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Old 24-10-2011, 09:23   #1
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St. Augustine Anchoring Restrictions

Although we haven't yet heard whether or not the FWC will approve St. Augustine's 10 day anchoring limit, I believe it is time to punish them for even proposing it and make an example of them for the other Pilot Program cities.

If every cruiser migrating south this year were to refuse to use the moorings and as they pass St. Augustine they call the city marina on the radio to tell them why, it wo...uld send a strong message. Tell them that their city council is hostile to cruisers and even though you have enjoyed their city in the past and spent money there, this year you will spend your money in places that are more cruiser friendly.

Google the St. Augustine Chamber of Commerce (St. Johns County Chamber) and click on "Contact Us" to send them a message that you will not be supporting their businesses this year due to the hostile attitude by the city council to cruisers (tourists who arrive by boat instead of car). Let them know that the word is spreading among the hundreds of boats migrating south that St. Augustine is hostile to them and that they will be boycotting it this year. Let them know that the migrating boats have lots of baby boomers aboard with money to spend even in this poor economy but that they will be spending their money elsewhere this year. Everyone always says "It's all about the money." Well, let's let our money talk!

Spread the word to all the cruisers you know and all those you meet as you head south. The mooring field needs to be mostly empty and losing money to send them the message. I am well aware that there are few good anchoring locations just north and south of St. Augustine. So anchor for a night, enjoy an evening aboard, keep your money in your wallet, and call the city marina as you pass to tell them why you are skipping St. Augustine this year. Then come one down here further south and enjoy Florida which is still a great cruising ground and a great state!
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Old 24-10-2011, 09:47   #2
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Re: St. Augustine anchoring restrictions

The difficulty of trying to convince St. Aug of their folly is that the moorings are actually doing quite well from what I saw on my way north in the spring. St. Aug does quite well as far as tourism goes without having to rely on cruisers. The marina is not doing as well because many boats that used to go in the marina now take moorings. The main effect of the moorings is that it has chased the St. Aug liveaboards away. I think this was their intent.
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Old 24-10-2011, 10:02   #3
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Re: St. Augustine anchoring restrictions

Better yet, try it before you complain about it. We did this spring and actually quite enjoyed the convience of the mooring vs having to deal with anchoring in thick mud and a fast flowing, reversing current. Not only is picking up the mooring simpler, the mooring price includes free dinghy dockage, free boat side pump out (they have quite a nice skiff with a pump aboard), and hot showers ashore.
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Old 24-10-2011, 11:04   #4
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Re: St. Augustine anchoring restrictions

Do you have any idea how bad it was before they put the moorings in? I was there in 2007 and 2008 and there was NO anchorage for a passing cruising boat, except North of the Bridge of Lions. Very strong and swift tidal currents there and really exposed to winds.

Both the Salt Run anchorage and the anchorage South of the Bridge of Lions were packed with local liveaboards. Some on permanent makeshift moorings made of engine blocks, some anchored but taking up all available anchoring spaces. Some unemployed, some with jobs but all living for free.

We decided against anchoring in the North anchorage or taking a slip at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina (we've docked there before and know that you can only arrive at and leave from the dock at slack tide, otherwise you are asking for trouble ) and instead docked at a marina up St. Sebastian River.

At the same time, a fellow travelling sailor decided to anchor in the North anchorage. While he was ashore having dinner the current yanked his anchor out and pushed the boat onto the bridge, breaking its mast. It took two weks and $7,000 to fix it. Pretty expensive anchorage, I would say.

Plus, given that when you could still anchor the Municipal Marina was charging $10 to dock your dinghy and I think something extra to use the shower, internet and laundry and now you have a safe mooring AND use of the facilities for $20, I don't see what the OP is complaining about.
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Old 24-10-2011, 12:05   #5
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Re: St. Augustine anchoring restrictions

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Originally Posted by sailingmonica View Post
Do you have any idea how bad it was before they put the moorings in? I was there in 2007 and 2008 and there was NO anchorage for a passing cruising boat, except North of the Bridge of Lions. Very strong and swift tidal currents there and really exposed to winds.

.

We always managed to find a spot south of the BoL, way south and a bit to the east, near the shoal. The mud is good holding. The moorings go right up there now.
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Old 24-10-2011, 12:58   #6
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Re: St. Augustine Anchoring Restrictions

What the OP is complaining about is not the moorings, it is that St. Augustine wants to limit anchoring to a maximum of 10 days, plus they are proposing so many restrictions on where you can anchor that it basically outlaws anchoring almost anywhere within city limits. You may like tieing up to a mooring, but why should that mean that those of us who want to anchor should be excluded? I have safely and successfully anchored in St. Augustine many times. This law's intent is to eliminate anchoring in order to force transient boaters to use the moorings. If you would like to make a comment on the proposed ordinance please do so right away here.
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Old 24-10-2011, 14:44   #7
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Re: St. Augustine Anchoring Restrictions

Thanks Kettlewell. As the original poster I would like to clarify. We like and have used every existing mooring field in Florida! We have spent five winters on a mooring in Boot Key Harbor in the Keys. We support St. Augustine putting in a mooring field. We would have used the mooring field if the city council had not tried to take away the right to anchor. We do not support them trying to remove your right to anchor anywhere within the city limits of St. Augustine after 10 days! The Pilot Program is a backdoor way to remove your right to anchor as protected by Florida Chapter 327 and federal law. If you allow this you will find that you can only cruise in Florida by paying for a mooring or a slip and your right to anchor will disappear! There are hundreds of us trying to protect your right to anchor right now. If you prefer to never anchor and always use a slip or mooring that's fine. But some of us cruisers prefer to anchor and don't want to lose that right.

BTW, don't trust moorings more thatn your own ground tackle. We have seen moorings fail in three mooring fields while we were there! And most of the other mooring fields have also had moorings fail! Also, when you sign the contact for a mooring in most cases you are waiving subrogation against the city and that can negate your insurance policy!!!!
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Old 24-10-2011, 14:53   #8
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Re: St. Augustine Anchoring Restrictions

Here is a copy of the comment I submitted in the box on the FWC website:

Limiting or prohibiting anchoring directly conflicts with one of the stated goals of the Pilot Program, which this ordinance is supposed to comply with: "b. Promote public access to the waters of this state." Since the stated anchoring distance requirements eliminate almost every legal place to anchor, this is in essence an ordinance prohibiting anchoring in St. Augustine. Since this ordinance is highly unusual, and anchoring is universally considered a normal part of navigation in the rest of the USA and Florida, how are transient boaters supposed to know that there are such limits? Extensive waterway markers will be required to detail the various distances, no anchoring areas, time limits, etc. per FS 327.41. This ordinance conflicts with the Pilot Program statute, reduces boating access to the waters of the state by eliminating most anchoring, unfairly burdens boaters with confusing and unusual requirements found nowhere else, requires extensive and complicated waterway markings to be viable, and will be difficult and expensive to enforce.
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Old 24-10-2011, 17:29   #9
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Re: St. Augustine Anchoring Restrictions

Folks who deliveries with owner aboard are seeing an uptick in cruiser's going offshore from Norfolk VA or Beaufort NC to the Abacos. The cost of fuel and the grief in Georgia and Florida make a pro skipper look cheap. I've got two scheduled so far this year, and I'm doing a webinar at Seven Seas University ( Offshore to the Bahamas ) tomorrow night on doing it yourself.

Florida jurisdictions are shooting themselves in the foot.
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Old 24-10-2011, 18:37   #10
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Re: St. Augustine Anchoring Restrictions

There really is no decent spot to anchor in St. Augustine now. The mooring fields cover all the desirable areas. When I went through last winter I anchored north of the Vilano bridge. So the ten days thing is moot in my opinion.
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Old 24-10-2011, 18:43   #11
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Re: St. Augustine Anchoring Restrictions

Seriously! St Augustine could care less about cruisers as their dollars are a drop in the bucket to their overall tourist trade. Kinda like boycotting Disney over Gay-Day--small potatoes.
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Old 25-10-2011, 06:35   #12
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Re: St. Augustine Anchoring Restrictions

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Originally Posted by Auspicious View Post
Florida jurisdictions are shooting themselves in the foot.
Florida politicians are masters of that art!
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Old 25-10-2011, 16:19   #13
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Re: St. Augustine Anchoring Restrictions

The debate about coming anchoring restrictions in St. Augustine is important, because these restrictions (10-day limit, registration, etc.) would be instituted under the Florida Pilot Program for Anchoring and Mooring, which is designed to let localities try out ordinances that might then be applied Florida-wide. In other words, we might be looking at a 10-day limit for anchoring anywhere in Florida beginning in 2014 if the St. Augustine law passes. Frankly, the idea of a Pilot Program to try out laws is ridiculous--imagine what would happen if communities were allowed to try out various traffic laws to see how they work!? Some sort of anchoring restrictions are bound to come out of the Pilot Program. It is up to us cruisers to try to prevent this from ending anchoring rights in Florida.
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