“While good people have done good work, there is no indication it is a durable solution.” [Quote posted here last year.] Sadly, there are now solid indications it is not durable at all. The Pilot Program described was not endorsed by sufficient waterfront municipalities for useful data to be collected*. As a consequence, the FWC asked for legislative extension for the program for another three years. Such legislation was drafted.
Three eleventh hour amendments were also drafted. The first, in the Senate, would have allowed Miami-Dade and Broward to have essentially wiped out anchoring in those counties on the basis of proximity to residences. It was apparently voted down, largely because of the regional exclusivity. The second, in the House, removed the exclusivity and was voted down for reasons unclear. The third, back in the Senate, was offered by the Minority Leader (from a landlocked District) and appeared to be voted down by voice vote because it had not been through committee. Although, the Senator sponsoring the Bill made a solid plea for giving the FWC program time to collect its data (said Senator being very senior).
There was apparently a “flood” of cruiser input at the last minute on each bill. I doubt we will ever know whether it was a flood and did some good, or it was a trickle (in comparison to Florida shore-side interests) and the amendments went down because they were insufficiently politicked before the vote.
What is important is the reasoning behind these amendments. They have nothing to do with actual cruiser behavior, but they represent a near criminalization of cruising based on Goebbels-esque scare language. Basically, we are propagandized as an unbearable threat to children, privacy, and water quality. Uncompromisable threats. Not to mention we foul up the view (of the condos on the other shore I suppose). Had the amendments passed as worded, all anchoring outside of the FWC Pilot areas could have been prohibited by overlapping residential proximity keep out zones.
Until and unless cruisers show more organization and political savvy (instead of just outraged whining on discussion boards no one else ever sees) Wealthy Waterfront Floridians, Florida marinas and Florida mooring field operators are going to succeed on this one in the next three years, and the pent up irritation with cruisers and lost revenue will make that success quite bitter — for us.
*The implementation of mooring fields has been problematic as well. Several jurisdictions have implemented their fields in such a way as to make safe anchoring, for those who prefer it, almost impossible. This has resulted in a backlash. Cruisers have not only not used the mooring fields, they have shifted their anchoring away from the economies of the municipalities involved. This is a double edged sword as it mis-portrays cruising traffic as diminished when in fact it has merely shifted.