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ebs001 10-11-2006 06:47 PM

Anchoring in Florida
The following may be of interest to people who intend to do some extended cruising in Florida. It's fom Sipper Bob's web site.
Anchoring in Florida

NOTE: After more than 30 years Florida has at last reversed its attitude towards cruisers. For many years communities in Florida have placed anchoring restrictions on boaters. From outright bans on anchoring in their waters to time limits. Florida House Bill 7175 signed into law and effective July 1, 2006 may change all that.

Under the provisions of this bill Florida communities may not impose anchoring restrictions on boaters other than those defined as “live aboard” or “business” except in designated mooring fields. As there are only a handful of “designated mooring fields” in Florida, this implies that cruisers may anchor pretty much wherever they want except where their doing so would impede navigation by other boats. (Don’t block the channel)

The most important exception to this bill for most cruisers is “Live Aboard” boaters. This is construed to mean people that have no other residence and whose intent is to “take up permanent residence” in that area. This further enforces the idea I have advocated for many years. Never identify yourself as a “live aboard” boater. There are far too many negative connotations to that term. Rather, always identify yourself as a “fulltime cruiser” or as someone on an “extended cruise”.

For the 8 ½ years we cruised full time, we maintained our legal residence in Hanover, Pennsylvania; even though we had no apartment or home there. To change your legal residence you must take up “residence” in another location. Our mail came to a Hanover address. We voted with absentee ballot from that address. We paid our state and federal taxes from that address. In the eyes of the law during that period we were legal residents of Pennsylvania even though we were cruising in the Bahamas, Florida, East Coast, Canada and even the Great Circle Route at the time. We were not “live aboard” boaters as defined by Florida since our boat was not our legal residence.

Thus, if you are approached by law enforcement officials while anchored in Florida waters because they believe you have anchored in “their” restricted waters you should take these steps. (1) Identify yourselves as “long term” or “fulltime cruisers” actively engaged in navigating Florida waters. Never use the term “live aboard”. (2) Obtain the name, organization, and/or badge number of the individual requiring you to move. (3) If the law enforcement official continues to insist you move, I recommend you do so. Don’t try to create a scene by objecting. Simply point out the new law. Tell him or her to have a nice day and move. (4) Regardless of the outcome of any encounter, report the matter to David Dickerson, director of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) at or 202-737-9761.

Many Florida communities (Vero Beach comes to mind) have had restrictive anchoring laws for more than 30 years. It is going to take some time for this law to be recognized at all levels and in all communities in Florida. In the meantime it is incumbent on boaters to report those communities and law enforcement agencies that are not aware of this change in law. With time we should see a more relaxed atmosphere towards anchoring by cruisers and the introduction of additional mooring fields in Florida. (September 23, 2006)

catalyst27 10-13-2006 06:04 AM

well the problem is that as a local goverment they can't supercede a state law but they can be more restrictive so they can still require you to move as a local law even though state law would allow it

ebs001 10-13-2006 01:15 PM

Catalyst27 the whole point of the legislation is so that they cannot do that. The municipalities will be breaking the law. It's important that we cruisers follow Skipper Bob's suggestion and report any violations.

LittleMissMagic 10-13-2006 07:18 PM

This is good news but we should always remember to be good seamen so as not to give municipalities good reason to despise cruisers. For example excessive noise, unsightly boats,and heaven forbid overboard dumping of holding tanks should be avoided.Remember that your indiscretions could affect sailors coming later.

chuck5499 10-13-2006 10:12 PM

the problem is the State can say one thing but we have yet to hear from the rich folks that caused the problem in the first place. They probably don't even realize that the bill was passed and signed. When they find out it will be interesting to see how they will find the loop holes to get around the law or just ignore the law and say if you don't like it sue us as we have more money than you do and will out lawyer you --
this is not done yet -- money is the mother milk of politics and if the pols want to keep their their jobs there will be changes
just to much money and arrogant folks down here who believe that they own the ocean and the view so be prepared for a change
chuck and soulmates

ebs001 10-14-2006 06:53 AM

There is more money in Florida tourism than all the rich people combined. WE have the power.

bwu 10-14-2006 09:27 AM

Cool! but...
Be careful with the badge number
Some areas may have more jurisdiction over their immediate waters than others.

St Augustine comes to mind, there may be more.

This authority I speak of for St Augustine was enacted through state legislation in 1925.

chuck5499 10-14-2006 11:25 AM

ebs001 ---tourism $$$s are $3-400 hotel rooms on south beach, $200 dinners on south beach, $1,000 entry to night clubs, Disney land, Space Coast -- Cruisers are p going to spend the type of $$ that will even begin to get the Pols attention - the only way it got through in the first place was NMMA and the potential of absolutely killing the marine industry in Fla - but the owners of the hot ocean front property with the big $$ could care less about the Fla marine industry - they got their and who cares about the rest --
One of the major issues in South Fla is the lack of housing for the tourist industry workers - yet the city of Miami spent $85million for adequate housing and not one house was built - developers took the money and one even used it to buy his own water front property (he finally got put in jail)
in the end the $$ win out and the Pols will listen
just my opinion

ebs001 10-14-2006 03:16 PM

The government in Tallahasie thinks the Florida marine industry is important enough to rescind all local bylaws affecting transient anchoring. It's important that we as cruisers think we are important enough to justify their endorsement. If we throw up our hands and do nothing we deserve any crap we get. All I'm saying is don't take it lying down. Report any and all violations as Skipper Bob suggests.

mikeedmo 10-14-2006 03:39 PM

Just a quick note to affirm the recommendation to obey the law enforcement officer. If you refuse to obey an order by the LEO you can be arrested on the spot and booked into the county jail and things don't get sorted out till they make it to the State Attorney's Office for resolution. The legislation is a major victory for us but regardless of whether we're on a boat, in a car or on a side-walk, if a cop tells you to do something do it, and if you're the only "witness" and you start demanding information from the officer you could be setting yourself up for what they call a "little street justice."

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