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Old 11-19-2011, 12:03 AM   #1
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The following is an extract from the St. Augustine Record, regarding proposed new regulations regarding boaters wishing to anchor out. Other cities I believe have and have had similar issues. Even as their vast mooring fields on the ICW remain almost completely empty the push is on to further restrict anchoring.

Please, those of you with the knowledge and background of how best to handle these issues, do come forward and be heard. It seems that the City Of St. Augustine is determined to drive out everything that doesn't fit their business model.

This seems to be: Welcome if you bring lots of spending cash, ride our trolley bus tour and dine and shop in our St. George St. businesses. Please do not loiter on the sidewalks to impede the other shoppers but do go inside the shops and spend. We aim to remove the horse-drawn carriages, street vendors or artists to not distract you from your spending. Please stay focused and spend in our establishments. Remember, that is what you are here for.

If you are coming by boat, use our high-priced marinas. We have diligently attempted to make any anchoring out a non-viable option for you. After a stay of 10 days we should have sufficiently fleeced your cash reserves to make any further combing out not cost-effective or meeting with our stay/benefit goals. Currently we are working on all manner of regulations under color of law to scare you out of even attempting such a rash act as anchoring. To further our end the S.S.R. of St. Augustine will decree to enact the following:

(The text from the Record follows below)

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission on Thursday approved the text of an ordinance implementing St. Augustine’s mooring ball pilot program and adding additional elements to regulation of the busy harbor.

The approval is a blow to those mariners who believe the city’s mooring field restrictions are too controlling of what they believe should be unregulated water.

A boycott of St. Augustine harbor was an idea proposed by some.

As a result of the FWC approval, the current program will remain in force until 2014 and could be an example of what the Legislature might consider for statewide adoption, according to a city news release.

The regulations added include:

* Guidelines on how close a vessel may anchor to a marine structure.

* Restrictions on anchoring in Salt Run to preserve shellfish beds.

* How close to a mooring field a vessel may anchor.

* Preventing vessels from blocking the channels of the San Sebastian River.

* Requiring that a vessel anchored outside a mooring field be able to get underway.

* Specifies how long an occupied vessel may be anchored in the city but outside a mooring field.

The FWC changed the city’s rule of limiting a vessel outside a mooring field to 10 consecutive days in each 30-day period and expanded that to 30 consecutive days in any 45 consecutive day period.

The city’s first ordinance on this will be changed to reflect these additional requirements.

A revised ordinance is expected to be adopted at the City Commission’s Dec. 19 meeting.

It will go into effect 10 days later.

The shorter anchoring period was one of the main objections of the boating community.

(end of copy )

As I often stay longer than a month and do spend money in the town or at businesses it galls me how the city wants to impose on what are completely my own choices. Can they not understand some people do things by choice? Hanging off a buoy or a dock may not be one of them so just get over it.

Ivo S/V LinnuPesa ( currently full of piss and vinegar and with the rant toggle on )
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:13 AM   #2
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I had heard via BoatUS about this issue. I hope--since you are in Florida as I recall and you feel strongly about this matter--that you have written a letter to be included in the record for the public hearing. As I recall, earlier this month was the hearing--no?

The state of Florida had been doing a lot of things to supersede/pre-empt local authorities on anchoring restrictions for CRUISERS (not liveaboards) but as I recall, St Augustine is one of the few places that actually has jurisdiction of its own harbor (historic reason having been there prior to the state...don't recall the detail only the effect) so it can do this sort of thing.

Most cruisers do move from place to place so it becomes a bit less of a problem. However, if one is trying to stay in a single location for very long, then these sorts of restrictions can really wreak havoc with one's plans.

As I recall, the info I saw just 2 weeks ago via BoatUS regarding this matter was that one couldn't anchor for more than 10 days without moving to a MOORING -- not to a marina. Unfortunately, unsightly and unoccupied vessels (or hovels unable to sail anywhere but anchored out and lived aboard by people anyway) go a long way in pushing local governments into making these sorts of regulations/ordinances. It truly would be better if the local governments just came up with a reasonable "seaworthy" requirement for vessels in their harbors. JMHO.

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Old 11-19-2011, 07:23 AM   #3
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Thank you for your information Jeane. I do confess to not having kept up with all the wrangling but I googled a 2006 SSCA letter drafted by legal beagles outlining boaters anchoring rights in Florida.

What I find most galling is the 'one size fits all' approach that is taken by the cities. If a boat is unsafe or not seaworthy there are laws and sufficient remedies to deal with it, or there could be. However, as my residence is primarily in CA so when I come to visit or work on the boat I do not wish to be dictated to how long I may stay on it. I spend plenty of money ashore and certainly can spend it elsewhere. too. FL has it's own rules regarding live-aboards but as long as they comply with all other boater requirements just leave the boat people alone, regardless of whether some business lobbies like them or not.

The crux of the matter is cities want carte blanche authority to shoo away anyone they think will not replenish their coffers. That includes all frugal or limited means "anchor out" boaters. Note that I do not try to define a cruiser, live-aboard or a passing through traveler. That is impossible as there are too many shades of grey. Weather, repairs, illness or crew issues can wreck all plans. No-one should be penalized for that.. Similarly, being forced away from a safe anchorage by a 10-day or similar rule in the face of an approaching hurricane should be a punishable offense. Boats need their R&R as well as repairs and have their own time schedules. Why all this nit-picking, is it a slow day in Dodge? There already are rules (and fines ) for illegal discharge, anchoring lights and safety issues. If some patina or rust is their problem, I commiserate, but at the same time I hate their "ancient city" smugness and crass red choo-choos carting lily-white tourists around town. What price my sanity and why do I need to see that? Did I enter Disney World by mistake? Gosh, what happens if I did not buy a ticket!

The decision to leave should be only the captain's and only when the boat is good and ready. No amount of legislation should be allowed to influence this as lives are lost when departures are mandated rather than undertaken only when prudent.

Coming back from NY harbor I smuggly labelled my photo of the famous Verdigris Lady the "Statute of Gimeee". Forget all about that 'give me your poor and tired' baloney, it's revenue we really want. And boy oh boy, do we have some regulations for you! Ka-tching!

Ivo
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