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Old 12-02-2008, 07:39   #1
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Ruining it For The Rest of Us?

After seeing a recent post about that guy taking his Home Depot tri for an around the world attempt, and seeing some people in Florida at anchor recenetly, I've become a bit worried.

Here is what I saw in Ft Myers:

*Abandoned vessels washed up into the mangroves.
*Large groups of boats rafted together and staying put for months on end. These boats didn't even have ports (!) and were very dirty.
*Some scary panhandler liveaboards. (they really beg for their $$)
*Less than savory characters all throughout the anchorage.
*People drunk 24/7.

For the first time in my life, I agree with the local town ordinances. If I could only convey the nature of these people I saw to you - it was like an inner city slum on the water. Nobody worked. People actually begged for money to eat, yet lived on boats anchored out for years at a time. Grudgingly, I *agree* with Florida's stringent anchoring laws. Personally, I was disgusted by what I saw. As anti-government as I am, it looks like these people haven't been taught proper ways of living. I am all for a harbor sweep and arrest of everyone there! ha ha Well, almost.

After seeing that, I agree that Florida needs laws in place to keep the riff raff out. I have honestly never seen riff raff before. I used to think i was riff raff because I anchored out. Apparently, I was wrong. We contributed to society while anchored out. We weren't boat bums, begging for money so we could afford our next beer.


So after seeing this mess of an anchorage, along with reading articles like that guy who wants to go out in that tri he built at Home Depot, I'm concerned.

The vast majority of sailors are responsible, seamanlike people who have worked hard all their lives, or are still working hard and enjoying the water. They know their place in an anchorage.

The fact that the Home Depot boat will rely on the government if he gets in trouble raises the question, "Why isn't there a restriction in place to keep people from wasting taxpayers' money on stunts?" I'm sure many are contemplating introducing legislation like this. Who could blame them?


So my main question to you all is:

Why are a few really bad people ruining our freedom?

How can we stop them, before legislation is introduced to sweep us out of anchorages and limit our ability to travel offshore?

Is there anything that can be done to police ourselves before the government has to step in?

What do people think about this?

Personally, I'm going to make sure I make it very uncomfortable for any riff raff that decides to make my harbors in New England home. (devil guy) I don't want them spoiling my freedom!
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:00   #2
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Sean, you are of course correct about the effect of a few rotten apples... On the other hand, it may be unrealistic to expect life on the water to be any different than on land - and this is particularly so now that there are a large number of used boats that are large enough for someone to live on and yet, are available for the price of an old trailer.

We have to be careful, though - there are also a large number of people who are legitimately cruising in old boats and on miniscule budgets, but who would never dream of panhandling. Heck, Fatty Goodlander's current boat (an early 70's Huges 40) was brought back from the dead after sinking in a hurricane in the Virgin Islands, as I recall. It was all he could afford at the time, but through a great deal of effort (and a little money) he and his wife have turned her into a swan.

Bernard Moitessier sailed a number of boats that were 'marginal' at best, but that was all he could afford (and 'sail' he most certainly did). I even recall an article in the last couple of years in Cruising World about a middle aged man who, after some setbacks, purchased a run-down wreck for which he made sails from tarp material! But as I recall, he too was 'sailing' and stocking the cruising kitty with some labouring jobs.

Generally, we should not judge a book (or boat) by its cover. Some may be staying on apparently derelict boats while in the process of rebuilding them for a future cruise. Others, as you say, are merely water-borne ghettos with no pride of ownership, nor plans for the future.

Brad
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:01   #3
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South Beach had this same problem several years ago. The hurricane took out many of the boats. Many of these people were just as you describe. The bottom of the barrel.

Now they are trying to enforce anchoring only 72 hours, and then move along. I do not know the result of this. I can tell you this I would not move every 72 hours. I understand a wealthy retired fella is fighting this. We have the right to anchor as long as we do not interfer with traffic, and our vessel can be operated. At least this is my understanding of the federal law. I am sure someone will correct me on this if I am wrong.

Unfortunately in ever facet of life there will be the undesirables, and yes they can make it difficult for others. How I long for the day when a cop could use a billyclub. Unfortunately there were undesirable cops too, and the club was taken away......
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:13   #4
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We have a small "boat bum" problem here in charleston. Definitely not as bad as florida. I also met some bums in Annapolis this year too. One guy in Annapolis was stealing old batteries from behind auto shops and west marine, then draining whatever power was left in them. He **** in a bucket and dumped it over the side, in our nice little anchorage.

I think the trouble is from fiberglass. old crappy wooden boats require at least a little work before they will float. An old crappy fiberglass boat requires nothing.

I agree it is bad. I don't want to be associated with that "style" of living, and I don't want it to effect me.
So what do we do?
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:13   #5
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I think there needs to be some balance. I would hate an overbearing government with which I would need approval if I wanted to go sailing. So, the downside is that society has to rescue these guys.

With regard to the near homeless rif raff liveaboards, again, I think I should be able to anchor awhile pretty much anywhere outside of the channel. But what to do about those eyesores? How about inspections for holding tanks, etc. I supsect there are enough violations avaialble to clean out those harbors without ruining it for other sailors.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:26   #6
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Maybe:
after X amount of days, say 60, in one harbor, the boat will be considered permenant and then subject to inspections to decided if it is livable. Homes can be condemned, why not boats? Also, sub divisions have laws saying the grass needs to be cut, and you can't park your trailer in front of your house. Why cant we have similar laws for boats? a Clean and Tidy law? or just a simple law that says the engine has to run?

I suppose none of that works, because the fed just decided florida doesn't have jurisdiction to pass anchoring laws. so whatever happens would have to be from the fed gov. down.

This would be easy if people would just have some... self respect, pride, integrity, work ethic.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:27   #7
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Originally Posted by imagine2frolic View Post
South Beach had this same problem several years ago. The hurricane took out many of the boats. Many of these people were just as you describe. The bottom of the barrel.

Now they are trying to enforce anchoring only 72 hours, and then move along. I do not know the result of this. ..

The "enforcement" at South beach is very reasonable. When the law was first enacted a few years ago they would visit every boat in the anchorage and explain the law but always added that we could stay longer if the weather was not the best. This year they did not come to us but I noticed that they did visit a ratty looking boat which had the mast laid along the deck. This may be "profiling" or it may be that they now realize most of us are there waiting for a window to cross to the Bahamas. In any event they are a lot more courteous than the authorities in Ft. Lauderdale at Lake Sylvia although we weren't visited there either this year.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:18   #8
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You can distance yourself from the 'riff raff' by having a tidy looking boat. You can also keep yourself reasonably presentable and of course you aren't approaching people and asking for handouts. The trouble with trying to do something about 'them' is who decides who 'they' are, who decides what is acceptable behaviour and what exactly to you 'do' about them? Shoot them, gas them, move them on, hope a hurricane wipes them out? There is an old saying, I'll shorten it considerably.... "They came for X, Y and Z and I said nothing."It ends "then they came for me and there was nobody left to speak out".
Sorry to say but I think the authorities in your neck of the woods are paranoid enough already without any more encouragement. The latest proposed nonsense is that anybody who comes through security at an airport to help a disabled relative to board a transatlantic flight (allowed, but the person has to pass through the usual security screening) has to have their personal details passed to the US government as if they were travelling to the US. You couldn't make this up, it's total paranoia. For Gods sake don't start making a noise about people on ratty boats, your lot will introduce a dress code for liveaboards and probably an annual test in anchoring, not to mention a monthly 'cleanliness inspection' (my mother used to inspect my fingernails to make sure I'd scrubbed them, if she was still alive, God bless her, she could probably get a job in Florida.
Sorry, rant over, but be careful what you wish for because wishes come true......then you'll be sorry!
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:30   #9
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Whats the difference between a ghetto on the land and a ghetto on the water? Both should remain legal.

On the San Francisco Bay we have this place called Richardson Bay where the nastiest looking boats and the scruffiest looking people live. It does not bother me whatsoever. They don't seem to bother anyone except for the rich snobs on the hills above the Bay in Sausalito who have to look out at their dilapidated boats from their multimillon dollar homes.

Live and let live...some people need to chill. This seems to be a persistent difference between the East Coast and the West Coast. Why not take all the poor people and put them behind four walls so we don't have to see them again? God forbid they anchor their floating relics within view of Thurston Howell the Thirds Florida mansion.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:32   #10
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You can distance yourself from the 'riff raff' by having a tidy looking boat. You can also keep yourself reasonably presentable and of course you aren't approaching people and asking for handouts. The trouble with trying to do something about 'them' is who decides who 'they' are, who decides what is acceptable behaviour and what exactly to you 'do' about them? Shoot them, gas them, move them on, hope a hurricane wipes them out? There is an old saying, I'll shorten it considerably.... "They came for X, Y and Z and I said nothing."It ends "then they came for me and there was nobody left to speak out".
Sorry to say but I think the authorities in your neck of the woods are paranoid enough already without any more encouragement. The latest proposed nonsense is that anybody who comes through security at an airport to help a disabled relative to board a transatlantic flight (allowed, but the person has to pass through the usual security screening) has to have their personal details passed to the US government as if they were travelling to the US. You couldn't make this up, it's total paranoia. For Gods sake don't start making a noise about people on ratty boats, your lot will introduce a dress code for liveaboards and probably an annual test in anchoring, not to mention a monthly 'cleanliness inspection' (my mother used to inspect my fingernails to make sure I'd scrubbed them, if she was still alive, God bless her, she could probably get a job in Florida.
Sorry, rant over, but be careful what you wish for because wishes come true......then you'll be sorry!
Troutbridge: I think the point of my post wasn't clear to you. I *AM* worried about the new regulations that are bound to be put in place due to these few ruining it for the rest of us. My question was: Is there anything we can do, as sailors, to help police our own before the laws are put upon us?
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:36   #11
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...After seeing that, I agree that Florida needs laws in place to keep the riff raff out. I have honestly never seen riff raff before. I used to think i was riff raff because I anchored out. Apparently, I was wrong. ....

The vast majority of sailors are responsible, seamanlike people who have worked hard all their lives, or are still working hard and enjoying the water. They know their place in an anchorage...
The problem, of course, lies in which definition of "riff-raff" is being applied. Do we use the Marco Island version which includes all boats? Or do we somehow legally discriminate between boaters? Therein lies the rub....

Sean, in FtMeyers you might not be considered boat trash. Take the same boat in the same condition to Biscayne Bay or Santa Barbara and the folks might feel differently.

We all hate being painted with a broad brush. The derelicts in the world also have a right to exist... but hopefully not in the same anchorage as ours of course
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:37   #12
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Whats the difference between a ghetto on the land and a ghetto on the water?

1) The town is finacially responsible to clean up each "house" in the water ghetto when it sinks or is washed ashore.

2) The "water" is a highly regulated place where we, as sailors give up all normal rights given to US citizens. We can be searched and boarded at will without any rights at all. Federal authorities can take your "home" if you are in possession of any contraband.

3) Owing to #2 above, more and more restrictions can be passed that limit our use of anchorages. Why? These undesireables end up abandoning their boats at some point due to an inability to pay for repairs. So, the town ends up paying for the boat (see #1). This obviously is a burden on tax payers in the town and guess what? They're gonna be p*ssed and pass laws that will prohibit *YOU* from anchoring in their town thanks to a bunch of boat bums.

Is nobody else seeing this??

We are headed for even tighter regulation and it's all due to a few bad apples.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:43   #13
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The problem, of course, lies in which definition of "riff-raff" is being applied. Do we use the Marco Island version which includes all boats? Or do we somehow legally discriminate between boaters? Therein lies the rub....

Sean, in FtMeyers you might not be considered boat trash. Take the same boat in the same condition to Biscayne Bay or Santa Barbara and the folks might feel differently.

We all hate being painted with a broad brush. The derelicts in the world also have a right to exist... but hopefully not in the same anchorage as ours of course
I think I'll restate the point again:

There are people who are abusing anchorages and creating slums on the water. There are also people who go to sea unprepared and completely reliant on the government for their precious EPIRB rescue.

These two groups rely on tax revenue to 1) clean up their abandoned and sunk boats in various anchorages, and 2) have extensive search and rescue missions for their failed attempts at stunts when they hit the EPIRB switch.

One group is poor, the other is rich. But poor or rich isn't the point.

The point is that both groups are relying on the government (tax revenue) to help themselves in some way or another. And guess what?

Tax payers aren't going to want to pay for rescue and abandoned boat cleanups forever, and *will* pass laws aimed at cutting down on the number of rescues and abandoned boats at anchor cleanups they are already doing.

I see both trends (boat bums and EPIRB happy sailors) on the rise.

The goverment is bound to step in soon and regulate away the problem.

The trouble is... WE are the people they will regulate.

I, for one would like to enjoy the current freedoms we all have (bums and rich EPIRB triggerers alike).

My question is: How can we as a community do something about the bad apples that give us a bad name, so that we can remain free of regulation?
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:51   #14
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2) The "water" is a highly regulated place where we, as sailors give up all normal rights given to US citizens. We can be searched and boarded at will without any rights at all. Federal authorities can take your "home" if you are in possession of any contraband....
I'm sorry but that is simply not true. Can you cite a specific example? We give up NO rights that I know of when in US Territorial Waters. More restrictions perhaps (don't pollute) but that circles back around to City Ordinances which restrict the same things ashore (must connect to sewer systems, etc).

And consider the myriad of City Ordinances that restrict what can / cannot be done with land-based property. Plus the authorities can seize shore-based property if you are in possession of contraband just as easily as they can seize a boat.

Not sure what the big difference is between the two. I see them as roughly equivalent except for which Court has jurisdiction should an offense be committed.

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Old 12-02-2008, 09:53   #15
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Sullivan,
In Richardson Bay the Army Corps of Engineers goes in once every ten years or so and gets rid of the sunken boats. I get the point though.

It would be wrong to discriminate against someone who is poor. Putting time limits on how long one may be in an anchorage makes the most sense.
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