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  #31  
Old 03-21-2009
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Florida Open Water Society / Seven Seas Cruising Association Joint Position

Progress is taking shape largely due to boaters contacting Florida Representatives and Senators. Please continue to call and indicate your support for the FOWS / SSCA joint position for 5 mooring field test sites around the state.

Attached below is an update from the SSCA Concerned Cruisers Committee Chairman Wayne Marshall


Re: Urgent, your help needed now to limit anchoring restrictions

Postby soswayne on Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:20 pm
Report on Status of Florida Mooring Field Issue

Wayne Marshall, Chairman
SSCA Concerned Cruisers Committee

On Thursday, March 19, 2009, I attended a workshop with Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission employees and other concerned stakeholders. Representatives from Boat US, Nat’l Marine Manufacturers Association, Florida League of Cities, FL Dept of Environmental Protection, Florida Marine Industries Council and several others. Also in attendance was John Smith, VP of the Florida Open Water Society (FOWS). Several organizations were represented by their lobbyists.

The meeting was to deal with the House Bill # 1423 and the fact the author of the bill, Representative Troutman, recognized the need to clarify and quantify the proposed FWC Mooring Field test sites concept. Present and representing FWC were Lt Col Jim Brown, Lt Col Bruce Buckson, Mayor Paul Ouellette Captain Alan Richards, FWC Legal Counsel and Michael Yaun, FWC Deputy General Counsel.

The short version of the outcome is that we are now comfortable that this matter is proceeding in a manner consistent with the goals and objectives of the SSCA. We must remain vigilant to insure that House Bill # 1423 remains as clean and clear as it will be presented after modification by Rep Troutman. The companion Senate Bill # 2638 is somewhat identical. We have established an excellent basis for a positive and productive working relationship between the SSCA and FOWS. We also recognize the contribution that the FOWS representatives have brought to this fracas.

The FOWS and SSCA organizations are very similar in their perspectives and issues. We have a few minor differences in opinion, but largely agree on all fronts. It is important to realize that all that is on the table with this issue are the proposed Mooring Field test Sites and the implementation of the same. No other regulations or proposals are even on the table, as everything else has been tabled until after the test sites package has run its course. Still up for debate is whether the test sites will end in 2012 or 2014. Also important is that EACH SITE will be implemented independently, with ample opportunity for public comment public workshops and a site specific management plan. There are 7 criteria for the approval of a site and the final approval will rest with the FWC Council.

Also contained within the proposed regulation is language specifically informing cities and municipal governments that they do not have the right to create their own local ordinances affecting anchoring or mooring fields. Further, any such ordinances must be presented to the FWC for public comment and input before the ordinance can be approved. This does not relate to such routine matters as signage to control speed in fuel dock areas or in the proximity of bridges etc. There are sufficient ordnances on the books to provide for those types of needs.
The US District Court ruling in the case of Stuart, Florida that determined that the city Manager, Council members and the individual police officers are each jointly and separately accountable if their actions violate existing Federal or State Law. This ruling has essentially served notice to the various local government entities that they do not have any right to enact their own local ordinances in a vacuum, and that they will be held accountable for their actions. FWC has pledged to enforce these requirements to keep a uniform set of regulations for visitors and residents of Florida.

The next steps are the development of amendments to clarify this House Bill so that Rep. Troutman can modify his bill to make it acceptable. A sub group of the workshop will meet on Monday, March 23rd to develop these recommendations for Rep. Troutman... The SSCA has allowed our role in these matters to be represented by VP Smith of the FOWS. He is already in Tallahassee for an extended timeframe, we are very comfortable that he understands and agrees with our position in the main, and I will be unable to attend the committee meetings on Monday and Tuesday next week...

In addition, there is some minor tweaking to be done to insure that the House and Senate Bills are essentially identical so that passage of the bills can proceed. These are more housekeeping items than anything else. However, we are recommending that all emails and phone calls simply go on record as supporting the FOWS/SSCA position in this matter. Do not stop contacting your Senators and Representatives, just clarify that we are comfortable with the position jointly shared between the SSCA and the Florida Open Water Society. Another sample letter will be posted to the SSCA website a little later today. And, in addition, we will also post the email addressees and phone numbers of the Senate contacts to add to the representatives list that have previously been posted.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if any further clarification is necessary.

Wayne Marshall, Chairman
SSCA Concerned Cruisers Committee

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  #32  
Old 03-26-2009
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Progress On Hb1423 And Companion Senate Bill Still Needs Input

THE POST BELOW IS FROM CRUISERS NET AND REPRESENTS A SHIFT FROM "KILL THE BILL" TO KEEP AMENDING THE BILL IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

Latest (3/23/09) From SSCA On Florida Anchoring Bill Print E-mail
Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The release below is from the Seven Seas Cruising Assocation. The Cruisers' Net presents the text in full. Be advised that we have not yet been able to verify any of this independently.

Update on
Report on Status of Florida Mooring Field Issue
March 23, 2009

Wayne Marshall, Chairman
SSCA Concerned Cruisers Committee

Wow! Do I have some good news for a change! It appears that boaters have prevailed and successfully convinced our legislators that we have a decent plan!

IMPORTANT NOTE! SSCA NO LONGER FEELS that our best course of action is to kill this bill. In fact, we fully support its passage. The committee work today between the Florida Open Water Society, (Also representing the SSCA) Nat’l Marine Manufacturers Association, The Florida Leagues of Cities and Counties, and FWC personnel has resulted in a very acceptable group of amendments to further clarify this issue for the benefit of boaters! Among the many subtle but very significant changes is that the definition of live-aboard has been re-written to EXCLUDE cruisers in transit in any way, shape or form. That alone is a tremendous improvement of the status of cruisers, and recognition of the derelict boats as the major part of the problem.

This is a significantly positive change in the position of the League of Cities and also a complete change of position for the SSCA. We were originally taking the position that the Bill was incomplete and did not represent boater’s interests at all. Now, after a tremendous amount of behind the scenes work, reinforcing the SSCAs interests, Boaters have won the battle it appears…

So, please don’t stop your phone and email contacts to Tallahassee, but please change your message!

* We want this House Bill #1423 to pass, with a couple of minor points.
* The Senate companion Bill # 2536 needs to have draft version 7 of the proposed regulations attached to it.
* The amendments prepared for Representative Troutman for the House Bill should be the same amendments for the Senate Bill
* The implementation of the test sites will be the choice of FWC, and each site will have ample opportunity for public input. That is one of the reasons that the FWC concept allows for the test project to go until 2014. That amount of time will be necessary to allow for public comment and workshops on each site individually.
* The cities and municipalities will be ordered to cease and desist with all these local ordinances, and the bill has some teeth in it to reinforce that requirement
* Status Quo will be maintained elsewhere throughout the State, so no new regulations will be passed at the local level

We have been assured by the managers of the FWC that all the above points are viable. I believe them, and trust them, and I think you should to!


Wayne Marshall, Chairman
SSCA Concerned Cruisers Committee
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  #33  
Old 04-24-2009
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Florida Open Water Society's Current Position

Legislation

Floridaopenwatersociety.org

A FLUID PROCESS

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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  #34  
Old 08-02-2009
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New info re.: Florida Anchoring: (As of July 28, 2009)
BoatUS.com: Government Affairs

Also, as they say in the article, some local officials choose to remain ignorant of the state laws and you should carry a copy of this on board:

http://www.boatus.com/gov/GA005FLAnchoring.pdf
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Old 08-02-2009
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Excellent link...thanks Larry/Sue!
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  #36  
Old 08-02-2009
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NO real change actually, the former state statues 327.6 and 327.2 have been in effect since 2006. the issue was no-one took the time to enforce or defend them until the stewart ,fl case. If you follow this board you'll also see just a couple weeks ago I was given a "courtesy Notice" to move my vessel from the Daytona Beach city waters. After which I did a little research contacted the police Dept. spoke w/ the Sgt. in charge of the marine patrol and discussed the local ordinance, the state Statue and he assured me he would inform his officers of the specifics and also said that the Daytona PD is not in the bussiness of "parking Patrol" on the water and that he did not have issue w/ anchored vessels properly licenced, meeting all safety requirements.
I am happy with the response from him and thanked him for his time/help.
I believe most all reasonable people will see the merit in this approach, for those that choose not to on either side of the issue their is/are legal remedies available to pursue.
Fortunately , for myself and other who appreciate the maritime tradition and right of anchorage it appears things are going more our way, Huray !

So, no more excuses- cast off the docklines and come to florida !
See you on the water.
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Protect your rights

I know my legal rights, so politely asking for a badge number/name should be a no brainer. Personally, I would have a digital recorder in my pocket to record the event and would sue the town in a second for violating my civil rights and making a false arrest; could use the financial award to update my boat! Of course, don't argue with the official and be polite, but get information such as name, the official's boat registration number, date, time, description of the official, etc. all on the recorder. Have several copies of the current state law aboard and politely offer the official a copy. Contact the local town hall/harbor master and speak someone in charge to review their understanding of the law and your circumstances. Report to federal and state officials those communities not following the law, and get their names and title also. Go ahead and arrest me! I look forward to winning the punitive damages that follow such matters. Having said all this, don't be a jerk and usually an arrest will not happen - you can do all this and still obey the official! Remember, knowledge is real power and it can be wielded respectfully and politely. Make sure you know the state laws! If arrested, do not speak until you get into court to address the matter, and if not satisfied with the outcome, file a lawsuit (some may not have the time, but I would make a point of it because I despise bullies). Do not argue or get angry - use your knowledge of state law to win, and the next time you get harassed in that community, give the official a copy of your judgement. Again, knowledge is power!
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