We Need Your Help! Florida and Georgia to Restrict Anchoring by Kim Russo, Plus
This is the most recent plea by Kim Russo, Director of America Great Loop Cruisers’ Association, asking your support of boaters’ anchoring rights in Georgia and Florida. Cruisers Net urges all boaters to get involved with fighting state restrictions on anchoring. See Latest Georgia Anchoring Regs and Florida Anchoring Restrictions.
1/18/20 Sample letter to Senators by Richard Allen, AGLCA member
As you [Kim Russo] requested, I am letting you know that I emailed the five senators on the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, acknowledging that SB 606, as expanded and substituted, had passed out of Committee and asking that they oppose the bill when it comes to the floor of the senate. I am pasting the text of my message to Senator Albritton below. The other messages are modified to suit the circumstances.
Dear Senator Albritton:
I was dismayed to learn that SB 606 (as expanded and substituted) passed out of the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 3-2, despite your negative vote. I urge you to continue to oppose this measure when it comes before the Senate.
My wife and I are happy to be residents of your Senate District. Our home is our 1969 cruising vessel, “Sunshine Girl.” The address on our Florida licenses, issued in Charlotte County, is DO 523282, Punta Gorda, FL. The DO # is the documentation number of our boat. In 2018 we moved from a rented slip in Cape Coral to another rented slip at the Laishley Park Marina in Punta Gorda. Previously we rented slips in Indialantic and Melbourne. Like land-based home-owners, we spend money in the supermarkets, hardware stores, restaurants, barber shops, physical therapy facilities, and other businesses. Because we move around a lot, our mailing address is a mail forwarding service in Green Cove Springs, FL.
Our boat is currently out of the water for reconditioning at Safe Cove Boat Storage in Port Charlotte. We are spending money at the boat yard and all the other local businesses. We like to keep our boat in good condition and fully functional.
In addition to renting longer term boat slips, while cruising we visit and spend money in communities along the waterways, rent short-term marina slips and enjoy many of Florida’s attractive anchorages. We share the frustration of other waterfront homeowners with abandoned and derelict vessels that ruin the viewshed and take up space. These derelict vessels cause even more trouble for responsible boaters than they do for waterfront homeowners because they clutter up scarce anchoring space and create resentment against all anchoring boat owners. We were pleased when Florida enacted Statute 327.4107 in 2016, giving state, county, and local law enforcement officers more authority to monitor and remove vessels at risk of becoming derelict. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission web site provides helpful guidance to boat owners, including warnings of fines and jail time for boat owners who might consider abandoning their vessel on the state’s waterways. Publicity surrounding these enforcement actions might go a long way in preventing the scourge of abandoned and derelict vessels. It might be useful for Florida to require all vessels to post the name and contact information for the person responsible for the boat in a conspicuous location at all times, not just when anchored.
We are opposed to SB 606 because it effectively usurps the power of the State to manage Public Trust lands, in some cases having the effect of transferring ownership of Public Trust lands to waterfront property owners to the exclusion of other citizens. We know that the Florida legislature has worked hard to meet the concerns of everyone who lives on or near the water, including those whose homes are boats, like ourselves. We believe it would be a mistake to open a floodgate of special exceptions to the existing Florida anchoring statute. As you saw with the Committee Substitution bill, additional special interests will continue to seek exceptions if they see others getting their way.
Thank you for your consideration of our views.
Richard B. and Beverly A. Allen