Tag Archives: Gov’t

Florida Anchoring: Groundhog Day

klaxonstrongWell, the three public meetings have come and gone. “The 300 Feet is the Starting Point” is now 150 feet, and that change is worse than meaningless since it is just a place to renew the political discussion and some cruisers may mis-read it as an actual improvement and disengage from the discussion.

However, the survey itself has been improved and clarified. The issues have merit, but merit, truth and balance are the first casualties of political discussion, especially when the Pols have already smeared those of us who anchor with villainy approaching barbary.

The new survey is at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/AnchoringSurvey and must be completed by Dec 7. It still ignores cruisers’ need for a place to anchor awaiting a good weather window for crossing the Gulf Stream — something I mentioned directly to Major Moore and documented in my submission at the Vero Beach meeting. Since marinas and mooring fields stand to gain from those of us cruising to the Bahamas being trapped for several days (weeks last season) by weather and potentially draconian anchoring restrictions, this omission is troublesome. So, I will say it again, the safe harbor language in the survey doesn’t engage with this issue sufficiently.

From the “300 Feet” post

I have run a test on some popular anchorages and what a 300 foot keep-out zone means. Basically, Faber Cove would cease to be usable, and the same for Lake Boca Raton and Lake Sylvia.

On the other hand…

Faber150

Faber Cove

LakeSylvia150

Lake Sylvia

Having reanalyzed the charts by halving the keep out distance from 300 to 150 feet, the change improves anchoring access in Faber Cove, and Lake Sylvia (green 300 feet, blue 150 feet keep out). Lake Worth and Hobe Sound are largely unaffected.

NoAncHowever the shoreside locals we heard from at the Vero Beach meeting would prefer 1/4 mile or out of their county whichever is greater. One very angry attendee would have gladly substituted country for county. [Before he angrily stomped up the aisle and left, He said, He had no idea people could anchor behind his waterfront property when he bought it.  ?!?!?]

POST SCRIPT From the “300 Feet” post (re: evaluating anchorages)

I looked no farther south [than Lake Sylvia] as we don’t travel any farther south than necessary to get to the Bahamas where cruisers who anchor are more welcome.

Unfortunately, I posted that sentiment before Mr. Carey of the Bahamas National Trust cast considerable doubt on how welcome cruisers (vice their money) are in the Bahamas. Interestingly, within just a few weeks of his grapeshot broadside at everyone who anchors in the Bahamas, The BNT launched its annual $$$ appeal without including a repudiation of his remarks. Thus, they have also informed us.

Vanity Plates

statetagI suppose when one starts thinking about what one might put on a vanity plate one has well and truly returned to the ranks of seasonal cruiser.

Our trusty Toyota has a plate which reads SAIL-4VR. I’m not sure whether it is going to retain its relevance or not. It would only take a sailing dinghy (where do we store it?) to keep the plate relevant. It would only require us to beat, reach or run with the seabreeze once a year with Brilliant Star. Since we are heading toward the Bahamas in mid to late winter, the issue needn’t be heavily addressed at the moment.

But we have returned to the realm of two vehicles. SAIL-4VR will go to the new one — Janet’s. The (now my) Toyota will be in need of something. Certainly the State’s choice would do the job, but I have enough of that in my life right now. So I have put my mind to the task. Unfortunately, plates which aid or honor entities or interests that appeal to me can only have 5 characters. Regular vanity plates may have 7 — or ~1300 times as many choices. Of course, one has to account for the various prohibitions the State places on micro-memes it doesn’t want flaunted around on its roads.

I have a few crypto-acronyms in mind, but will keep them to myself as I might actually decide to use one. At the moment, my favorite is too crypto. I don’t want someone rear-ending me trying to figure it out (yes, that does happen). Some, such as any variation of CLOD, are out. I really prefer something snicker/smile inducing, but sadly those same things can induce road rage in someone whose context is vastly different than mine. I could do something meaningful only to me, but then I might as well just write that on a sticky note and stick it on my dash and go with the semi-random State issue. Nah.

The one word that I know would get a knowing nod around here is trademarked by a litigious defender. So…

Florida Anchoring — 300 Feet is Just the Starting Point

klaxonstrongI find it interesting after all the Happy Hour outrage over the proposed adverse rule making that came on the heels of the announcement of the current Florida FWC concept exploration, the public meetings have come and gone with almost no comment. Postings here, Cruisersnet, Seven Seas, and Waterway Guide have garnered all of three comments.

I have run a test on some popular anchorages and what a 300 foot keep-out zone means. Basically, Faber Cove would cease to be usable, and the same for Lake Boca Raton and Lake Sylvia. On the other hand, the 300 foot keep-out zone applied to North Lake Worth, and Lake Worth proper and Hobe Sound would have almost no impact given the bottom contours and ICW channel proximity. The charts are below.

I used the shoreline to profile the zones, as Capt Klein of the FWC said they had exempted docks from their definition as it would be too hard to draw contours around them. So clearly he wasn’t thinking 300 feet from the structures of houses and condos.

Notwithstanding the problem of the State ceding control of State waters to municipalities and Federal prerogatives, the trouble is 300 feet is a starting point — there is an equal probability the number will get larger or smaller. Since 300 feet still allows  two or three small cruisers room to anchor in Faber Cove, Lake Sylvia and Lake Boca Raton, we should be watchful for attempts to move up from 300 feet.

I looked no farther south as we don’t travel any farther south than necessary to get to the Bahamas where cruisers who anchor are more welcome.

Florida Anchoring Meeting, Vero Beach (And the Beat Goes On)

klaxonstrongTonight I attended the FWC hosted Vero Beach meeting on regulatory Concepts for anchoring in Florida. The meeting was well run by Maj Moore of the FWC who was supported by Capt Klein and a staff of non-uniformed personnel. Seven regulatory Concepts were presented with repeated requests throughout the meeting for the attendees to put their thoughts in the comments sections of the questionnaires provided. A similar meeting is scheduled for Bradenton tomorrow evening. A regulated open mike session allowed time for cruisers, other boaters, home owners, members of the boating industry and locality representatives to speak.

The core purpose of the meeting was to provide the FWC access to a broader thought base when developing regulatory alternatives to respond to legislative attempts to return to locally controlled anchoring. While the FWC Anchoring Pilot Program was extended for three years in the last session, there is no reason to believe it won’t come up again this next session.

The elephant in the room issue is a regulatory concept allowing anchoring keep out zones in the vicinity of waterfront residences. The initial language proposes expansive keep out zones which would largely eliminate anchoring in Florida’s most populous and/or geographically constrained waterfront regions — a boon to marina owners and mooring field operators — and quite possibly unconstitutional if not simply illegal.

As is usual in cases like this, the public comment was all over the map. About 75% of the comments were on topic, the rest were either meandering or sales pitches or diatribes of some sort. Some comments were more appropriate to a legislative comment environment. Of the on topic comments, about half were polite rants [actually this was a very polite crowd, considering the potential downside of both legislation and the FWC keep out concept] the other half contained a few useful ideas and raised issues that will likely require a court challenge to ever see settled. Several people spoke in favor of uniformity in application — but several worried one size may not fit all considering Florida’s geographic variety.

About 100 people attended. Roughly a third spoke. A couple of people on both sides of the issue behaved badly, but they failed to ignite audience passion or participation.

I agree with Major Moore. It is better to have this dialog now and concepts in hand when the legislative juggernaut starts up again than it is to respond to proposed legislation with “duh.”

All seven concepts can be found at. http://myfwc.com/media/2847550/anchoring-public-meeting.pdf

 

Dredging Bill becomes Law

klaxonstrong“President Obama signed bipartisan legislation this week acknowledging that recreational boating is a significant contributor to the nation’s economy, according to BoatUS, which said it will work to implement the law.” Read more at:

Soundings Trade Only Today