Thursday, March 6, 2014

Update - March 2014

Hello all - I have not added to this site since 2012 - however, much of the information on it is still relevant to the discussion. At some future point, it may be revived. If you are interested in the topic, join the site so that you get any updates - or bookmark it and check back from time to time.
Thank you for your continuing interest.

Friday, January 20, 2012

St. Petersburg Meeting Scheduled

Press Contact:  D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864,
Photo Available at: 
Photo Caption: As part of a pilot project, the City of St. Petersburg will be allowed to develop an ordinance limiting nearby anchoring. Boaters have a chance to voice their comments on Jan. 24

Anchoring Restrictions on the Agenda at
City of St. Petersburg Meeting January 24
Local Boaters, Cruisers, Tourism Industry Urged to Attend
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. January 20, 2012 -- On Tuesday, January 24, the City of St. Petersburg is hosting a meeting to discuss proposed anchoring restrictions for city waters. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is urging boaters, cruisers and those who benefit from the economic impact of boater spending to attend this meeting to have their concerns heard.
The January 24 meeting follows last year's October 19 meeting in which the city asked for initial input on anchoring restrictions. The city is one of five municipalities in the state's mooring and anchoring pilot project which allows it to develop an ordinance to limit nearby anchoring.
"The city hasn't published any specific proposals to date, so that's why boaters need to attend," said BoatUS President Margaret Podlich. "We need to ensure that a reasonable approach is taken and St. Petersburg remains a boating-friendly area," added Podlich.

The January 24 meeting will be held in the Karen A. Steidinger Auditorium at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, 100 Eighth Avenue SE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. 

Attendees are asked to RSVP by calling the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina 727-893-7329 or email
For more background information on anchoring laws in Florida, see the "2011 BoatUS Anchoring Information" sheet at To get more information from the Florida Wildlife Commission on the pilot mooring program, go to

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Key West removed from Pilot Program

Charmaine, of BARR, reports the following - I've taken the liberty of quoting her press release as I'm too pressed for time with the upcoming Toronto Boat Show to do this myself. Charmaine, thanks for your good work!

UPDATE: KEY WEST HARBOR - Monroe County has dropped Key West Harbor from the Pilot Program. We expected this, as KWH's reason for being in the PP was for the development of Wisteria Island (Christmas Tree Island). Since the private ownership of Wisteria is in question (the US Navy claims ownership) development of Wisteria is on the table, so Key West Harbor is OFF the Pilot Program table! This is wonderful news that Monroe County made this official. Hurrah!

St. Augustine is the only Pilot Program site to have gone through the process of enacting and having approved by the FWC Commission an actual Pilot Program ordinance. Though they requested a ten-day anchoring time limit within their City limits, the FWC Commissioners approved a 30-day limit. This means that within any 90-day period, a vessel can anchor for a maximum of 29 consecutive days. On or before the 30th consecutive day, they can either: take a mooring or leave the City limits for a minimum of 24 hours. Following that, they can then anchor another 29 consecutive days without moving.

The next meeting of the FWC Commissioners, early February, has no Pilot Program sites on its agenda. So we wait for April's meeting. In the meantime we should be seeing proposals being offered by the other Pilot Program sites. Of course we'll keep you informed.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

No news isn't always good news...

It's been a while since I last posted. Two reasons - there has been very little news to speak of, although there is activity going on in the background, and secondly, I've been cruising south myself and haven't had as much time to devote to this project.
It seems that Boat US and NMMA are not going to leap into this fight with guns a'blazing - that's unfortunate, as they carry a lot of weight. That means it's up to us - the little guy, the everyday boater and cruiser - to carry this fight, to point out to the FWC and the towns and municipalities of Florida that we are not the problem, that it is not us who own the derelict boats and cause all the problems they face.
That means getting involved. It means following the issues, writing letters to the FWC, the newspapers, and the boating organizations such as Boat US and the NMMA and let them know you expect and demand their support in this fight.
But this will all be in the New Year. In the meantime, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas - and a new year filled with wonderful anchoring and boating opportunities.


Monday, November 28, 2011

The Future is Here...

Mariners' BARR on Facebook has an interesting story regarding anchoring in Boca Grande. It seems the owner of the Gasparilla Inn and the Pink Elephant Restaurant is not only not cruiser friendly, he insists that the bottom land is private. The police have been out there to shoo those anchoring away, but it appears that the police response depends on which officer is running the show. Some have indicated that there is no problem with anchoring, but according to a posting at BARR, Lt. Brown of the Sherrif's office stated, “As long as vessels were in compliance with State and Federal regulations, his deputies would not force anyone to leave, as ownership of the bottom lands was undecided.”
In another incident brought up on BARR, apparently, a local Captain was verbally berated by a sherrif's officer when he brought up the subject of anchoring in Boca Grande and that Florida state law 327.60 made any action to enforce and/or restrict anchoring by the sherrif's office illegal.
Apparently, the FWC has been notified of the situation and it is being looked into.
The greater issue is what I'm concerned about: what will happen in 2014 when some of the Pilot Program laws are enacted statewide? The 300 foot ruling for example. What if you cannot anchor within 300 feet of any marine infrastructure? What will that do to your favourite anchorages? In many cases, it will either eliminate them, or restrict them so severely, they'll be unusable.
We need to fight this unconscionable theft of our historical right to anchor in Florida. If you haven't as yet done so, contact Captain Tom Shipp of the FWC  at and let him know your opinion on this. Be sure to copy Florida Anchoring Issues at Florida Anchoring Issues.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stuart - a Victory of Sorts

Stuart and Martin County reversed their 300 foot buffer zone in Manatee Pocket after strenuous opposition from boaters incensed at losing this superb anchorage. This shows what we, as boaters, can do to stop this insidious removal of our rights to anchor.
An interesting side story came up here. This website contacted Sarah Heard, the commissioner for the Manatee Pocket area, to discuss the buffer zone and anchoring issues with her. She absolutely denied that - well, let me give you the quote:

No one has proposed prohibiting anchorage in the Manatee Pocket, Mr. Moran.

Sarah Heard

Yet at the November 22 meeting - well, here's another quote, this time from Mike Ahern's Waterway Guide story -

Commissioner Sarah Heard of District 4 asked, "Is there a way that we can prohibit anchoring in any area 
other than the two "pods" on the map?" Fitzpatrick responded, "There's nothing directing us one way or 
another, except that we have received a lot of emails from people who were upset that we were eliminating any anchoring in Manatee Pocket."
"How do we keep boats from anchoring in the unregulated areas?" asked Heard..."

So we now know quite clearly who our enemy is in Stuart. It's Sarah Heard. Keep that fact in mind folks. For the full story on the Manatee Pocket victory, see this page here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Waterway Guides Wades into the Battle

As many of you are aware, I'm one of Waterway Guide's Cruising Editors, so it is with great pleasure that I reprint here the news from the Waterway Guide forum, written by Mike Ahart.

Where Can I Anchor in Florida?

Reported By: WG Staff

Editorial – Mike Ahart, Waterway Guide
Have you ever watched a football game at a stadium? The field is massive - 100-yards from goal line to goal line. It's no wonder that "football field" has become a unit of measurement in American society - it means "really, really long."
The City of Stuart and Martin County in Florida approved an ordinance stating that "anchoring and mooring of vessels is prohibited within three hundred (300) feet of any maritime infrastructure" or "marked boundary of any permitted mooring field" in areas they have designated as part of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Pilot Program - Manatee Pocket, Jensen Beach, Rio, and the City of Stuart waterfront. Just how far is 300 feet? You guessed it...a football field.
Manatee Pocket 
Here's Manatee Pocket with a 300 foot rule, without construction of a mooring field. Looks like 5 or 6 boats could anchor in the middle, and maybe one in the lower basin, without breaking any rules. With a mooring field? Just the one boat - maybe.
Think of your favorite anchorages - in Florida, or Maryland, or Tennessee, Michigan or Maine. Try to imagine anchoring there while keeping a football field length from any "floating structure, houseboat, dolphin pole, dock, pier, wharf, seawall or bulkhead" (Martin County's definition of "marine infrastructure"). Could you still anchor there? No-Name Harbor? No. Lake Sylvia? No. Just about any protected creek off the Chesapeake Bay? Mostly, no. Anywhere that provides all-around protection? Probably not.
Clearly, this ordinance, if adopted and then approved by FWC, would set an insidious precedent, although it is probably unlikely to pass the scrutiny of a court challenge. Let's hope pressure from the cruising community, and common sense, keeps it from coming to that.
(Martin County plans to adopt this ordinance at its Nov. 22 meeting and then send it to FWC for approval. Martin County Commissioners can be contacted here.  FWC Commissioners can be contacted here. Can you attend the meeting? When you arrive, fill out a "speaker form" to speak during the public comment period.)