I can see your point for long term users, but what about the transients?
Should somebody that just wants to rest as they make their way down the ICW be required to pay for every night that they stop?
If that is the case, then what about public rest stops where truckers are allowed to park their rigs while they rest.
Well, over the 1065 statute mile length of the ICW between Norfolk and Ft Lauderdale, these are the mooring fields comparable to the Beaufort proposal that come to mind, off the top of my head:
Carolina Beach - Mile 295
Beaufort - Mile 535
Fernandina Beach - Mile 715
St Augustine - Mile 775
Titusville - Mile 880
Vero Beach - Mile 950
Lauderdale, Las Olas - Mile 1065
I may have overlooked something, and I'm unclear about the current status of a place like Georgetown, SC - seems there are some moorings in there, whether they're private or not seems unclear. I do know Georgetown has long had an issue with derelict boats, seems just a matter of time before the town does something to address it:
We had looked for possible places to anchor along the way, but decided to press on and anchored at 557pm amongst the many derelict boats either anchored to tied up to mooring balls in Georgetown harbor. It’s really too bad that Georgetown doesn’t do something about these derelict boats, as it makes it less welcoming to visit. Phil mentioned that’s how St. Augustine FL use to look until they changed things. Yes I know that you need to pick up a mooring ball now, but it is much nicer now too. What do you think?
Passage and Stay in Georgetown, SC | Changesgoingsouth
With the exception of Vero and Las Olas, it's possible to anchor adjacent to the mooring field (In Lauderdale, one can anchor in Lake Sylvia about 1/2 mile to the south)
So, I think we're probably still a ways off from people plowing down the Ditch "having to pay for every night that they stop"... :-)
The variety and sheer number of anchorages along the ICW is truly remarkable... From the remoteness of the bottom of the Alligator River, where you'll likely be unable to get a cellphone signal...
... to the bright lights of Miami Beach, where you'll be afforded free municipal wifi while surrounded by the multimillion dollar homes of the Rich & Famous, the ICW is still littered with scores of free anchorages where you'll be permitted to linger for as long as any real 'Cruiser' might be inclined to...