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post #33 of Old 04-24-2009
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Florida Open Water Society's Current Position



The FOWS executive and many senior members are encouraged by the recent work in Tallahassee. Our members and supporters efforts this winter and spring have had a significant impact on Bills 1423 and 2536 (currently being aligned between House and Senate). Improvements to liveaboard language that better accommodates cruisers and better defines derelict hulks are promising. All who seek details should view the many anchoring rights posts under any of the Florida tabs on Cruisers Net your best source for up to date information on the Waterway - Home. Several points of view are discussed including Wayne Marshall's of SSCA, who has been very dialed into the latest language. BoatUS, NMMA, SSCA and the Cruiser's Net are reporting that they are pleased with the progress made in conjunction with Legislators, FWC and League of Cities representatives.

FOWS for the time being will remain neutral (neither advocating scrapping or passage of the bill), our understanding is that the language has been left subtle and vague by design so that each "Test Area" won't have constraints - allowing trial cases to be tailored to each region and evolve separately to see what works well in different areas. A variety of test site methods will also inform all parties as to the merits of different approaches and what BOATERS in these areas consider fair and in keeping with the traditions of their regions. So we are "ON APPROACH" with a still rudder and an idling engine - to see how the currents and winds will effect the process and obstacles to come. We ask our members and supporters to standby, be ready to steer and apply power in the development of these 5 pilot projects. We see the precedents formed during the development of these coming mooring test sites as more important than the bill's language (where moorings and anchoring are concerned).

Our membership has been expanding around (and beyond) the state and FOWS is evaluating the best options for our organization's continuing growth - we will be particularly interested in forming chapters in each of the test site areas...stay tuned. We should also state that while our infrastructure has been struggling to keep up with new members and coordinating with folks from different regions, any input and assistance for our networking abilities would be greatly appreciated. A very big thank you to Southwinds Magazine for assisting our efforts. Welcome to our new members, thanks your support.... we will be engaging you more as the organization develops.
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