I 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.
Tonight 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
Throughout this site, and over the years, we have promoted Bebi-Electronics — especially their 18 LED Beka Kaukaua anchor light. We liked it because it was a superb anchor light that also illuminated the deck, making the extent of the boat easier to determine.
Sadly, politics in Fiji have driven them out of business. We haven’t needed a new light (they were so well made), but the The FrankenBebiTM Project appears to be well on its way to creating a successor light based on improvements in the same design principles.