Join Date: Apr 2006
Thanked 189 Times in 185 Posts
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Re: Opposition to liveaboards
" haven't you just taken public property and converted it to your own private benefit.? "
Not at all, not here in the US. While it is possible to "convert" someone else's property to your own, legally, in most or all states, it is not possible to take and convert sovereign property. So first of all, if you are dealing with public property, you can't take it and convert it.
Then there's a matter of difference between anchoring IN public waters while ON public or private bottomland. It is quite common to have public waters, navigable waters, with privately owned bottom land under the water. When a local village, town, county, or state happnes to own the bottom, that bottom may be "public" in the sense that it is set as part of a public commons, or it may be "government property" subject to use according to however the owner has set terms.
That often means "there are oysters on the bottom. You can sail past them, but only residents with an oyster license can take them." Or it can mean "this bottom belongs to the town, and residents are free to moor their boats there, if they pay an annual mooring fee." Almost anything goes.
Taking it and converting it? No, the law says that never happens to sovereign property. Sure, mooring your boat means someone else can't moor there, that's called "sharing". Just like a public water fountain (remember those?) if you stand there and drink all day, no one else can. Do that often enough and the town will pass a "you can only drink for five minutes" rule and then send the sheriff around. (G)