Anchoring Battles Continue in Florida

Long-simmering disputes in Florida between waterfront residents and cruising sailors came to a head this past summer, with residents pushing for new regulations that would prohibit anchoring within 300 feet of residential property.
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Long-simmering disputes in Florida between waterfront residents and cruising sailors came to a head this past summer, with residents pushing for new regulations that would prohibit anchoring within 300 feet of residential property.

The back story: residents have long voiced concerns about derelict and abandoned boats, anchored live-aboard vessels and the sanitation issues these boats presented to their waters. These complaints led to several “pilot programs” that limited—but did not prohibit—anchoring in five selected municipalities.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission then called another set of meetings in September to vote on new regulations. One meeting aimed to review the Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program, whose goals “…are to encourage the establishment of additional public mooring fields and to promote the establishment and use of public mooring fields; promote public access to the waters of this state; enhance navigational safety; protect maritime infrastructure; protect the marine environment; and deter improperly stored, abandoned or derelict vessels.”

Another meeting, the “Anchoring Public Workshops,” discussed laws that would prevent boaters from anchoring for even one night on state navigable waters adjacent to their properties. One provision read, “A vessel may not be anchored overnight within 300 feet of waterfront residential property or in a location that restricts use of attached docks or boat lifts.” This rule would eliminate, for instance, virtually all anchoring in Fort Lauderdale and Miami/Miami Beach. The charts in this article, prepared by Mike Ahart, News Editor at Waterway Guide, show how the 300-foot residential setback law would limit existing anchorages in Florida’s Broward County.

Charts and photo courtesy of Mike Ahart, Waterway Guides

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