Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: somewhere in the Windward or Leeward Islands
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Re: Many cruisers with documented vessels can not enter FL legally.
Anyone who wishes could get this cr*p thrown out under several Federal laws regarding interstate free trade, blah, blah, blah; but who's gonna challenge these laws and take the time and expense to get them thrown out? So Fla gets away with all this and we get screwed.
I gave up on Fla in 2004. Had a sportfishing/diving business (I lived aboard) in the Keys and was doing OK. New laws ("ecological" they called them, but revenue was the truth), a National Marine Sanctuary with no money for enforcement and a greedy, untrustworthy service industry soured me on Fla completely. Pump out laws w/ no pump out stations, midnight boardings by the FMP and a general unfriendliness by municipalities also contribute to making Fla a boat unfriendly state.
It's not even a very good state for sailing. The west coast is very shallow far offshore, creating some horrendous conditions in winter fronts and summer squalls and the Keys are generally too shallow for comfortable sailing. The east coast has some very dangerous inlets, unfriendly municipalities for cruisers and the gulf stream is an ever present potential for a really unpleasant day on the water.
If you want to live aboard without the hassles, give Fla a pass; head directly for the Bahamas and the Caribbean and get into the real "island lifestyle".