Anchoring Battles Reach a New Level 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.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

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

The back story: residents of Florida have long voiced concerns about derelict and abandoned boats, anchored live-aboard vessels and the sanitation issues these boats present to their waters. These complaints led to several “pilot programs” that limited—but did not prohibit—anchoring in five selected municipalities. The "Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program" was supposed to last through 2017, but in January of 2014, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) asked for a three-year extension.

Then, most recently, the FWCcalled another set of meetings for Sept. 3 in Vero Beach, FL, and Sept. 4 in Bradenton, FL, to vote on new regulations. One meeting will aim 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,” will discuss laws that would prevent boaters from anchoring for even one night on state navigable waters adjacent to their properties. One provision reads, “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 following charts, 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:

We encourage you to attend the meetings yourself both for the sake of Floridian boaters, and for the sake of the precedent this would set—a precedent that could all too easily make its way up the East Coast and to marinas beyond. The folks at BoatUS put it well in their recent media alert, saying, "If you are a boater or sailor and having a full range of anchoring and mooring options is an important part of your cruising in Florida, consider attending one of these meetings. Active, responsible cruising boaters need to let the state know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to anchoring in Florida."

For a full list of the meetings' locations, visit http://www.boatus.com/pressroom/release.asp?id=1035#.U_4FCWRdU8w.

Charts and photo courtesy of Mike Ahart, Waterway Guides 

Related

annie-dike-2048x

SAIL’s Annie Dike to Present in Baltimore

During the upcoming Baltimore Inner Harbor Boat Show set for Sept. 29-Oct. 3, SAIL regular contributor Annie Dike will be discussing the ins and outs of successful couples cruising as part of the event’s seminar series. Titled “Rock the Boat with Annie Dike,” the seminar will ...read more

Cayard-2048x

Cayard Addresses Poor Showing of U.S. Olympic Sailing Team

In the open letter below, U.S. Olympic Sailing executive director Paul Cayard says a “movement” is going to be necessary if the team is ever to reclaim its past Olympic glory. August 5, 2021 To supporters of our team, I am departing Japan today after absorbing the Olympic ...read more

210726_JR_SE_Tokyo20_154910897

Medal Races but No Medals for Team USA

In recent history, the United States has struggled to make a mark on the Olympic sailing stage. Since 2008 when Anna Tunnicliffe took gold in the Radial and Zach Railey took silver in the Finn, only a single medal has been earned by Team USA: Caleb Paine’s Finn bronze in 2016. ...read more

01a-LEAD-IMG_3423

Reflections of Cruising Lake Erie

For once the forecast had been correct: 20 knots southwest, with waves 4 to 6 ft. Around 0300, I rolled over in my bunk unable to sleep with the sound of the wind in the rigging and the occasional groan of the fenders against the hull. “Just sleep. There’s no way you’re ...read more

sailGP-2048

VIDEO: SailGP Launches Foiling First Initiative

Teaming up with the Bristol Yacht Club & East Bay Sailing Foundation and Melges Performance Sailboats, SailGP is introducing foiling to the next generation. Its Foiling First initiative is an athlete development program created to “advance diversity and inclusion in the sport as ...read more

210801_JR_SE_Tokyo20_346141438

Olympic Sailing Updates

Though the results are in for most of the Olympic sailing fleets, there’s still time to cheer on team USA in the NACRA 17, both 470 and Finn classes. In the NACRA 17 fleet, Riley Gibbs and Anna Weis are in 9th place securing a spot in the medal race. They’re currently 17 points ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG20210409160620-copy

Cruising: La Soufrière Volcano Eruption

This past spring my family and I were at anchor aboard our 50ft steel-hulled cutter, Atea, off Bequia, a small island five miles south of St. Vincent in the Southern Antilles. Bequia’s large, protected bay is lined by a collection of beach bars, restaurants and hotels, and is a ...read more

01-LEAD-GMR_ISLA_0415-1

Electric Multihulls

Witnessing the proliferation of Tesla automobiles you would have no doubt that the revolution in electromobility is well underway. Turn your gaze to the cruising world, though, and you might well wonder what went wrong. Where are all the electric boats? And as for electric ...read more