I'll get one up here today.
Here you go:
Subject: Oppose Ban on Anchoring
The Florida state Senate is considering SB 1548 which contains a provision that is attacks the rights and freedoms of boaters. The Florida House of Representatives may take up a similar bill soon.
The bill, titled "An Act Related to Vessel Safety", attempts to remedy a number of true safety issues, attributed usually to derelict and unattended vessels: fuel and oil leaks, dumping of waste, sinking, and unmaintained ground tackle or moorings.
Under this same label of vessel "safety" there is an orphan provision promoted by some special interests, specifically a small group of waterfront landowners, who want to eliminate boat anchoring across huge swaths of Florida based solely upon proximity to spots where another person chose to build an upland "dwelling unit". The politics driving this provision seem to be some anecdotal disputes between high-profile homeowners and boaters in specific locations, mostly in the urban lower east coast. Such fights should be resolved through existing enforceable remedies related to harassment or nuisance on a case-by-case basis, not through an over-reaching statewide ban.
While stripping the rights of boaters throughout coastal Florida from the panhandle, through the Keys, and all the way to Jacksonville, the supporters have not performed an assessment of how many anchoring areas would be eliminated and how many of the 1,000,000 boats visiting Florida each year would be shut out. Also, these supporters have not performed an assessment of the adverse economic impact, lost revenue, lost jobs and lost taxes that would result when these boating customers no longer frequent the thousands of Florida's small businesses that rely on this activity.
The portion of SB 1548 creating an anchoring setback to rope off a view for a few politically-active landowners is an over-reaction to a problem that has better, more fair, solutions. This provision would establish one class of people located shore-side and define them as "winners" while others who choose to be on Florida's public waters as a class that
"loses". This setback is not safety related. It is not fair to boaters. It is unfair to all Floridians who pay taxes and collectively own the submerged land beneath these public waters. It is unfair to coastal small businesses. And it is not Florida.
As a boater who values the maritime rights existing on the public waters of Florida, I respectfully ask that you vote against this bill or vote to remove this orphan provision.