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  #1  
Old 07-13-2013
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Miss Liberty vs the landlubbing haters!

I've started this thread to discuss and chronicle the issues that arise or have already arisen due to my five years having lived aboard the 42 foot ferro-cement Samson design ketch-rigged sloop the Miss Liberty, hailing from Clearwater Beach, Pinellas County, Tampa Area, Florida. Unfortunately at the time of this posting, her current condition is pretty bad, as is the legal situation I find myself in as a result of that condition. I have been forced to plead guilty to a charge of "derelict/abandoned vessel" mind you I was not responsible for her current condition, nor have I abandoned her even now. I have been sentenced to 65 days in jail SO FAR, a year probation which I have to pay a maintenance fee, 40/month I think, 450$ court fee, and as a condition of the probation I have to remove the boat within 150 days, or I will be sentenced to a YEAR in prison. The Miss Liberty was stripped, which is how she ended up in her current situation, which is a six-foot keel hard aground in 2-3 feet of water, sunk about 200 yards shoreward of serviceable water. I have about 25 more days in which I intend to appeal the decision in hopes of reversing the guilty plea, which I only put in after it became clear that Pasco County was going to do everything they could to railroad me in an attempt to squeeze every penny they could out of me with no regard to my civil rights or a sense of fair play. With that background, let the discussions and advice commence!
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Old 07-13-2013
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Re: Miss Liberty vs the landlubbing haters!


Now she looks like this... :-(
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Old 07-13-2013
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You are not responsible for her current condition. Who is?
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Old 07-13-2013
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Re: Miss Liberty vs the landlubbing haters!

Your photo did not come through. Sounds like some tough luck, and with a derelict ferro cement boat you won't find much sympathy here. But if the boat ran aground in shallow water, it is your responsibility as the caretaker of the ship to keep her afloat. You are responsible for good ground tackle and even in named storms it is your responsibility. I don't know the full circumstances of why it is not your fault, but there are tons of derelict boats in Florida and they are causing lots of legislation that are limiting the rights of those who take care of there vessels.

Now liveaboard rights are something different. They are being limited unfairly in lots of places. It is because of the bad apples out there that are causing issues for lots of folks who maintain there boats. How about you explain how you got into the situation without ranting about how your rights were trampled on without any factual details. Rants never convince folks that your right. Just the facts.
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Old 07-13-2013
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Re: Miss Liberty vs the landlubbing haters!

Ever notice how everybody in jail is innocent?
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Old 07-13-2013
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Re: Miss Liberty vs the landlubbing haters!

The persons responsible for Miss Liberty's current condition are unknown at this time, they stripped her while she was at anchor near Anclote Key on the shoreward side by virtue of 250 yards of 3 inch chain with a 75lb. Danforth iron anchor. She was self-sufficient,reliable bilge pumps, batteries, solar and wind generators, proper decking and hatch covers,she'd remained COMFORTABLY afloat through tropical storms cum hurricanes and a tornado for over five years in the Mandalay channel, less than thirteen miles away. The Pasco County Sheriff posted her on the derelict albandoned at-risk vessel database and it was like he'd put a flag out that said 'hit me' they took EVERYTHING made of metal or containing it,all the wiring, batteries, solar panels, wind generators I invented, bilge pumps, inverters charge controllers, hatches, 8 Perko bronze(brass?) portholes, a 500 gallon stainless fuel tank from under the back deck that they ripped up to get, and probably last but most assuredly not least, the anchor (one assumes) and the 250 foot 3 inch iron anchor chain, and assorted goodies, my 90 inch wifi enabled plasma tv, 1000 watt stereo,guitars, amps, my computers and laptops, nav/sonar equipment, the entire binnacle, compass, wheel, stand all, stainless steel stove and restaurant hood and microwave, two refrigerators, a deep freezer, all of the lights and fixtutes and wiring, even (sorry, will continue in next post, ( the aluminum toilet paper roll holder.
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Old 07-13-2013
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Re: Miss Liberty vs the landlubbing haters!

How is it that simply being responsible for a "derelict" vessel gets you thrown in jail? Could it be that there more to the story than you simply leaving a boat at anchor in one spot for 5 years?
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Re: Miss Liberty vs the landlubbing haters!

My apologies if this is coming off as a rant, but as you read I hope you will recognize the intent with which it is written, I am seeking advice and perhaps help and trying to lay down a cautionary tale, there but the Grace of God kinda thing with all love of a mariner at heart. See, the fact that the anchor and chain were amongst the things stolen is tantamount, they set my girl adrift, and right when tropical storm Sandy was coming into her windup around here. I had been working in Clearwater Beach, thirteen miles to the south, half-camping ashore, only coming out every other weekend, in my 19 foot Cobia'grocery getter, an unfortunate victim at the dock during Sandy.The Pasco County Sherriff continued to call and harass me EXACTLY as he had before the storm, not giving any hint that there had been any change in her status, and I repeatedly told him she was anchored south of the Anclote River, which put her squarely in Pinellas County, and out of his jurisdiction anyways, and it wasn't until several weeks later that a Pinellas County Sheriff whom I know loosely passed word to the Clearwater Police Department's Marine Sergeant Officer Mark Cason whom I know rather well, professionally at least, he'd inspected Miss Liberty a couple times, and my favorite anchorage was less than a quarter mile from where the sheriffs and the PD both dock, that it was a situation, not just his usual illegal 'you can't anchor there' nonsense. I had lost two boats, actually, to Sandy, a 19 foot center console SeaSquirt as well as the Cobia, and had been busy scrambling to replace them, both of which had been disposed of properly, I might add, cut up and paid to drop at the dump, but because of which, I had not been able to go and check on Miss Liberty yet. Pasco County issued a notice (they say, I never saw it) to an address that was so old it had been torn down and is now a Walgreens, not the address on my ID or the ship's registration, which, when returned, became a warrant. I have a few friends in Clearwater, having been sort of the first long-term sailboat resident, and not easily, the official types were dead set against it, but at every inspection I was within the law or so close no offense was sufficient to net me more than a single 'anchor light' ticket (bulbs burn out, sometimes) which I think was even dismissed when I proved I fixed it before the next evening, and complain as they did, the local Condo owners finally grumbled and accepted that I lived here.
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Old 07-13-2013
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Re: Miss Liberty vs the landlubbing haters!

Captmetatron,

I regret that you find yourself in this position.

From your description, I'm guessing that you had no insurance on either Miss Liberty or your skiff. True?
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Old 07-13-2013
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Re: Miss Liberty vs the landlubbing haters!

Sorry to hear that thieves have stolen all your stuff. That's terrible. Did they also set her adrift so that she became grounded? Did you file a police report when this happened? How and when did she sink? Something sounds fishy with this story. Did you have your belongings insured from theft? With all the derelict boats in Florida, it is not surprising that they are trying to hold owners responsible so taxpayers are not stuck with the cleanup bill. From what I've observed in places, there are many abandoned boats in FL and many more that look like they're one step away from becoming derelicts. It's unfortunate that you've been caught up in this but if you explain to a judge that the boat was ransacked and cut free one night and you returned to it the next day to find it grounded and stripped, I can't see how you can be held responsible. Sounds like time to get a lawyer, maybe even a PI to find if there is a link between the disgruntled condo owners and the destruction of your boat.
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Last edited by smurphny; 07-13-2013 at 08:13 PM.
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