As the moderator of the Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net, I normally try to stay at least a bit non-partisan in my ravings. But, not this time!
This Friday, October 12 at 9:00 am, what may well be the most important court case to affect ALL who ever go cruising on the waters of the Sunshine State will take place at the Collier County Court Houe on Marco Island. We need to get as many cruisers in attendance at this important event as possible.
I, myself, am flying down to Florida
tomorrow (Thursday, October 11), entirely at my own expense, to be an "expert" witness (boy, do I have them fooled), in the trial. Who knows how long the trial will go on, but, as noted above, we need to be there in force!!!!
For those who are new to this list, here is a very brief, and vastly oversimplified version of what's going on here. In 2006, the Florida state legislature finally came to grips with an argument that many, including yours truly have been advancing for better than 20 years. Namely, that local and county anchorage regulations
in Florida are unfair, haphazardly and selectively enforced, and are so confusing as to be all but unintelligible even to cruisers who are trying to follow the letter of the law. So, the state passed a stronger version of an earlier law that forbade counties and municipalities from regulating anchorage UNLESS the county or city in question sets up a STATE APPROVED mooring
field (such as the one that has been created in Marathon's Boot Key Harbor). Some communities, including Marco Island (south of Naples) have chosen to ignore the new state law, and continue to pass and enforce their own local, anchorage regulations
In a courageous move, a group of local cruiser undertook an action of civil disobedience, and anchored off Marco Island, with the full knowledge that they would be ticketed, That's exactly what happened, and the court case day after tomorrow, is the result of that action.
The results will affect anchoring
throughout Florida for many, many years to come! If this case (or an appeal of this case) is decided in favor of the cruising community, other counties and municipalities throughout Florida will almost certainly sit up and take notice. Chances are good that local and county anchorage regulations will soon become only a bad memory. And, I also believe that many more STATE APPROVED mooring
fields will be established. If the court (or an appellant court) decides in the reverse, it will mean a return to the anchoring chaos that has plagued Florida for many a year.
So, come join me, and let's be SURE the cruising community is WELL represented Friday morning.
And, just in case you are not quite yet inspired, I've pasted the latest e-mail received from Captain
Herman Diebler (who has been at the center of this controversy from the beginning), below. Just listen to his words, and try not to let your blood pressure get entirely out of hand!
Claiborne S. Young