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Old 06-12-2015, 12:44   #1
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City Commissioner response to Collins Canal in Miami Beach

I send an e-mail to the Miami Beach Mayor, each individual commissioner except one and many City government department heads.

I got the following response from Commissioner Gonzalez;

Tom,

"So that you know, MB is proactive in educating and regulating those who choose to anchor in public waterways. Please feel free to call me at the phone number below to explain how we could (in your opinion) improve the situation."

Commissioner Gonzalea

This is Tom's thoughts below;

I am against derelict boats being used as liveaboards in front of private property. I don't think the city wants to incur the wrath of cruisers. So what is the solution? Can the Coast Guard inspect the boats and find them in violation of some CG regulations and require them to move?

I am going to return her call but I need reasonable, viable solutions from their point of view not ours. Also, I would not be the best one to speak for the cruising community and a group of knowledgeable & reasonable people probably be. So who would be the best people to represent cruisers?

If I owned one of those homes in that area, I would be relentless with the politicians about derelict boats. I will not defend them.

Tom

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Old 06-12-2015, 13:12   #2
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Re: City Commissioner response to Collins Canal in Miami Beach

I don't have any skin in the game but your approach is correct ,you will not win if you try to defend the derelict boats . I would guess that you need to figure what the trigger is, derelict boats or liveaboards . Also you may need to focus on your own priorities . Do think livaboards are OK under some circumstances or are you trying to protect the right of cruisers to anchour for a while or both
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Old 06-12-2015, 13:39   #3
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Re: City Commissioner response to Collins Canal in Miami Beach

The trigger is already present in all laws. (I will paraphrase from memory here, so correct this if it is wrong) - A derelict boat is one that is un-navigable. It will have no provisions for propulsion, nor could it safely navigate federal or state water ways. It also needs to be captained by a competent person who can operate the boat safely.

The above quite clearly covers derelicts, as well as those boats planted around and used for apartments or rentals.

I would push this point - the laws and descriptions already exist, but are not being enforced.

I would also point out to them that tying a dinghy to the side of a canal for a few hours (not blocking navigation) so that one may shop in and/or tour the area is not derelict.

That ban is egregious and tips their hand. I would hammer on them to explain it in any reasonable terms.

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Old 06-12-2015, 13:49   #4
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Re: City Commissioner response to Collins Canal in Miami Beach

Ok, we've been around and around on this.

Since you are in contact with someone making policy here are a few ideas.

"uscg" inspection is useless, you have to have what a bell, 3 flares, lifejackets and an anchorlight? Most derelicts have that or will get them fast.

Require all vessels to be operable as intended by manufactured. Sailboats must have masts and sails, inboard power vessels must have working inboard.

Require all boat be made ready for "navigation" in a reasonable time period. I suggest any vessel anchored needed to be able to get underway within 45 minutes of spot inspection. This is under own power and all anchors must be hauled within the timeframe.

The reality is cities don't want to deal with the hassles of these type of enforcements. Outright bans are easier to enforce. Fortunately navigation including anchoring will be hard to completely ban.
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Old 06-12-2015, 13:55   #5
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Re: City Commissioner response to Collins Canal in Miami Beach

I have a 9' whaler anchored in St Augustine currently. Has no means of propulsion onboard currently, but is likely the ONLY boat at anchor in full compliance with the city pilot program and displaying a city anchoring sticker.


I do not believe there is any current Florida law regarding means of propulsion whilst at anchor. Perhaps there should be, but if you hang a 4hp of a 50' Ferrocement ketch with no mast is that then legal?


Maybe the state needs to hire someone that actually knows something about boats to help draft some reasonable laws.
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Old 06-12-2015, 13:59   #6
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Re: City Commissioner response to Collins Canal in Miami Beach

Perhaps a suggestion such as we have here in Washington state that anchored vessels must move every 30 days a minimum of x nautical miles and can only anchor in the same area for x days per calendar year. Violators are subject to seizure if violations are not rectified within x days after first citation. M2CW
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Old 06-12-2015, 15:04   #7
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Re: City Commissioner response to Collins Canal in Miami Beach

It sounds like you already have the laws you need. They just need the will to enforce them
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Old 06-12-2015, 15:31   #8
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Re: City Commissioner response to Collins Canal in Miami Beach

Maybe a permit for mooring a dinghy at a municipal seawall. Registration along with a fee might deter the vessels they are trying to get rid of.

Daily fee, weekly fee, monthly fee.

I would think that completely blocking upland services, as they are doing now, wouldn't go well at the state legislature in MB's attempt to get special regs for them.
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Old 06-12-2015, 15:44   #9
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Re: City Commissioner response to Collins Canal in Miami Beach

I don't know how to pull off permits for dinghies in practice. Probably the majority of people using the canal are transients that have pulled into South Beach to wait weather and do some provisioning and repairs - then blow town for other places.

A requirement to go into Miami city and visit a government place during business hours certainly wouldn't cut it. A quick check-in at the police dock right next to the canal may work.

Then again, I might balk at a $50 permit to go shopping and eating out in the local area for a week - so this would be price-sensitive.

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Old 06-12-2015, 16:24   #10
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Re: City Commissioner response to Collins Canal in Miami Beach

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
I don't know how to pull off permits for dinghies in practice. Probably the majority of people using the canal are transients that have pulled into South Beach to wait weather and do some provisioning and repairs - then blow town for other places.

A requirement to go into Miami city and visit a government place during business hours certainly wouldn't cut it. A quick check-in at the police dock right next to the canal may work.

Then again, I might balk at a $50 permit to go shopping and eating out in the local area for a week - so this would be price-sensitive.

Mark
Florida cities might look at this like they do with on-street parking. Pay a reasonable fee for a permit to anchor (park) for a time limited period. If you exceed that limit you get a fine, and if you really exceed that limit you get towed.

The city would have to make it easy to get the permit and it would have to be tolerant of minor over time extensions especially if foul weather is involved.

All of us will have different ideas about what a reasonable fee might be. Some would find that $50 a week (about $7 a day) would be reasonable, others not so much. For me $7 a day would not deter me from visiting Miami. There are however many other reasons I might chose to avoid Miami.
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Old 06-12-2015, 17:15   #11
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Re: City Commissioner response to Collins Canal in Miami Beach

Parking a dinghy along a canal could be compared to on-street parking, and that is what what I was responding to regarding price and practice.

Comparing legally anchoring your home according to federal navigation statutes to on-street parking? That is stretching it a bit for me. If I was paying to anchor, I would like some assurances and amenities for that money.

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Old 06-12-2015, 19:14   #12
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Re: City Commissioner response to Collins Canal in Miami Beach

You need a permit to dock a dinghy in Key West ($6/day at KW Bight Marina).

My point is they *could* require a registration such they would know each boat anchored that is using upland services. If you don't bring a dinghy to shore, they don't know you. Most long term vessels at anchor go to shore. Those staying a day or two would probably not object to paying to moor a dinghy.

As it currently stands, they are blocking access to upland services. I don't know of any state or federal law that can change that. They have not made anchoring illegal, just don't give any place to land your dinghy.
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Old 07-12-2015, 09:48   #13
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Re: City Commissioner response to Collins Canal in Miami Beach

I hate to say it, but I really don't mind the liability insurance rule, even though so many are against it.

Any boat anchoring or mooring more than 3 days in any one place (weather exclusions) must have proof of liability insurance which includes pollution mitigation and salvage.

I don't like the idea of not being inclusive to the budget cruisers and liveaboards, but sadly, the only way to ensure people clean up their mess is to actually hold them accountable for it.

From a State Standpoint, it would also be nice if Florida built haul out facilities that allowed inexpensive storage for boats on the hard, and a program similar to California with the turn in without consequence instead of abandoning. It would be a cleaner and more controlled environment with education.

Both of the above would allow people with limited funds to buy the cheap boat and dream, fix it up inexpensively and then cruise and liveaboard responsibly.


I don't like the idea of permits to anchor as that would just add more red tape for those of us who are really cruising. I don't mind being responsible for my actions, those of my crew, and any damage my boat may cause and that really is the nut of the problem.
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Old 07-12-2015, 10:12   #14
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Re: City Commissioner response to Collins Canal in Miami Beach

Having used Miami as a home base for ten years, I fully understand their real and continuing problem with derelict boats and the rights of homeowners. One solution is more government regulation and enforcement which will undoubtedly lead to many real and imagined cases of litigation in the local courts and further restrict freedom of the waterways. The only sensible solution to circumvent unnecessary laws/regulations is to limit anchoring to a 3-5 day period with the requirement to move at least one mile to a new anchorage. Perhaps initially the "derelicts" will find a way to move for a time, but they will quickly tire of the hassle and will eventually leave these anchorages available to people who are truly cruising and find their nirvana ,perhaps, in a local park or homeless camp. As a final note, over the years, I have had the opportunity to meet some of these people living in truly derelict boats and they will tell you unabashedly that they are not interested in governmental programs to change their lives and are quite happy with their existence. The City of Miami and Broward County has numerous programs available to help those who are truly in need. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 07-12-2015, 10:33   #15
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Re: City Commissioner response to Collins Canal in Miami Beach

I have not proposed a permit to anchor. I've proposed a permit to land your dinghy.

The state controls the water to the high water line. Someone else owns the land above the high water line. What MB has done is create civic code that denies a boater access to MB property that is above the high water line. A permit to land your dinghy on MB property is the proposal. With this permit, it's perfectly within MB's right to ask about your anchored vessel. Hence, they are not 'controlling' your anchoring, simply finding out about your anchored vessel only when/if you want to land your dinghy on their property.
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