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  • [EXPIRED] Major Development in Florida Anchoring Rights Struggle – City of Marco Island Appeals Their Appeal

    Several weeks ago, we informed the cruising community, by way of a posting here on the Net's Floridian pages, and a special "Alert," that the city of Marco Island's appeal of Judge Crown's ruling, declaring their anchoring statutes inconsistent with Florida state law, had been denied. However, it was denied on technical grounds associated with filing some of their papers too late. At the time, there was discussion as to whether the city of Marco Island would dare to spend even more of the local taxpayer's money, an renew their appeal effort.
    Well, as you will read below in the message from Captain Herman Diebler (of SAMI – Saling Association of Marco Island), the city had indeed decided to "appeal their appeal." I, and many others, actually consider this good news for the cruising community. If the Florida State Court of Appeals upholds Judge Crowns' ruling, as most lawyers I have spoken with expect, then this ruling will apply statewide, NOT just in Collier County!

    Claiborne
    Well I guess I underestimated the Marco Island city council once again. I had said in my last email that I doubt whether the council would continue their fruitless appeal of the appeal of their ill fated anchoring ordinance, well I was wrong.
     At the last council meeting their lawyer requested a closed session with the council to discuss the case. Prior to that session the attached article from the Marco Eagle reported the city is continuing their appeal of the appeal. Last night they had their closed door session, which we are not privy to, but apparently they are continuing with their appeal of the appeal.
    This is all happening very quietly. I believe they are trying to keep under the public radar, since their ego driven actions would be very unpopular given our city's present financial concerns plus the realization that this is being driven only by a very very small group of people financed by a wealth waterfront homeowner.
    Herman 
  • [EXPIRED] January, 2014 Masonboro Inlet Dredging Project May Disrupt Anchoring on Popular Banks Channel (Statute Mile 285, Wrightsville Beach, NC)

    Masonboro Inlet - Click for Chartview

    Banks Channel in Wrightsville Beach is a popular recreation area and anchorage north of the Masonboro Inlet. Sounds like the nearby Masonboro dredging operations may possibly disrupt anchorage on these popular waters.
    The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net would WELCOME local reports once the dredging gets underway in early January, as to how much anchoring on Banks Channel waters is indeed impeded by this project! Please follow the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, or send e-mail directly to Contact@CruisersNet.net!

    NC – NEUSE RIVER TO MYRTLE GROVE SOUND – NEW RIVER TO CAPE FEAR RIVER – MASONBORO INLET/BANKS CHANNEL – DREDGING
    The Dredge WILKO will be conducting dredging operations in the vicinity of Masonboro Inlet from 09 January until 23 January, 2014. The dredge and assisting vessels MISS LEANNE and PROUD MARY will monitor VHF-FM channels 13 and 16. A floating and submerged pipeline will traverse westerly across Banks Channel and along the north shoreline of Masonboro Inlet to the disposal site. Mariners are cautioned to stay clear of dredge, booster, floating (pontoon) and submerged pipelines, barges, derricks and operating wires associated with dredging and marine construction operations. Operators of vessels of all types should be aware that dredges and floating pipelines are held in place by cables, attached to anchors some distance away from the equipment. Buoys are attached to the anchors so that the anchors may be moved as the
    dredge advances and the location of the submerged pipelines are marked by buoys on each side of the channel. Mariners are cautioned to strictly comply with the Inland Rules of the Road when approaching, passing and leaving the area of operations, and remain a safe distance away from the dredge, booster, buoys, cables, pipeline, barges, derricks, wires and related equipment. Owners and lessees of fishnets, crabpots and other structures that may be in the vicinity and that may hinder the free navigation of attending vessels and equipment must be remove these from the area where tugs, tenderboats and other attendant equipment will be navigating. Dredging projects are usually conducted twenty-four (24) hours a day seven (7) days a week, all fishnets, crabpots and structures in the general area must be removed prior to commencement of any work. A NO WAKE transit is requested of all vessels passing the dredge and it is requested that vessels contact the dredge 30 minutes prior to time of passage. Chart: 11541. LNM: 52/13

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Masonboro Inlet and Banks Channel

  • 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. READ MORE!

    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).

  • Banned Anchoring Zones in Sunset Lake and Middle River, Fort Lauderdale, FL, near AICW Statute Mile 987


    A big thank you to Bill Murdock and our friends at Waterway Guide for submitting this Sunset Lake anchoring ban notification. Click Here for a March 2017 report on anchoring there.

    Florida anchoring ban takes effect July 1
    Date Posted: 2016-06-23
    Source: Waterway Guide Staff

    Florida legislation banning overnight anchoring in certain areas popular with cruising boaters takes effect July 1, 2016. It will be illegal for any vessel to be at anchored any time during the period between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise in the areas noted, with some exceptions. READ MORE!

    Areas where overnight anchoring will be banned starting July 1, 2016. Four areas in Miami Beach (left) and Middle River in Fort Lauderdale (right). Graphic and interpretation: Mike Ahart, News Editor, WaterwayGuide.com

    Waterway Guide sent the above graphic to law enforcement for confirmation of the areas, particularly the sections between certain islands along the Venetial Causeway. The area designations have been confirmed by members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Miami Beach Police Marine Patrol. “Your “tip to tip” interpretation (of the banned areas between the islands) is an interpretation we share,” wrote Capt. Tom Shipp of FWC in an email response. “In our training we show Officers map slides with the areas affected by the statute “circled” for reference…we then discuss the applicability issues, including the boundaries.”

    “I spoke with our Captain who oversees (the Marine Patrol) operations – the graphic you provided appears to be correct,” said Ernesto Rodriguez, Public Information Officer for the Miami Beach Police Department.

    “There will be no special enforcement per se…we will be dealing with any folks in violation on a case by case basis and enforce the Florida State statute to the best of our ability,” said Rodriguez.

    Currently, there are several small sailing dinghies in Sunset Lake anchored adjacent to the residence of Fredric Karlton – a vocal advocate of anchoring bans in Miami Beach. In a public workshop held by the State Affairs Committee of the Florida House of Representatives on October 8, 2015, Karlton stated that he anchored the boats there to restrict others from the ability to anchor near his house. According to the new law, Karlton must remove the boats or risk citations. “The owner of those (boats) has already been spoken to and is aware of the law, and we hope there will be compliance by the time this takes effect,” said Officer Rodriguez.

    According to Rodriguez, one other sailboat is anchored in the soon-to-be banned areas between the Venetian Islands, and Miami Beach Police is attempting to get in contact with owners.

    Each of the other banned areas is adjacent to the residences of other vocal advocates of anchoring bans. The section of Middle River in Fort Lauderdale is adjacent to the family home of a co-sponsor of the legislation, Rep. George Moraitis, Jr.

    The Anchoring Limitation Areas bill was approved by Florida Governor Rick Scott on March 24, 2016. Many boating and cruising advocacy groups were against the legislation, and had representatives speak at each of the hearings during the 2016 Florida Legislative Session, including the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA), America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association (AGLCA), BoatUS, and the Marine Trawler Owners Association (MTOA).

    Boaters and cruisers have expressed concern with losing these particular anchorages, but many are more concerned that other safe anchorages will be added to the ban year after year in municipalities all over Florida, and in other states.

    The provisions of the law will sunset if and when new legislation is enacted as a result of the recommendations from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Anchoring & Mooring Pilot Program – its report is due to be submitted to the Florida legislature by January 2017.

    According to the legislation, starting July 1, 2016, it will be illegal to anchor at any time during the period between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise in the areas noted, with exceptions outlined below:

    The section of Middle River lying between Northeast 21st Court and the Intracoastal Waterway in Broward County. (Middle River is one of the very few viable anchorages for cruising-sized boats in the Fort Lauderdale area.)
    Sunset Lake in Miami-Dade County. (This Miami Beach anchorage is popular for cruisers waiting for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas, and in the past afforded easy access to Miami Beach for services and provisioning. The City of Miami Beach recently passed an amendment to an ordinance which now makes it unlawful to tie a dinghy to the canal wall to visit the city, leaving only limited dinghy access – see related WaterwayGuide.com article: Miami Beach cracks down on dinghy access. Miami Beach has also been issuing warnings and citations to vessels anchored more than seven days “within city limits,” citing a 2005 municipal code which considers such vessels as “live-aboards” even if they are being used for active cruising – see related WaterwayGuide.com article: Miami Beach cracks down on anchored vessels).
    The sections of Biscayne Bay in Miami-Dade County lying between Rivo Alto Island and Di Lido Island, San Marino Island and San Marco Island, and San Marco Island and Biscayne Island (these areas are also considered in the jurisdiction of Miami Beach).
    The exceptions:

    If the vessel suffers a mechanical failure that poses an unreasonable risk of harm to the vessel or the persons onboard unless the vessel anchors. The vessel may anchor for 3 business days or until the vessel is repaired, whichever occurs first.
    If imminent or existing weather conditions in the vicinity of the vessel pose an unreasonable risk of harm to the vessel or the persons onboard unless the vessel anchors. The vessel may anchor until weather conditions no longer pose such risk. During a hurricane or tropical storm, weather conditions are deemed to no longer pose an unreasonable risk of harm when the hurricane or tropical storm warning affecting the area has expired.
    During events described in statute 327.48 or other special events, including, but not limited to, public music performances, local government waterfront activities, or fireworks displays. A vessel may anchor for the lesser of the duration of the special event or 3 days.
    Vessels owned or operated by a governmental entity for law enforcement, firefighting, military, or rescue purposes.
    Construction or dredging vessels on an active job site.
    Vessels actively engaged in commercial fishing.
    Vessels engaged in recreational fishing if the persons onboard are actively tending hook and line fishing gear or nets.
    The bill provides that “any person cited for a violation of any provision of this subsection shall be deemed to be charged with a noncriminal infraction, shall be cited for such an infraction, and shall be cited to appear before the county court. The civil penalty for any such infraction is $50, except as otherwise provided in this section. Any person who fails to appear or otherwise properly respond to a uniform boating citation shall, in addition to the charge relating to the violation of the boating laws of this state, be charged with the offense of failing to respond to such citation and, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. A written warning to this effect shall be provided at the time such uniform boating citation is issued.”

    SSCA, MTOA and AGLCA formed the Boater’s Heritage Freedom PAC to raise funds to contribute to legislators who are for preserving anchoring rights. All Florida legislators are running for election this fall and the campaigns are in full swing. “We need to support our legislative supporters with our pocketbooks, so please act now,” stated Phillip Werndli, Chairman of the PAC. “When the election is over, it will be too late. If you are a Florida resident, you can also help by attending local candidate forums to urge them to support boater’s rights. There will be a strong fight this next (Florida legislative) session and we need the members to know we are a force.”

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Monument Island

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

  • MTOA Anchoring Florida Legislative Update 2/24/2017

    Our thanks to Mike Bodin of Marine Trawler Owners Association for this updated perspective on Florida’s anchoring restrictions. See Florida Wildlife and Fish Commission Proposed Anchoring Program and Anchoring Rights Lobbying Volunteers Needed

    Anchoring Florida Legislative Update 2/24/2017 READ MORE


    Presentation of the Proposed Committee Bill (“PCB NRPL 17-01 – Vessels”) was positive. The Chair of the committee and its members have been accessible to us and responsive to our positions. Our lobbyists, Capitol Access have been in constant contact with committee members prior to the drafting of the bill and continuing.

    So far, the team effort lead by MTOA along with AGLCA, SSCA, DeFever and many others has worked well to help shape the initial draft of the Bill that has been filed in the House as a Committee Bill by the House Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee The Bill itself is consistent with the input from our team, which collectively considered all provisions recommended by the FWC (Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission). All positions
    of our cruisers groups are reflected in the bill as it is currently drafted. Good job to all and appreciate your thoughtful, timely response.

    On Wednesday, the Committee meet to hear the bill publicly and vote on whether the Committee itself would move forward as its official sponsor. Our lobbyists, Capitol Access, attended and represented us including Jerry Paul, our lead lobbyist, who provided comments to the committee stating our general agreement with the provisions and thanking the committee for excluding provisions that would have created no-anchoring set-backs from residential
    property; excluding provisions that would carve out specific no-anchoring zones; and including provisions ensuring that anchoring regulations remain in the jurisdiction of the State rather than allowing local jurisdictions to create a confusing patchwork of anti-anchoring ordinances.

    Mr. Paul also mentioned our intent to seek a reduction of the 300-foot buffer around mooring fields which is a provision in the current version of the bill. The committee voted unanimously to proceed forward with the bill.
    Next, it will receive referrals to multiple committees that will hold hearings and consider amendments that may be filed. Chair of the originating committee has agreed to meet with us and continue working with us. We will be vigilant in all committees to review and represent ourselves as to any amendments that may be adverse to our interests. There may be a need for cruisers to attend such hearings in Tallahassee.

    Also, we are anxiously awaiting the filing of a bill on the Senate side. The process there will repeat that of the House as described above. The committee hearing process will continue until a final bill on the House and Senate reach their respective chamber floors for final votes which will occur sometime prior to the end of the official 60-day Legislative Session which begins on March 7.

    We will continue to keep you updated. For now, you can be proud of the success you are having as a team that took the time to step up and speak out. However, we have future challenges ahead, and your presence at Florida’s Capitol may be requested for one (1) day. If you can attend you are requested to bring a burgee attached to a wooden rod aprox.3/8” Día X 24” Long. This will give committee members an additional visual demonstration of the boating
    community’s support for unnecessary new anchoring regulations.
    Mike Bodin
    MTOA Public Advocate
    mbmtoa@gmail.com

  • Florida’s Anchoring Program, MTOA Updates, 1/30/2017

    Our thanks to Mike Bodin of Marine Trawler Owners Association for this updated perspective on Florida’s anchoring restrictions. See Florida Wildlife and Fish Commission Proposed Anchoring Program. See link below to donate to these lobbying efforts.

    Florida’s Anchoring Program Update 1/30/17 MTOA Read More

    Boaters’ rights to anchor in public waterways are under attack again in Florida. SSCA, MTOA,
    and AGLCA, are raising money to fund a professional lobbyist to defend our rights. The
    lobbyist team Capitol Access, Tallahassee, is now representing boaters from unjustified
    regulations. Help us to stop the attack on Florida’s anchorage areas. Please donate TODAY:

    www.mtoa.net “BOATERS’ RIGHTS FUND”  {Note: Click on Chart below Boaters’ Rights Fund, then ignore Log In to Contribute and go directly to name/address form.}

    Many wealthy Florida waterside residents, condominium units and cities complained to their local
    governments about anchoring boats spoiling their water views. Federal government owns the land
    under waterways and relinquished semi-control to Florida state. This anti-anchoring consortium
    contacted their state representatives to change the law to prohibit anchoring in front of their
    waterside property
    Florida enacted a study called Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program in 2009. The study is to be
    completed July 1, 2017. Final recommendations to be submitted by January 1, 2018. The multi-million
    dollar 244-page report is available for review. “Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program Final Report of
    Findings and Recommendations 12/21/2016” in Adobe PDF. During last year’s legislative season the
    report was accepted as submitted. 2017 is the final year. Florida legislature has stated they will accept
    the state recommendations for state law. The report has several anti-anchoring provisions that must
    be changed to better represent the needs of the boating community. One glaring item of concern; If
    enacted, county governments can easily contact the state for an exemption to control and regulate
    local anchoring without any input from the boating community. The unintended consequence of the
    legislation would be the precedent it would set for other states along the eastern seaboard to follow
    banning anchoring.
    A large “AHOY MATE” call is now being made to fellow boaters. As a boating community, we can be
    complacent, stand back and complain when our previously used anchoring areas are no longer
    available or put on some heavy weather gear and ride the storm out while still keeping the heading.
    This will ensure future anchorage availability for us and our children. How is this accomplished? As any
    boater knows you must have the right gear. 1) We need a knowledgeable professional lobbyist. 2)
    Money is required for this lobbyist: $35k, 3) How do we get the funds? The boating community unites
    and individual boaters to donate as they can. Marine Trawler Owners Association (MTOA) has engaged
    the services of Capitol Access, an outstanding lobbying firm with offices in Tallahassee to represent all
    boaters interest from unjustified regulation upon the waterways., Today combined funds from
    members of American Great Loop Cruising Association (AGLCA), and Seven Seas Cruising Association
    (SSCA) are assisting with contributions from their membership. Additional funds are required to
    continue a pro- anchoring strategy to roll back unjustified regulation of anti-anchoring language in the
    proposed bill. Your support is requested. Marine Trawlers Owners Association has set up the following
    site for your donations from the boating community at large: Go to:
    www.mtoa.net highlight tab “FL Anchoring Rights Fund”
    We need your financial support. The following is a time progression review demonstrating the need
    for a professional lobbyists and active boater participation to win the pro-anchoring debate.
    2017
    2016 over whelming defeat for pro-anchoring advocates required a change in tactics for boaters right
    to anchor. MTOA closely reviewed the situation and with board consensus agreed a professional
    Lobbyists was required to prevent 2016 outcome for the 2107 legislative season.
    We have now finalized the engagement and compliance registrations for our lobbyist in the Capitol
    (Jerry Paul of Capitol Access). As you may know, Jerry is a member of MTOA, SSCA, AGLCA and DeFever
    Cruisers. He is an active cruiser, a former marine engineer, merchant mariner, attorney and former
    elected member of the Florida Legislature. He lead our successful efforts in Tallahassee 2 years ago
    under the lead of SSCA.
    This year MTOA is the lead client and coordinator working closely with Jerry. Special thanks to SSCA
    and AGLCA for joining the team and for providing additional funding support for the effort. Thank you
    also for the contributions by members of our organizations and others such as the DeFever Cruisers.
    We are up and running. Jerry is in communication with key legislators who will be involved in this
    process throughout Florida’s Annual 60-day Legislative Session which begins on March 7. There are 3
    remaining “Committee Weeks” that will occur prior to March 7 during which legislators will be filing
    bills and even holding hearings in preparation for the regular session.
    Through the counsel of our lobbyist, we will apply the approach that worked well when we were last
    organized a couple of sessions ago. For example, he will keep us updated regularly as he collects
    information. Through him we will coordinate effective messaging (some wholesale and some retail)
    that leverages our vast number of cruisers and the merits of our position. But, it is important that we
    maintain control of the message. It needs to be tailored to the specific issues that are critical to the
    moment as legislation makes its way through multiple committees comprised of different elected
    members (and staff), each with unique perspectives. Our messaging must be respectful and
    professional. Finally, it must be timed precisely and targeted surgically in varying ways (email, phone,
    and even personal appearances in Committees). This is a running process so timing is important. Mike
    Bodin, MTOA, Public Advocate will be coordinating these activities.
    So far, it appears as though there will be a bill filed that implements some of the recommendations of
    the Report by the FWC (Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission) which was prepared to summarize the
    results of the Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Project that expires this year. This is the report that was
    recently heard by the Senate Environment Committee (the committee that originated the language a
    couple years ago, that including certain anchoring bans). A draft of the bill is not yet available. We are
    in communication with the key likely sponsors and we’re already messaging our opposition to such
    bans. So far, it appears we have some key members who associate with our view. We are hopeful that
    the initial draft(s) will not include the adverse provisions. If it does, we will work to get it removed. If it
    does not, we must be vigilant until the end of the Session to ensure that the adverse language does not
    get amended into it.
    We will report on these developments and follow up with effective calls-to-action by our members and
    all who share our desire to preserve Florida’s rich maritime history of freedom to safely anchor
    throughout the public’s coastal waters of the State
    2016 REVIEW
    Yeas, represent the Anti- Anchoring votes by the committees and legislature:
    1/26/16 House Committee Vote yeas 12 Nays 0
    2/25/16 House Committee Vote yeas 15 Nays 1 Note: Extreme spread
    3/04/16 House Vote yeas 105 Nays 12
    3/0716 Senate Vote yeas 36 Nays 2
    3/09/16 Signed by officers and presented to Governor HJ 980
    3/24/16 Approved and signed by Florida’s Governor Rick Scott (chapter 2016-96)
    7/01/16 Effective Date for state law banning anchoring by county designation. The state law banned
    overnight anchoring within areas of Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
    Once it was seen there was no opposition from pro- anchoring groups, anti-anchoring legislation
    emerged and gathered enough momentum to easily pass. Do not underestimate the extent to which
    that momentum is perceived to still exist in Tallahassee. It was quite evident at the Senate
    Environment Committee (the Committee that originated the bill we defeated 2 years ago). Notice that
    this Committee chose to place the topic on its agenda early in the process. The cruising/anchoring
    interests have been unrepresented for a while and that has been noticed.
    Note: The boating community was complacent. No Lobbyists, No boating community involvement.
    Capitol Access was not retained.
    2015 REVIEW
    No set back or anchoring restrictions—Capitol Access, Active Lobbyists, Active boating community
    2014-2012 REVIEW
    No set back or anchoring restrictions—Capitol Access, Active Lobbyists, Active boating community
    It can plainly be observed if boaters are again complacent in 2017, the 2016 results can be expected.
    We salute such groups as American Great Loop Cruising Association, Seven Seas Cruising Association,
    Marine Trawler Owners Association, and DeFever Cruisers for their active and financial support. These
    great organizations have started the process. Now your financial support is needed to continue.
    Donation site www.mtoa.net highlight tab

    Mike Bodin
    MTOA Public Advocate

  • Seven Seas Cruising Association Asks Your Support to Defeat Florida’s Anti-Anchoring Legislation

    The Concerned Cruisers’ Committee (CCC) of Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) has, for many years, supported the rights of cruisers to navigate, anchor and enjoy the “Seven Seas” both in the U.S. and abroad. We have had recent success in Annapolis and in Georgia, and we are engaged in South Carolina, Washington and California.

    CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOTE: Ignore the “Log In to Donate” and go directly to name/address form.
     

    1/23 A good news update from MTOA Public Advocate, Mike Bodin:

    But as of now (1/23/2017), SSCA, AGLCA and MTOA have raised over half of the funds from their membership for the Lobbyists. Capital Assets has agreed to represent the boating community and their office is in Tallahassee.Read More!

    And this from Mike Bodin:

    Mates,
    As you know Florida’s legislative session has started. The Environmental Preservation and Conservation committee heard the first presentation by The Fish and Wildlife Conversation commission (FWC) on the Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program. [See /161714] Anti-anchoring representatives were present and offered presentations.

    The window is closing for us to be effective with ongoing legislation. Capitol Access team did a great job representing our anchoring concerns in 2014,and 15. Without professional representation I fear legislation will be made and passed into law prohibiting anchoring by county designation with state approval. This Florida law can be the basis of others to follow along the ICW corridor. Like cancer, a small start than it spreads and very difficult to stop.

    Time is against us to raise monies for a professions lobbyist. MTOA donation survey results are very promising, AGLCA is now surveying their members and results will be available shortly.

    SSCA CCC has lead the boating community in the past. Anti-Anchoring is a pain in every boater’s thoughts. Future state laws to prevent anchoring along the ICW surely can be compared to the spread of cancer. We must unite and knock it out before it gains traction.

    Enclosed is a boaters rights donation form to your GoFunfMe site. Due to the tremendous time limitation now in place we request SSCA blast email the form to your membership. Within a couple of days, we will have a good idea if a lobbyist can be added to our anti-anchoring efforts.

    Thank you for consideration and hopefully participation.

    Mike Bodin
    MTOA Public Advocate

    CLICK HERE FOR MORE FROM MTOA

    And from America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association:

    Boater’s Rights Interest Survey
    Florida’s 1,000-mile intracoastal waterway has often been called the boaters’ highway. Wealthy waterside residents in conjunction with several counties want to enact anti-anchoring laws. Last year Florida’s governor signed into law temporary nighttime anti-anchoring restrictions in several counties. Boaters must unite to stop the spread of anti-anchoring legislation.

    CLICK HERE FOR AGLCA’s SURVEY ON BOATERS’ RIGHTS

    CLICK HERE for more information on Seven Seas Cruising Association

     

  • AGLCA Fights for Boaters’ Rights Update

    America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association has joined other boating organizations is requesting donations toward lobbying for boaters’ rights in Florida. See /162138 for more information.

    As a result of the recent survey on anti-boating legislation, AGLCA is beginning to accept donations along with other boating organizations to hire a lobbyist to represent our interests at the Florida Legislature. Read More!

    This link can be used to make your contribution to the Boaters’ Rights Lobbyist Fund. When making your contribution, consider how much money you save in slip fees by having the ability to anchor. If you would like more information on this issue, you can view my recent forum posting.

    Thank you for joining AGLCA in this lobbying effort. I will keep you posted as we move forward with this issue.
    Kim
    Kimberly Russo
    Director
    America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association
    krusso@greatloop.org 

    1/26/2017
    Update:

    The three associations leading this charge (AGLCA, MTOA, and SSCA) are doing well in the fund raising effort. To date, 161 AGLCA members have contributed. We’re so thankful for all of those contributions, but there are about 100 more of you who answered our survey last week expressing your intention to contribute. If you have not yet done so, please make your contribution by clicking here as soon as possible.

    Although we are not yet at the $35,000 goal, we believe that number is attainable. In addition to contributing substantial time, effort, and administrative expenses, AGLCA and MTOA have agreed to help bridge the gap, if one exists after all contributions are in, to reach the needed amount. Since the amount needed is within reach, we have retained a lobbying firm (Capitol Access) in Tallahassee to represent our interests this legislative session. The goals have been defined as follows:

    Prevent the passage of Florida legislation that would ban or curtail overnight anchoring on public waters in locations defined by proximity to upland private dwelling units including but not limited to other provisions that unduly restrict anchoring on public waters.
    Monitor and track all legislation that could adversely affect our members’ interests.
    Increase our presence among officials in Florida government to build an enduring image of strong influence for the boating and cruising community on matters related to the lifestyle of boaters and cruisers on Florida’s waterways.
    Our lobbyist/consultant has agreed to:

    Monitor, track and report to the AGLCA all legislation and amendments filed or otherwise considered in Florida that could affect the interests of our members.
    Meet with key officials within Florida government to introduce AGLCA as a leader for the interests of cruisers and other boaters that it is now represented in Florida’s Capitol.
    Provide proactive lobbying and advocacy to actively support the legislative positions of AGLCA including but not limited to opposing Florida legislation that would ban or curtail overnight anchoring on public waters in locations defined by proximity to upland private dwelling units. This will include the organization of messaging and public appearances in the Capitol by members of the cruising community who support AGLCA’s positions.
    Report to AGLCA at least monthly the meetings and activities conducted on behalf of AGLCA.
    Jerry Paul, President of Capitol Access, is a trawler owner, lifelong cruiser, marine engineer, attorney, former elected member of the Florida Legislature and former Presidential-Appointed, U.S. Senate-Confirmed Official within the U.S. Department of Energy. He has extensive experience in the transportation field, maritime industry, boating, cruising, energy, government affairs and communications including a balance of experience in operations, regulatory, legislative, finance and restructuring work. Jerry is a graduate of Maine Maritime Academy and has held U.S.C.G. licenses as an engineer and captain. Jerry has also extended our coalition of boating associations a very generous discount for his services. Thank you, Jerry!
    Kim Russo
    Director
    America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association
    krusso@greatloop.org

  • BoatUS News: Another Setback in Florida Anchoring Issue

    Boat U.S.BoatUS remains the premiere advocate for boaters and boating safety on all waters and SSECN is proud to have BoatUS as a SPONSOR! See /155536 for more on this issue.

    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

    Despite Anti-Anchoring Vote, BoatUS Optimistic For Uniform Anchoring Solution for Florida

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 7, 2016 – Despite a second setback today on the Florida anchoring issue, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) says it’s looking forward to the results of the state’s on-going Pilot Anchoring program this fall. The Florida Senate voted this morning to pass Florida House Bill 1051 – which was accepted in the House on Friday – that carves out special “no anchoring” ordinances on waters adjacent to privileged groups of homeowners.
    “Even after hearing from thousands of Florida boaters requesting they not approve this legislation, the Florida Senate has just decided to treat a few areas differently than the rest of the state when it comes to public access to the waterways,” said BoatUS President Margaret Bonds Podlich. “Despite today’s vote, we remain committed to seeing the Pilot Program through to completion. We want to work with all communities so that responsible cruising boaters are welcome in their waters.”
    The Florida Mooring and Anchoring Pilot Program, created through legislation in 2009, allowed five localities to experiment with anchoring ordinances to find practical recommendations to develop a uniform statewide anchoring solution. At the same time, it limited other local governments from enacting general anchoring restrictions. Originally scheduled to end in 2014, the Pilot Program was extended until 2017, with recommendations due from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission to the legislature this fall.
    Florida HB 1051 prohibits anchoring from a half hour after sunset until a half hour before sunrise on the Middle River N.E. 21st Court and the Intracoastal Waterway in Broward County; Sunset Lake in Miami-Dade County, and sections of Biscayne Bay in Miami-Dade County between Rivo Alto Island and Di Lido Island, San Marino Island and San Marco Island, and San Marco Island and Biscayne Island.
    The bill contains a provision that will remove these anchoring restrictions once statewide anchoring regulations are enacted.

    About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS):
    Celebrating 50 years in 2016, BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with over a half million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins, and on the water, we bring boaters safely back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, day or night. The BoatUS Insurance Program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need, and we help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.

  • UPDATE on Anchoring Ban in Florida ICW – HB1051

    As reporter Branon Edwards relates in this article in the Broward/Palm Beach New Times, HB1051 is being presented today (1/26) by a group of Florida legislators. Bill is reported on 1/27 as passed with 12 Yea votes. Click Here for related opinion.

    February 3 UPDATE from our friends at AGLCA Forum

    UPDATE ON FLORIDA ANCHORING LEGISLATION
    An amended version of the HB1051 (now CS/HB1051) passed a committee last week. SSCA and AGLCA members, along with our other boating partners, spoke against the amended bill which included a safe harbor provision and the ability for law enforcement, government boats and rescue boats to anchor overnight. The prohibition on overnight anchoring remained, which we don’t support. We are working to modify that provision. At present calls and emails should be directed to members of the House State Affairs Committee stating the following:

    “I am (a Florida resident/Florida tourist) and cruise extensively in Florida waters. I oppose the present language in CS/HB1051 because the bill does not give cruising boats the ability to anchor for a reasonable time while in navigation under federal law. We are also concerned that this bill opens the door for communities to pursue similar legislation without adequate justification which would result in unfair, random and unreasonable anchoring restrictions. A better way to address the issues in these areas is to pursue enactment of a comprehensive mooring/anchoring planning and adoption process that would apply to all communities, not just selected ones.”

    If you are a Florida resident, please look at the member list below, if you live in one of the member’s area, you should send a separate note to them stating you are a constituent.

    Here is link to the committee website:

    http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Committees/committeesdetail.aspx?CommitteeId=2851

    anchoring

    Yachts anchored in Fort Lauderdale’s Middle River basin, which would be illegal if proposed legislation passes. Branon Edwards

    BY BRANON EDWARDS TUESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2016 | 3 HOURS AGO
    A battle is heating up between rich owners of waterfront property and boaters who, instead of docking, use anchors to keep their boats cheaply (free!) in the Intracoastal Waterway. The rich have argued that these anchored boats ruin their view — especially vessels that have been abandoned and become decrepit. Many boaters, however, contend that they are responsible and have rights to use the waterway.

    As they say, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” In this case, the squeaky wheel appears to be wealthy property owners along Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway, and the grease is a nasty bit of proposed legislation known in the House as HB1051 and in the Senate as SB1260. Both bills in Tallahassee aim to make it illegal to anchor overnight in parts of the Intracoastal Waterway despite the waterway having been used for this purpose since its inception.

    CLICK HERE for the full article by Branon Edwards

  • [EXPIRED] Public Workshops on Anchoring in Florida Scheduled for October in Tallahassee

    The excellent coverage of the anchoring legislative issues in Florida by Mike Ahart of Waterway Guide continues with this notice and editorial published this week. It is reprinted with permission.

    Florida House to hold anchoring regulation public workshop in October
    Region: General
    Date Reported: Sep 15, 2015
    Reported By: Mike Ahart, News Editor
    Source: Florida House of Representatives

    Many cruisers celebrated this spring when the Florida Legislature completed its session without passing a law restricting anchoring; however, we all knew the subject would rise again this year. At the time, stakeholders had agreed to work over the summer on solutions that hopefully could balance the wants, needs, and rights of boaters, waterfront homeowners, businesses and other groups.

    A number of workshops on how to solve the derelict, abandoned, and “at-risk” vessel problems were held in August by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), but the focus was on creating registration and titling regulations to assure that an owner of a problem vessel can be held accountable for clean-up and removal.

    Now, the Florida House of Representatives plans to explore anchoring restrictions – a public workshop in Tallahassee is slated to be held sometime during the week of October 5-9, 2015. This workshop’s focus is squarely on whether to restrict anchoring in public waters adjacent to waterfront residences, according to an email from the Chair of the State Affairs Committee or the Florida House of Representatives:

    The State Affairs Committee of the Florida House of Representatives will hold a public workshop during the interim committee week of October 5-9, for the purpose of taking testimony on the following questions: Should the Legislature enact new laws to address conflicts between landowners and boaters who anchor near the landowners’ property? If so, what approach should the Legislature take? Is the establishment of setbacks, which prohibit vessels from anchoring or mooring within a certain distance from the shoreline or seawalls, a viable approach?

    The specific date and time of the meeting will be announced at least a week prior to the meeting. Interested parties are encouraged to attend the workshop and participate. However, large groups are encouraged to designate one person to testify on behalf of the group.

    Questions regarding the workshop should be directed to:

    John Love, Administrative Assistant
    State Affairs Committee
    John.Love@myfloridahouse.gov
    (850) 717-4890

    Thank you in advance for participating in this important discussion.

    Respectfully,

    Matt Caldwell, Chair
    State Affairs Committee
    Florida House of Representatives

    One more note: This past spring, boating enthusiasts and advocates organized to developed a strong yet civil message to legislators to help them understand how anchoring restrictions might negatively affect cruisers, civic groups, municipalities, and marine and waterway businesses. Threats and bad conduct – online or otherwise – often negatively affects the outcome of a cause. Think you might be able to participate in the Tallahassee workshop? Please send me an email.

    Stay tuned to WaterwayGuide.com for updates.

     

  • SSCA’s Position on FWC Anchoring Summary Released

    The Seven Seas Cruising Association has long been a strong advocate for boaters’ rights, especially the right to anchor without undue restrictions. SSECN applauds SSCA’s publication of their position on FWC’s recent summary of anchoring rights, see /?p=146797, and urges Florida boaters to contact their respective legislators asking for support for anchoring rights.

    PRESS RELEASE
    For More Information Contact: For Immediate Release
    Barbara Theisen, Editor 2/12/2015
    Seven Seas Cruising Association, Inc.
    2501 East Commercial Blvd., Suite 203
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
    954-771-5662 – Home Base
    editor@ssca.org
    SEVEN SEAS CRUISING ASSOCIATION RELEASES
    FLORIDA ANCHORING RIGHTS POSITION
    The Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) has published its position on the new Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Anchoring Survey results. The FWC will propose legislative changes to anchoring rights. Some are positive, but some will prevent Florida boaters from anchoring, only to preserve the waterfront view of a very few landowners. Every Florida Boater needs to contact their elected representatives to preserve their Florida anchoring rights.
    SSCA approves the following FWC proposal: (Numbering preserved from the FWC Executive Summary. )

    3. The storing of vessels on the water in deteriorating condition would be prohibited. (However, SSCA’s position is that Florida legislators must approve funding for the regulation and removal of these “derelict” boats).

    However, SSCA does not approve of the following FWC anchoring rights proposals as reasonable concepts:

    2. A setback distance where anchoring of vessels overnight in close proximity to waterfront residential property would be prohibited.

    5. If authority was granted to local governments to regulate anchoring in their jurisdiction, an allowance could be created for other anchoring regulations where need is demonstrated.

    Florida anchoring rights are important to all boaters. Florida is a bellwether state for water rights, and if
    Florida restricts federal rights of boats to travel and anchor on public waters, just to preserve the view of a
    few landowners (residential setback), other states may follow. Also, proposal 5 (approval of local regulation) would create an impossible patchwork of differing regulations across the state, subject to the whims and enforcement of local cities and counties. This is what the current mooring field regulations were enacted to eliminate. But SSCA agrees with FWC’s proposal to define and remove derelict boats, if funding is also approved for this regulation and removal.
    Seven Seas Cruising Association, Inc. is the oldest and largest non-profit organization of voyaging cruisers
    in the world. SSCA has nearly 8,000 members sharing the dream of sailing the seas as a lifestyle. The goals of the original founders are still the goals of SSCA today: sharing cruising information, camaraderie, and leaving a clean wake. For more information, go to www.ssca.org

    See: Executive Summary of FWC Anchoring Survey Results at:
    http://myfwc.com/media/2981012/Anchoring-Survey-Executive-Summary.pdf

    sscassca2

  • [EXPIRED] Update: Jetty Repairs Extended, Masonboro Inlet, near AICW Statute Mile 285, Wrightsville Beach, NC


    Banks Channel in Wrightsville Beach is a popular recreation area and anchorage north of the Masonboro Inlet. The temporary mooring buoys mentioned below may well interfere with recreational anchoring in Banks Channel.

    NC – MASONBORO INLET – SOUTH JETTY ROCK REPAIRS (UPDATED)
    Mariners are advised that Precon Marine Inc. will be completing south jetty rock repairs at Masonboro Inlet. This project has been extended until until 15 September, 2014. Mariners should use extreme caution and maintain no wake while transiting the work area. Precon will have the tugs Betty Jo, Dotti J, and Savannah working in the area with crane barge KS 1355 and material barge JMC-120. All Tugs can be reached on VHF 13, 16 and 06. Work is planned for day light hours only. Temporary mooring buoys will be placed in Banks Channel and will have a single white light.
    Moorings will be removed upon project completion. LNM: 35/14

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Masonboro Inlet and Banks Channel

  • [EXPIRED] IMPORTANT! Public FWC Sessions on Anchoring, July 21-22, Tallahassee, FL

    As anyone who prefers anchoring to staying in a marina knows, anchoring privileges and mooring fields have been the subjects of much public debate, as well as much recent state legislation. See /?p=139940 . If you can attend these two public sessions in Tallahassee, PLEASE DO!! In several coastal states, and especially in Florida, cruisers are at risk of losing all anchoring rights. Our thanks to John Kettlewell for forwarding Thomas Shipp’s notice. And, as Captain Kettlewell points out, east coast cruisers will have to travel across the state in order to attend.

    Hello,
    I want to make sure that you, representing boating and/or local government interests in Florida, are personally made aware of the upcoming public meeting FWC will be hosting to begin earnest dialogue on the topic of possible anchoring restrictions to help solve many of the issues faced by both boaters and local governments.
    The meeting is scheduled in Tallahassee for Monday afternoon, July 21st with an evening break, then picking back up on the morning of Tuesday, July 22. We prefer that participants plan to take part in both sessions, since the morning session will build upon the previous afternoon’s session. The following link will take you to the meeting notice:
    https://www.flrules.org/Gateway/View_notice.asp?id=14793002
    Tom

    agendaagenda2

    Here we go again! You’ll note how these public sessions are usually scheduled at times and in locations where it is unlikely many representing the boating and cruising interests will be able to show up. However, local government interests will be well represented in the capital. Does anyone know what the hidden agenda is? You know, the real one…
    John Kettlewell

  • Official US Army Corps of Engineers Okeechobee Waterway Anchoring Policy

    For several years now, there have been stories going around the cruising community, as well as multiple postings here on the Cruisers’ Net, to the effect that the USACOE has been hassling boat owners who anchor somewhere along the route of the Okeechobee Waterway. Well, the USACOE has now made this policy official, as you will see below.
    If we may interpret this “bureaucrat-ese” just a bit, it looks as if a vessel cannot anchor in any one spot for more than 24-hours without being asked to move along.
    As the USACOE is a Federal agency, and they claim jurisdiction over the Okeechobee Waterway, the Florida state law which denies counties and municipalities the right to regulate anchorage (except as part of the Trial Mooring Field Program), would NOT seem to apply here.
    So, if you had plans to anchor for more than one night anywhere between the St. Lucie and WF Franklin locks, think again!
    The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net WELCOMES comments and input from the cruising community concerning this rather bizarre policy. We will be SURE all such input is passed along to the correct authorities! Either click the “Comment” function below, or follow the “Click Here to Contribute Cruising News” link, found on the upper right of this, and all other (except Chart View) SSECN pages.
    Note, we have edited the memorandum reproduced below to show only what we consider the sections which will be of most interest to the cruising community!

    CESAJ-PM-WN(1130)
    18 March
    2013
    Okeechobee Waterway Anchoring and Mooring Policy
    See the attached memorandum regarding anchoring and mooring guidance within the Okeechobee Waterway.
    For additional information regarding this issue and others maybe obtained by accessing the Jacksonville District website:
    http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Navigation/NoticestoNavigation.aspx
    US Army Corps of Engineers point of contact
    is
    Mr. Robert Schnell,Supervisory Biologist at 863-983-8101 ext. 2

    The army corps of engineers has NO right to restrict anchoring… the water belongs to the state! It would take a act of congress to change our right to navigate!!!
    I’m fighting a mooring ticket from the corps….
    The section on National River Law discusses river ownership, use, and conservation law throughout the United States. Following is a review of what individual states can and cannot lawfully do with the rivers within their borders.
    1. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that rivers that are navigable, for title purposes, are owned by the states, “held in trust” for the public. This applies in all fifty states, under the “Equal Footing Doctrine.”
    2. Rivers that do meet the federal test are automatically navigable, and therefore owned by the state. No court or government agency has to designate them as such.
    3. The federal test of navigability is not a technical test. There are no measurements of river width, depth, flow, or steepness involved. The test is simply whether the river is usable as a route by the public, even in small craft such as canoes, kayaks, and rafts. Such a river is legally navigable even if it contains big rapids, waterfalls, and other obstructions at which boaters get out, walk around, then re-enter the water.
    4. The states own these rivers up to the “ordinary high water mark.” This is the mark that people can actually see on the ground, where the high water has left debris, sand, and gravel during its ordinary annual cycle. (Not during unusual flooding.) It is not a theoretical line requiring engineering calculations. Where the river banks are fairly flat, this mark can be quite a distance from the edge of the water during medium water flows. There is often plenty of room for standing, fishing, camping, and other visits.
    5. States cannot sell or give away these rivers and lands up to the ordinary high water mark. Under the “Public Trust Doctrine,” they must hold them in perpetuity for public use.
    6. The three public uses that the courts have traditionally mentioned are navigation, fishing, and commerce. But the courts have ruled that any and all non-destructive activities on these land are legally protected, including picnics, camping, walking, and other activities. The public can fish, from the river or from the shore below the “ordinary high water mark.” (Note that the fish and wildlife are owned by the state in any case.) The public can walk, roll a baby carriage, and other activities, according to court decisions.
    7. States do have authority and latitude in the way they manage rivers, but their management must protect the public uses mentioned above. They can (and must) prohibit or restrict activities that conflict with the Public Trust Doctrine. “Responsible recreation” must be allowed, but activities that could be harmful, such as building fires, leaving trash, and making noise, can legally be limited, or prohibited, in various areas. Motorized trips and commercial trips can legally be limited or prohibited by state governments.
    8. State and local restrictions on use of navigable rivers have to be legitimately related to enhancing public trust value, not reducing it. Rivers cannot be closed or partially closed to appease adjacent landowners, or to appease people who want to dedicate the river to fishing only, or to make life easier for local law enforcement agencies.
    9. State governments (through state courts and legislatures) cannot reduce public rights to navigate and visit navigable rivers within their borders, but they can expand those rights, and some states have done so. They can create a floatage easement, a public right to navigate even on rivers that might not qualify for state ownership for some reason, even if it is assumed that the bed and banks of the river are private land. Note that this floatage easement is a matter of state law that varies from state to state, but the question of whether a river is navigable, for title purposes, and therefore owned by the state, is a matter of federal law, and does not vary from state to state. Note that a state floatage easement is something that comes and goes with the water: When the water is there, people have a right to be there on it, and when it dries up, people have no right to be there. But rivers that are navigable for title purposes are public land up to the ordinary high water mark, so that even when the river runs dry, people still have the right to walk along the bed of the river.
    10. Only federal courts can modify the test of standards that make a river navigable for title purposes. States cannot create their own standards, either narrower or wider in scope. They can’t make definitive rulings about which rivers are navigable for title purposes, only a federal court can.
    11. The situation gets confusing when a state agency or commission holds hearings about navigability and public use of rivers. Landowners, sheriffs, and other people tend to think that such an agency or commission can create state standards that determine which rivers are public and which are private. But these are matters of federal law which state agencies cannot change.
    12. State agencies should make provisional determinations that various rivers meet the federal test of navigability for title purposes. These provisional determinations should be based simply on the rivers’ usability by canoes, kayaks, and rafts. They should then proceed to the question of how to manage navigation and other public uses of the river. In these days of government cut-backs, the agency should look for solutions that use existing enforcement agencies rather than setting up new ones. Littering, illegal fires, offensive behavior, trespassing on private land, and numerous other offenses are all covered by existing laws, and offenders can be cited by the local police, sheriff’s office or state police.
    Jason

    Thank you for the very accurate and helpful summary of the law of navigable waterways. Your many contributions to freedom, on the water and off are appreciated. If we fight this unfortunate bureaucratic water grab, we will win.
    Rick Cass

    A friend of mine was ticketed on the river a few months ago and decided to fight the ticket. On the first court date the prosecutor and officer didn’t have both ors in the water and the judge continued the date. When they went back to court the judge? Would not let the defendant say a word and fined him $5,000. He than lowered the fine to $500. Then told him if he left the river within three days he would pay $300. Only the Corp will ticket you. The FWC and Fish And Wildlife refuse to get involved. I have only seen the Corp officer, Andy on the river on Tuesday but don’t count on that. Boat US told me that the law was from the 1940′s. I don’t know. WE NEED A LAWER.
    Steve Largent

  • [EXPIRED] IMPORTANT – AICW Navigation Alert: More Groundings at Wrightsville Beach/SR 74 Bridge, Statute Mile 283.1

    SR 74 Bridge - Click for Chartview

    With a closed vertical clearance of 20ft, and a very restrictive opening schedule, the Wrightsville Beach Bascule Bridge crosses the AICW at Statute Mile 283, southwest of marker #125. This is one of the most irksome spans on the entire North Carolina section of the AICW, and now we cruisers are going to have to contend with adjoining shallows north of the span!
    Note that the shoal described below, on the “green side” lies on the Waterway’s eastern flank, north of the Wrightsville Bridge. As Captain Hardy advises, ALL captains should be SURE to wait for a bridge opening in mid-channel, and make every effort to avoid a drift to the east. Otherwise, you WILL be giving the local Sea Tow captain some business!

    12/04/2012
    We ran aground at the bridge just north of the one mentioned here. We were racing the clock to be there on time, and being the only boat, the bridge tender did not open it for us, even though in the three minutes it took him to open the beige, we would have been in perfect position if he had started the opening at three. In backing out from the bridge, we ran aground on the east side. Worse than that, we ran aground again after going through the next bridge and hugging the shoreline to port coming around the corner to head for our night’s anchorage. didn’t bother looking at the chart; it seemed so simple, just stay close to the boats and head for green marker 23. Wrong! We ran up on the plainly marked shoal. this destroyed many years of boasting about almost never running aground, twice in one day!
    Beverly Feiges

    Cruising News:
    At least 4 boats we know went aground while waiting for the Wrightsville Beach bridge to open in the past few days. The shallow spot is on the green side when approaching the bridge from the north. There aren’t any markers at the shoal but boaters should stay in the center of the channel when waiting for the bridge.
    Harriet Hardy

    Giving other boaters a tip when traveling south at the wrightsville beach bridge…. stop in center of channel before you get along side the false palm tree north and East of the Bridge and before coming along side of Green marker to port also for those anchoring in Banks channel and you are heading south following the shore south to just passed the Coast Guard Station on your port turn starboard at red and green marker keeping it to starboard following the green markers to ICW and turning south at floating green marker you are now in ICW.
    Vance Neal

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Wrightsville Beach Bridge

  • IMPORTANT – AICW Navigation Alert: More Groundings at Wrightsville Beach/SR 74 Bridge, Statute Mile 283.1, 12/5/12

    SR 74 Bridge - Click for Chartview

    With a closed vertical clearance of 20ft, and a very restrictive opening schedule, the Wrightsville Beach Bascule Bridge crosses the AICW at Statute Mile 283, southwest of marker #125. This is one of the most irksome spans on the entire North Carolina section of the AICW, and now we cruisers are going to have to contend with adjoining shallows north of the span!
    Note that the shoal described below, on the “green side” lies on the Waterway’s eastern flank, north of the Wrightsville Bridge. As Captain Hardy advises, ALL captains should be SURE to wait for a bridge opening in mid-channel, and make every effort to avoid a drift to the east. Otherwise, you WILL be giving the local Sea Tow captain some business!

    12/04/2012
    We ran aground at the bridge just north of the one mentioned here. We were racing the clock to be there on time, and being the only boat, the bridge tender did not open it for us, even though in the three minutes it took him to open the beige, we would have been in perfect position if he had started the opening at three. In backing out from the bridge, we ran aground on the east side. Worse than that, we ran aground again after going through the next bridge and hugging the shoreline to port coming around the corner to head for our night’s anchorage. didn’t bother looking at the chart; it seemed so simple, just stay close to the boats and head for green marker 23. Wrong! We ran up on the plainly marked shoal. this destroyed many years of boasting about almost never running aground, twice in one day!
    Beverly Feiges

    Cruising News:
    At least 4 boats we know went aground while waiting for the Wrightsville Beach bridge to open in the past few days. The shallow spot is on the green side when approaching the bridge from the north. There aren’t any markers at the shoal but boaters should stay in the center of the channel when waiting for the bridge.
    Harriet Hardy

    Giving other boaters a tip when traveling south at the wrightsville beach bridge…. stop in center of channel before you get along side the false palm tree north and East of the Bridge and before coming along side of Green marker to port also for those anchoring in Banks channel and you are heading south following the shore south to just passed the Coast Guard Station on your port turn starboard at red and green marker keeping it to starboard following the green markers to ICW and turning south at floating green marker you are now in ICW.
    Vance Neal

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Wrightsville Beach Bridge

  • Key West Anchoring WILL Be Allowed Around Christmas Tree (Wisteria) Island and West of Fleming Key

    In an earlier, now corrected, story here on the Cruisers’ Net (see /?p=96458), we opined that under the new, now approved Monroe County Anchoring plan (part of the Florida Keys’s participation in the Florida Pilot Mooring Field program) anchoring around Key West’s Christmas Tree Island (charted as “Wisteria Island”) and on the waters west of Fleming Key was prohibited. That is the way we and others read these regulations.
    However, just a few days ago, we received the following inquiry from Captain RMW:

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

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

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

    And, more input from Captain RMW:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    https://www.boatus.com/MembershipWeb_Main/Membership/personal.aspx

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

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

    So, without further verbiage, run, don’t walk to:
    http://www.BoatUS.com/gov/flanchoringsheet

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

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

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

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

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