‘s Forum and also to Mike Bodin of MTOA. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that in the future this law will stand up to the pressure on legislators from wealthy landowners to restrict anchoring.

      Great news! I was just notified by our lobbyist that HB 7043 was approved by the Governor. It is law. As of now, no local municipality or county in the state of Florida may ban, restrict, or otherwise regulate an anchorage in Florida coastal waters.
      Loopers’ interest in this issue and financial contributions helped prevent the enactment of any setbacks that could have resulted in the elimination of any existing anchorages state wide.

      Congratulations to all Loopers, members of MTOA, SSCA, and others who supported this effort, stuck with it, and made your voices heard! You have made a difference to the boating community. Special thanks goes out to Jerry Paul of Capitol Access for his diligent efforts on our behalf. His guidance and hard work made all the difference.

      Kim Russo
      Director
      America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association
      krusso@greatloop.org 

      And this from Mike Bodin, MTOA Public Affairs:

      Thank you AGLCA, SSCA, MTOA and DeFever, for
      your continued support. Florida’s anchoring Bill now
      is law.
      Florida’s new Mooring & Anchoring bill has become law. The Governor just approved HB 7043.
      It is law. As of now, the new law explicitly states no local municipality or county in the state of
      Florida may ban, restrict, or otherwise regulate an anchorage in Florida coastal waters. This
      plainly worded section of the new law eliminates each community from setting its own
      regulations. If this section was not plainly worded it would have resulted in many lost
      anchorages over time with boaters challenging cities for the right to anchor. Instead, we got
      the pre-emotion provision … preventing any local government from banning an anchorage.
      It was important for us to ensure there were no unreasonable setbacks in this bill. But, as I have
      said in the past, the single most valuable piece of this bill is the preemption provision. This seals
      off local governments. The only way that a new anchorage can be banned is by an Act of the
      entire Legislature and Governor. We can almost always kill such a bill. Moreover, we can likely
      kill any future effort to overturn the preemption or add new band and ranges in state statute.
      With the state level preemption and no local control, we are now in a position of strength. It is
      a home-field advantage for our side. Without preemption, however, the entire issue is a home
      game for all the anti-cruisers in EACH of their local communities… an infinite number battles
      that we would not be able to fight piecemeal.
      Moreover, SSCA, AGLCA, MTOA and DeFever prevented the enactment of any setbacks that
      could have resulted in the elimination of any existing anchorages state wide.
      Finally, you did a lot to rehabilitate some of the negative imagery about anchoring cruisers that
      had made its way to the Capitol.
      Congratulations to each of you, this team, and all the members of MTOA, SSCA, AGLCA,
      DeFever who supported your effort, stuck with you, and made your voices heard… to protect
      the freedoms of cruisers.
      The above is from our Tallahassee “Boaters Rights” Lobbyists Jerry Paul of Capitol Access who
      skillfully guided this legislation through six committee hearings with unanimous approval.
      Of major importance was the fact this was the accumulation of Florida’s 9-year, multi-million
      dollar, anchoring study resulting in a 256 page report. It was thought Florida’s new law may be
      a precedent for other states along the waterway. This was a primary cause to eliminate as
      much as possible harmful to boater’s language which would be in the new law. Counties, cities,
      waterside home owners and condominium groups were for local control to establish nonanchoring
      zones. Local control was totally defeated. Today the new law requires very high
      standards for counties to satisfy to even approach the state to establish new non-anchoring
      zones.
      Another major accomplishment, within the original FWC report, waterside residents were
      insistent for non-anchoring setbacks of 150’ up to 300’ along the waterway. This would have
      eliminated many now popular anchorages. The new law eliminated these setbacks for boaters.
      During this same time, we were instrumental with Florida’s new Derelict Vessel law, the
      previous bill was defeated because we felt it was too harsh for the boat owner, fines to high
      and did not give adequate time for owner removal. The new Derelict Vessel Law corrects these
      items.
      Mike Bodin
      MTOA Public Advocate

      And this from BoatUS

      NEWS From BoatUS

      Boat Owners Association of The United States
      880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria VA 22304
      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
      Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com

      Florida Bill Strengthens Derelict Vessel Fight,

      Promotes Environmentally Sound Public Access

      BoatUS thanks governor and legislature

      TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 27, 2017 – The results of an eight-year pilot program are in, and Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature have acted. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) congratulates the governor and legislators on Friday’s passage of HB 7043 that promotes environmentally sound public access and helps address the issue of improperly stored, abandoned or derelict vessels. “These are sound regulations supported by responsible boaters,” said BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy.

      When the pilot program was enacted in 2009, a patchwork of local anchoring regulations sometimes made stopping difficult. Some boaters reported fearing a visit from law enforcement advising that they had “overstayed” their visit and needed to move on.

      Conducted by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and five local governments including the City of St. Augustine, City of Stuart/Martin County, City of St. Petersburg, City of Sarasota and Monroe County/Marathon/Key West, the pilot tested a variety of methods of regulated anchoring, while still protecting the anchoring rights of the active cruising public. It also sought to reduce the growing population of derelict vessels in the state.

      BoatUS expressly thanks Gov. Scott, Reps. Matt Caldwell (Lee County) Holly Raschein (Monroe County), Sen. Lauren Book (Broward County) and the FWC for their work on the bill.

      Some of bill’s measures include:

      providing commonsense anchoring regulations in and around mooring fields and waterway infrastructure.
      broadening the definition of a “derelict vessel”; for boats in use, adding new penalties for those whose vessel registration is expired beyond six months; and making it illegal to affix a vessel to an unpermitted, unauthorized or otherwise “unlawful object,” affixed to the bottom of the waters of the state. This could include an unpermitted mooring or an old engine block.
      giving local governments the option to require proof of pumpout after vessels have been anchored for 10 days or longer in federally managed no-discharge-zones (portions of the Florida Keys and waters off Destin).

      16 Facebook Likes, 16 Facebook Reactions

      Comments from Cruisers (3)

      1. Bill Cole -  June 25, 2017 - 7:01 am

        That sounds like great new for boaters, just to clarify when you say no bans, restrictions etc. on coastal waters does this include the ICW or not?
        Thanks,
        Bill Cole.

        Reply to Bill
      2. MoSailor -  June 24, 2017 - 11:01 am

        Hey Marco! How do you like us now???

        Reply to MoSailor
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