Cruising in Florida?

Two popular destinations are looking for feedback regarding proposed anchoring restrictions.

Florida postcard

The Sunshine State is home to plenty of cruisers and plays host to many more, but over the last few years, more and more coastal municipalities have tried to limit where and how long people could anchor their boats. More than likely, this is the result of a few bad apples ruining it for the entire bushel, mixed with landlubber city council members who just don't get it. If you are a boater in Florida, or have a business that is impacted by boaters in Florida, then BoatUS is urging you to speak up about these issues:

** ST AUGUSTINE**

As part of Florida's recreational boat mooring and anchoring pilot program, the City of St. Augustine has submitted a proposed anchoring ordinance to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission that limits anchoring within city limits to ten consecutive days. If the ordinance is passed, once this time limit is reached a vessel would have to move to an approved mooring field or marina, or outside city boundaries for at least one full day, before the boat would be allowed to return to the area. The nation's largest boat owners group, BoatUS, is urging local and traveling boaters to speak up now about how this anchoring restriction might affect them. Current mooring fees for visiting (non-resident) boaters in St. Augustine are $20 daily and $120 weekly. Written comments can be filed online before Sunday, November 6th, by going to www.myfwc.com/boating/anchoring-mooring/public-comment.

"The state is now asking for feedback from boaters on this draft local ordinance for St. Augustine," said BoatUS Executive Vice President Margaret Podlich. "However, since it's a pilot program, it's really important for anyone who wants to anchor in Florida to give the City feedback." The City of St. Augustine is one of five cities in the state's mooring and anchoring pilot project, which allows municipalities to develop ordinances that limit nearby anchoring. For more background information on anchoring laws in Florida, see the new BoatUS information sheet at www.BoatUS.com/gov/florida.

SARASOTA

BoatUS is urging boaters, cruisers and sailors, as well as those who benefit from visiting boater spending, to attend a public meeting Thursday, November 3rd hosted by city officials in Sarasota, Fla., where the possibility of anchoring regulations for recreational boats will be discussed.

BoatUS said the agenda will center on proposals to limit the number of days a boat can remain on anchor as well as to determine a “set back” limit on the number of feet an anchored boat must be from private or public land.

Sarasota is one of five cities in Florida’s mooring and anchoring pilot project, which gives the municipality the ability to limit anchoring.

“The challenge is to come up with a solution that works for all parties,” BoatUS executive vice president Margaret Podlich said. “There is no concrete written proposal to comment on at this time. However, the proposed $18 to $25 daily fee at the Sarasota mooring field for visiting boaters, in combination with limits on the number of nights you can anchor outside of the mooring field, as well the minimum distances from upland property, mean that it is vitally important for boaters to be at this meeting. We don’t expect another chance for boaters to be heard before the anchoring plan is drafted by the city.”

The meeting will be held from 5- 7:30 p.m. in the commission chambers at 1565 Front St. Information is available by contacting project manager Tony Russo at 941-465-2200, Ext. 6367 or anthony.russo@sarasotagov.com