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

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

      Gasparilla Bayou Anchorage

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

      http://www.bocabeacon.com/news/featured-news/4202-the-question-of-the-day-who-can-anchor-in-the-bayou

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

      http://www.bocabeacon.com/news/featured-news/4208-bottomland-on-the-bayou-a-rather-sticky-situation

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

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

      Very simply and to the point the U.S. Supreme Court has already spoken on this issue.
      `1.U.S. Supreme Court, Lewis Blue Point Oyster Cultivation Co. v. Briggs 229 US 82
      When overturning a lower court case the U.S. Supreme Court said: `If the public right of navigation is the dominant right, and if, as must be the case, the title of the owner of the bed of navigable waters hold subject absolutely to the public right of navigation, this dominant right must include the right to the use of the bed of water for every purpose which is in aid of navigation.’’
      Robert Driscoll

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

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    • South Carolina AICW Bridge Opening Woes And Schedule Changes

      Bridge opening schedules can be confusing even with the best wording and with the frequent changes that seem always to occur during the busiest seasons; Chris experienced two of such changes. We have confirmed and listed below the most up-to-date schedules of openings for three of the busiest bridges in SC.

      We are very late this year in our trip south. One thing we have encountered is “on signal” bridges which are no longer such. Socastee and Ben Sawyer have new restrictions. Socastee was on the half hour and BS was on the hour on a non-holiday Friday.
      Chris aboard Brilliant Star

      Socastee Swing Bridge
      Opens on Demand with closures required every 15 minutes when vessel traffic is heavy.

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s South Carolina Directory Listing For Socastee Bridge

      Ben Sawyer Bridge:
      Opens on request Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Does not open at all Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. On Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, the span opens on the hour from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Opens on demand after 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and after 7:00 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s South Carolina Directory Listing For Ben Sawyer Bridge

      Wappoo Creek Hwy 171 Bridge:
      From April 1 to November 30, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (last opening at 3:30), and on Saturdays and Sundays, 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, the bridge opens on the hour and half-hour. From December 1 to March 30, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, the bridge opens on demand (last opening 3:50). From April 1 to May 31, and from October 1 to November 30, Monday through Friday, the bridge does not open at all between the hours of 6:00 am to 9:00am, and from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm. From June 1 to September 30, and from December 1 to March 30, the bridge does not open at all between the hours of 6:30 am to 9:00 am, and from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm.

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s South Carolina Directory Listing For Wappoo Creek Bridge

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

      Earlier, we posted a letter copy here on the Cruisers’ Net of a missive sent from Captain Arthur Richard, to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s department, concerning a less than happy meeting with a deputy, while anchored on the waters of Blackburn Bay (see /?p=76631). As you will see, Captain Richard’s note got a favorable reply, and it undoubtedly clued everyone in the sheriff’s department to the latest Florida state laws concerning anchorage.

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

      From: Richard Mottola
      Subject: RE:Anchoring in Blackburn Bay
      Date: December 19, 2011 10:31:25 AM EST
      Mr. Richard,
      This is Captain Mottola from the Sheriff’s Office. The Marine Unit is one of the
      areas under my command (Special Operations Bureau). I checked with our two
      full-time boat captains and neither recalls speaking with you about this. It
      could very well be that you spoke with one of our part-time captains. I could
      most likely determine this if you could provide a date and time of the contact.
      Despite that, it appears you are correct in your interpretation of the statutes
      cited.
      I can only surmise that the captain you spoke with, for some reason, believed
      you were actually living aboard your vessel and therefore assumed that county
      ordinance 130-42 may have applied. Otherwise, it would not be applicable.
      County Statute 130-42. Mooring of Vessels used as dwelling units:
      http://library.municode.com/HTML/11511/level3/CD_ORD_SARASOTA_CO_FLORIDA_CH130WA
      _ARTIIIMOVE.html#CD_ORD_SARASOTA_CO_FLORIDA_CH130WA_ARTIIIMOVE_S130-42MOVEUSDWUN
      Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions (861-4049) – Or you
      may contact Captain Shipp with the Florida Wildlife Commission (Southwest Region
      863-648-3203)
      Thank you.

      Arthur Richard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    • St. Marys Town Dock (off the AICW, on St. Mary River, near St. M. 713)

      We have another recent posting here on the Cruisers’ Net concerning anchoring off the St. Marys waterfront, and the strong currents you might encounter while doing so (see /?p=75937). Captain Jack’s message below pertains to a “town dock” which facilitates dinghy landing from the anchorage in question. Even if it’s only “a hunk of concrete,” I’m very glad there is indeed a ready place to come ashore and visit this delightful village!

      We tied up at the town dock [St. Marys town dock] last winter on our way down. It is really just a floating hunk of concrete, with no electricity or water. It says that there is a limit of 6 hours, but it does not appear to be enforced. We talked to people to stayed for a few days, and no one seemed to bother that we were overnight. BEWARE!!! On a falling tide the current (truly impressive!) runs perpendicular to the town dock. Getting off the dock is challenging, and we ended up with notable gelcoat scars! But I’d go back.
      Jack

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Georgia Anchorage Directory Listing For the St. Marys Waterfront Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To St. Marys GA

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    • GOOD News – St. Augustine No-Wake Zone To Be Extended – Southern St. Aug. Mooring Field to Benefit (Statute Mile 778)

      On 12/13/11, we posted a thoughtful message here on the Cruisers’ Net about vessels in the southern St. Augustine Mooring Field, being bothered by the wake of crabbers and other local fishing people (see /?p=76385). In response to that posting, we have excellent, late breaking news out of St. Augustine, courtesy of Captains Tina and Scott, that there is help on the way in regards to this situation. Good works city of St. Augustine!!!

      Dinghy Approaches Tender Dock at St. Augustine City Marina

      We stayed at the Anchorage Inn Marina across the river from St Augustine municipal marina for a few weeks and agree with the complete lack of enforcement of the current No Wake zone, which ends prior to the mooring field anyway’¦Good news, the Harbormaster informed me when I called to complain that they had received approval to have the current No Wake bouy moved 500 feet further south of the Bridge of Lions in early January 2012. This will not cover the entire South Mooring Field, but should help some, especially those closer to the marina. I hate to say it, but the worst offenders were the local fishermen and big 4-engined CBP boats from the new CBP National Training Center at SAMC.
      Scott & Tina Ligon

      Agree with the Good News. The new CBP boats only add to the reckless boats of law enforcement. The local Sheriff’s office has a couple of stolen go-fasts and apparently no training on how to safely operate them.
      Jason Martin

      How does an unenforced zone being expanded accomplish anything?
      Chris

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the St. Augustine City Southern Mooring Field

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the St. Augustine City Southern Mooring Field

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    • A Fond Look at Oriental, NC (Statute Mile 181)

      Sign just opposite the free dock in Oriental

      The heart warming story below comes to the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net from our dear friend, and fellow nautical writer, Captain Wally Moran, and from his LiveBloggin the ICW (http://bloggingtheicw.blogspot.com/). Anyone who has ever visited Oriental will quickly discern the truth of what Captain Wally has to say!
      Wally seems to be lingering in North Carolina waters a bit longer than most, before heading south to warmer climes. We’ll keep following his travels here at the Crusiers’ Net as he heads his sailcraft towards the Sunshine State.

      Toucan Grill and Fresh Bar in Oriental, NCA drinking town with a sailing problem…
      That’s how Oriental bills itself…well, actually it calls itself the sailing capital of North Carolina, but the t-shirts and coffee mugs all tell a different story.
      It’s a friendly town – people wander to the dock to chat after getting their coffee at the Bean, which is across from the free dock (free is good!â„¢).
      The town is also the most dog-friendly place I’ve ever been. You’ll frequently see dogs roaming the street, and if one of them decides to lie down in front of the Bean (happens often actually), drivers slow down and move around the pup. It’s really quite a hoot to see – anywhere else it would be honk the horn and get upset time, but not in Oriental.
      There is a West Marine, but no other box stores in Oriental. That’s because the locals voted it that way – talk about a great sense of values. West Marine good – Wal Mart bad!
      This is a town that, on New Year’s Day when everyone else in America is watching football, is having their New Year’s Regatta. The last time I was here for it, 26 boats were competing. I was heading out that day and darn near became the 27th boat!
      Villagef Food Emporium 252-249-FOOD Delicious Carry-out Meals The wind today turned strongly into the southwest, and since I hadn’t yet gotten groceries, I chose to remain one more day at the free dock (free is good! â„¢), rather than bash down the canal at the end of Adams Creek on the way to Beaufort. Winds go light tomorrow, so morning will be an excellent time to head out.
      Like I said, a great sense of values.
      Wally Moran
      LiveBloggin the ICW
      http://bloggingtheicw.blogspot.com/

      We love Oriental and always make a point of stopping there. However, the lack of pump out facilities is a concern. Oriental Marina has none. The public free dock has none. The marina to the west has two portables but they are often out of service. There are way too many boats in Oriental that should be pumping out and obviously do not. The worst part is that no one we talked to about this problem cared. One marina owner said `I don’t have to have a pump out, so why would I want one?’
      Ginny Caldwell

      River dunes, sailcraft marina and deaton’s marina all have pump outs. Possibly more marinas close by.
      Cliff Kisby

      Cruising News:
      Let me remind Ms. Caldwell and other cruisers passing though Oriental that most of our marinas and other waterfront facilities here are still very much in recovery mode from hurricane Irene, the worst storm we’ve seen here in recorded history. There are adequate pumpouts if you know where to find them but but some of the regular places are still out of service. Everything should be online and operating when the snowbird migration heads north in the spring.
      Captain Andy Denmark
      Lower Broad Creek
      Oriental, NC

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Oriental Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Oriental Marina

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    • Georgetown, SC Dining Review (Statute Mile 403)

      Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 1776, Georgetown, South Carolina 29442VHF 16 & 68 Located on the Sampit River, Harborwalk Marina is only a boardwalk away from Georgetown's Historic District, great food, shopping, etc. A safe harbor from bad weather and located in calmNormally, I confine my role here on the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net’s “Cruising News” sections to comments and introductions to fellow cruisers’ messages. However, last week, Dec. 5-9, 2011, I undertook another one of my land yacht trips of the South Carolina coastline, calling on every marina and repair yard between Georgetown and Beaufort.
      As part of this sojourn, I had occasion to review several of the restaurants along the way. Restaurant reviews are a really dirty part of my job, but someone just has to do it!
      The thought occurs to my tiny mind that the cruising community could really benefit from a fuller understanding of the outstanding dining choices available in Georgetown. This medium sized community has an embarrassment of riches when it comes time to slake a healthy appetite!
      All the dining attractions mentioned below are within walking distance of the marinas set along the town waterfront/Sampit River, including SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Harborwalk Marina. If you choose to coil your lines at Georgetown Landing Marina on the Pee Dee River, your walk to the downtown dining attractions will be longer, or you might choose a quick taxi ride.
      If it’s breakfast time, spare no effort to make your way to Thomas Cafe (703 Front Street, 843-546-7776), a Georgetown institution for as long as I can remember. Everything here in the breakfast line is good, but the Blueberry pancakes are particularly worthy of honorable mention! Thomas is also open for lunch, and while there is nothing fancy about the mid-day bill of fare, I’ve never had anything I wouldn’t call quite tasty!
      Another advantage of breakfast at Thomas Cafe is the local color you will enjoy. This is where ALL the locals meet for the first meal of the day, and every time I’m there, some interesting tid-bit of local news comes my way.

      Subject: Coffee Break Cafe, Georgetown, SC
      Cruising News:
      We really love this place, as well as Morsels across the street. Breakfast at CB is to die for, soup and sandwich for lunch is excellent and we take their soups along for the trip. Same with Morsels. In spring their tomato pies cause my eyes to roll back with joy.
      Cap and Linda Munday

      Georgetown Waterfront

      Come lunch time, or just time to restock the on-board larder, run, don’t walk to the Kudzu Bakery (120 King Street, 843-546-1847). Don’t let the name fool you. This establishment is more of a delectable bistro that just a bakery. Sure, you can (and I always do) purchase some of the best chocolate chip cookies on earth and fresh breads, but there are also outstanding sandwiches, a full selection of wines and many, many other gourmet type grocery store items to be had. I’ve talked with more than one cruiser who stops at Georgetown specifically to facilitate one or more visits to Kudzu. May I be so bold as to suggest you join that gastronomically happy throng!
      When it’s time for a good evening meal, after a long day on the water, there are at least two totally outstanding choices waiting to greet you in downtown Georgetown. In fact, we often try to time our stay in Georgetown for two nights, so that we can give our full appreciation to both the Rice Paddy (732 Front Street, 843-546-2021) and the River Room.
      Neither yours truly nor my first-rate, first-mate, Karen Ann, have every had anything at the Rice Paddy we did not consider absolutely outstanding. However, the Snapper Picatta with Capers and Lemon Butter, served with Creamy Grits, and the Rice Paddy’s Lump Crab Cakes served with Creamy Grits, are the stuff of legend. Beef lovers are not forgotten either. Trip before last, I was in bliss partaking of the Rice Paddy’s Filet of Beef, with Shiitake Mushrooms and Madeira Cream Sauce! Yummmmmmm!
      Just diagonally across the street from the Rice Paddy, Sid and Sally wait to greet visiting cruisers at the River Room (801 Front Street, 843-527-4110). Try to get one of the tables overlooking the Sampit River. That way, you’ll not only enjoy great food, but a superb view as well!
      Again, it’s hard to go wrong with the River Room’s selections, but the grouper stuffed with crab meat and topped with hollandaise sauce, as well as the 8 oz. Chargrilled Duck Breast with Chorizo sausage and finished with veal demi-glace, are both particularly worth of note!
      There are other dining choices in Georgetown, to be sure, but this article is already becoming lengthy, and you are now clued in on our favorite dining choices in this historic community.
      Have you had similar/dissimilar dining experiences in Georgetown. If so, please click the “Click Here to Submit Cruising News” link on the upper right of this page, and share your experience. Bon appetit!

      Subject: Coffee Break Cafe, Georgetown, SC
      Cruising News:
      We really love this place, as well as Morsels across the street. Breakfast at CB is to die for, soup and sandwich for lunch is excellent and we take their soups along for the trip. Same with Morsels. In spring their tomato pies cause my eyes to roll back with joy.
      Cap and Linda Munday

      Thomas cafe right near the clock tower is the quintessential down home breakfast spot. I judge these spots by the quality of their home fries. Formica tables, folksy waitress, big table occupied by the local debating society lingering over coffee, this cafe has it all.
      Gregory Han

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s South Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Harborwalk Marina

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s South Carlina Anchorage Directory Listing For the Downtown Georgetown Waterfront Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location the Downtown Georgetown Waterfront

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    • Anchoring Hassles on Blackburn Bay (Statute Mile 61.5)

      The note below was copied to the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net, and shows a letter written by Captain Arthur M. Richard, to the local sheriff’s department. The “Blackburn Bay” anchorage referred to in Captain Richard’s note lies between Venice and Sarasota, directly on the path of the Western Florida ICW.
      If I may indulge in an editorial comment here, it’s a real shame that incidents of this type are still taking place in Florida waters. The 2009 Florida Anchoring Law has been on the books for some time now, and you would think that county sheriff’s departments would have gotten the word long ago!!!

      Recently, I anchored my sailboat in Blackburn Bay. I was approached by a deputy sheriff (in a Sheriff’s Department boat), and politely informed that anchoring in Blackburn Bay is restricted to 48 hours. He said that the local residents did not like boats anchoring for longer periods. Please send me a copy of the County statue which authorizes such anchor limitation.
      Are you aware that under state law, boaters who use their boats for navigation (even if only occasionally) will not have their anchoring restricted by a local city or county outside of permitted mooring fields. Cities and counties are expressly forbidden to `enact, continue in effect, or enforce any ordinance or local regulation … regulating the anchoring of vessels other than live-aboard vessels outside the marked boundaries of mooring fields.’
      Although local governments are allowed to regulate anchoring within the marked boundaries of properly permitted mooring fields, Blackburn Bay is not a permitted mooring field.
      The following laws apply:

      (FL law) 327.60 Local regulations; limitations)
      (2) Nothing contained in the provisions of this section shall be construed to prohibit local governmental authorities from the enactment or enforcement of regulations which prohibit or restrict the mooring or anchoring of floating structures or live-aboard vessels within their jurisdictions or of any vessels within the marked boundaries of mooring fields permitted as provided in s. 327.40. However, local governmental authorities are prohibited from regulating the anchoring outside of such mooring fields of non-live-aboard vessels in navigation.
      (from Chapter 2009-86, section 14)
      (3) However, local governmental authorities are prohibited from regulating the anchoring outside of such mooring fields of vessels other than live-aboard vessels as defined in s. 327.02.
      Therefore, your deputy was in error when he informed me that I could not anchor in Blackburn Bay for more than 48 hours. I recommend that you make yourself and
      your deputies aware of the Florida State Laws on anchoring by boats other than live-aboard and commercial vessels.
      Sincerely,
      Arthur M. Richard

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Blackburn Bay Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Blackburn Bay Anchorage

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    • Thoughts on Florida Anchoring Space

      Captain Feiges is responding, in her message below, to a posting which appeared here on the Cruisers’ Net some time ago, about the victory in St. Augustine, when the city proposed ten day anchoring limit outside the mooring field, was shot down, and changed by the FWC to a thirty day limit.
      Her point in this missive is very different, and very much worth the cruising community’s thoughtful consideration. Beverly speaks of a lack of anchoring “space” in Florida due to the proliferation of private moorings!

      We are cruisers, plain and simple, and seldom stay in one spot for even a week. Even in Georgetown, in the Bahamas, where we may spend a month or more, we switch anchoring spots every so many days, depending on wind or activities ashore. Putting in mooring fields in very popular spots has the advantage of allowing many more boats to safely anchor, but it is also nice to have some room to anchor left over for those of us who may be too big for the spacing and holding power of the moorings, or too high off the water to easily pick up the mooring. Having permanently anchored boats in what is a limited area, even if they must move them every thirty days, does not help the honest to god cruiser who is passing through and wants a spot for a night or two. Even worse seems to be the unregulated dropping of private moorings everywhere it used to be possible to anchor.
      I want the right to anchor, but there must be room to do it, and in allowing people to set their private moorings all over the place, (in Maine some people have as many as five in different harbors), or to stay anchored more than 5 days without a valid reason, then this room does not exist, and you just as effectively have cut off my right to anchor. We had this experience in St. Augustine this fall, almost impossible to anchor.
      Beverly Feiges

      Virtually all anchoring regulations being promoted by FWC are in violation of Florida Statute 370.04 in the wake of two Florida Supreme Court decision favoring boater’s (almost) unrestricted anchoring rights. There is nothing to be applauded here as FWC seems to be forging ahead unempeded with its greed and rise of power with little or no sound rationale or legal foundation.
      Make your resistance known against this flagrant arrigance and disregard for formal constitutional decisions.
      Bruce Bingham

      Perhaps a private mooring can now be considered `the owner is anchored’ and falls under the new regs ?? Interesting possibility’¦
      Dennis McMurtry

      I agree with Beverly. Sure, Florida’s mooring fields are busy in the winter, but for most of the year there are many vacant moorings that eliminate huge areas that used to be available for anchoring. St. Augustine has effectively eliminated all of the best anchoring areas by covering the harbor in moorings, most of which remain vacant most of the year. Same thing in Marathon. I have squeezed into the remaining anchorage there during the off season when half the moorings were empty.
      John Kettlewell

      Laws continue to be changed. FL Statute 370.04 I could not find. Overriding everything is our Federal Navigational Servitude and the Public Trust doctrine which provide, among other things, that navigation includes the right to anchor in all navigable waters.
      FL Statute 327.44 states `no anchoring’¦in a manner which shall unreasonably or unnecessarily constitute a navigational hazard.’
      Jay Bliss

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

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

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

        Reply to David
    • Latest on Florida Keys Anchoring As of 12/1/11

      The report below from our very special Florida Keys correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, sounds very hopeful. This is an important issue as all of the Florida Keys have been selected to be included in the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. Sites selected for inclusion in this program have the power to regulate anchorage outside of mooring fields, but only after gaining input and approval from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC).
      The Cruisers’ Net, BARR (Boaters’ Anchoring Rights & Responsibilities) and Boat/US are working hard to insure SENSIBLE anchorage regulations are adopted by all participants in the Pilot Mooring Field Program.

      Last night’s meeting of the MPAC held here in Marathon, went exactly as planned. Prior to the meeting, I spoke with Senior Administrator Rich Jones via telephone and informed him though I would not be there personally, I had sent him a letter. He said he would read the letter at the meeting. Mariner’s Barr and SSECN both are very happy with how Monroe County has handled the responsibility of meeting the objectives of the Pilot Program. All with a carefully thought out plan so as not to displace or burden those in the cruising or local liveaboard communities. There are very caring people here, that is wholly apparent.
      We’re still quite a ways before the actual ordinance is written and approved by the BOCC, but we’re getting there. The areas discussed last night are Boca Chica and Sunset Cove, where longterm liveaboards have a community. The ordinance will NOT affect cruisers and transient boaters in those areas. This was a way to keep from displacing those who live there. It’s not really in the realm of the Pilot Program, per se, as there is no mooring field associated with either area. However, Monroe County could do it under protection of the marine sanctuary…so it’s all good. We’ve worked very hard here in Monroe County to protect all boaters and cruisers from over-regulation. No time limits and a way for those who live aboard and do not navigate to still feel welcome…but making them own up to responsibility. I applaud the efforts made to accommodate and represent ALL boaters who enjoy the waters of the Keys. – On another note, the vendors in KW Harbor can have their floating structures as long as they are licensed otherwise to do business. That’s a huge thing for those whose livelihood depends on such.
      Key West Harbor was never in the loop of the regulations that were outlined for Boca Chica Basin and Sunset Cove, Michael. It’s easy to get them confused. KW Harbor was only to have a buffer area around their mooring field, of which no one has any complaint. Most anchor on the other side of Fleming Key or off Wisteria. With Wisteria out of the picture, things look very good to stay the same in Key West Harbor.
      The “approval” is only for language to be drafted into an ordinance to be presented to the BOCC in January; now that everyone is on the same page with what the ordinances should state. The BOCC will then take a look at it with the Public’s input, and it could still need tweaking. Once it is approved by the BOCC it will then be submitted to the FWC. Still a long way to go before there are ordinances of any kind in place. No surprises here of any kind, this has been the path Monroe County has taken from day one. A good one: LESS IS MORE.
      Charmaine Smith Ladd (SSECN Special Correspondent & Representative)
      Executive Director, Mariner’s Barr (Boaters’ Anchoring Rights & Responsibilities)
      scmithladd@marinersbarr.org

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