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Old 21-01-2008, 14:33   #1
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Anchoring in Florida

Hello All, I have seen a thread about anchoring in Florida but I can find it so here we go. I am anchored in Lake Sylvia; Ft. Lauderdale arrived Sunday 20th at 3 pm. I have just had a visit (4.45pm.)from an Officer Waters driving a speedboat who has informed me that I and my boat must leave tomorrow and that there is a 24 hr. limit for anchoring here and each City has its own rules which are enforcable. I seem to remember a judgement regarding this matter. What is the legal position, my boat is in need of urgent repairs to the engine so this is to me urgent. The weather on Sunday and today is North to North-East 20/25 mph. may be better on Tuseday but not really clever to put to sea at present. Very best regards Peter
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Old 21-01-2008, 14:51   #2
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What it really comes down to is that you're going to get a ticket if you don't move.

As to whether or not the officer /law is correct... well.. it depends. If you're in a restricted zone or a mooring field or your boat has no means of propulsion, he's right. If not, he's probably wrong to issue a ticket if you're in what's considered Florida's Intracoastal Waterway and you have a vaild land based address.

However, If you do get a ticket it means having to go to court and if they don't drop the charge then you will have to hire legal assistance.

The last time this happened in Marco it took multiple trips to court and many legal briefs and even then the town did not back down. A judge had to rule and dismiss the case as I recall. That cruiser understood the legal hassles and costs and decided to proceed. In effect striking down the Marco Island law.

You off course could do the same to this community's anchoring ban, if you have the time and the money to proceed.

The relevant Florida Law is here...


327.60 Local regulations; limitations.--

(1) The provisions of ss. 327.01, 327.02, 327.30-327.40, 327.44-327.50, 327.54, 327.56, 327.65, 328.40-328.48, 328.52-328.58, 328.62, and 328.64 shall govern the operation, equipment, and all other matters relating thereto whenever any vessel shall be operated upon the waterways or when any activity regulated hereby shall take place thereon. Nothing in these sections shall be construed to prevent the adoption of any ordinance or local law relating to operation and equipment of vessels, except that no such ordinance or local law may apply to the Florida Intracoastal Waterway and except that such ordinances or local laws shall be operative only when they are not in conflict with this chapter or any amendments thereto or regulations thereunder. Any ordinance or local law which has been adopted pursuant to this section or to any other state law may not discriminate against personal watercraft as defined in s. 327.02. Effective July 1, 2006, any ordinance or local law adopted pursuant to this section or any other state law may not discriminate against airboats except by a two-thirds vote of the governing body enacting such ordinance.

(2) Nothing contained in the provisions of this section shall be construed to prohibit local governmental authorities from the enactment or enforcement of regulations which prohibit or restrict the mooring or anchoring of floating structures or live-aboard vessels within their jurisdictions or of any vessels within the marked boundaries of mooring fields permitted as provided in s. 327.40. However, local governmental authorities are prohibited from regulating the anchoring outside of such mooring fields of non-live-aboard vessels in navigation.
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Old 21-01-2008, 15:02   #3
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Rick sums it up well. the city might well be in the wrong but you will need to beat it out them in court with your own money. Quoting the law to an officer just isn't going to make it. Because they lost the case some place else won't make them go away today.
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Old 21-01-2008, 15:05   #4
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Hi Rick, Thanks for your info, looks like I sail tomorrow then as I dont have the time (am 67) and certainly not the cash. Next stop Miami hope they are more friendly. Best regards Peter
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Old 21-01-2008, 15:14   #5
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Contact BoatU/S. They are, apparently, the leaders in confronting the cities concerning their anchoring laws. You should make known to the officer who warns you that your are not a liveaboard, but a traveller plying the rights of navigation and anchoring. After that you must decide whether you move or leave. There is also the posibility that no one will come to give you the ticket as warned.
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Old 21-01-2008, 15:16   #6
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Peter,

First let me say that I'm happy to help out. However, what a sad state of affairs this has become when a sailor has to go to court to prove he has a right to anchor according the Florida State Law.
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Old 21-01-2008, 15:49   #7
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Peter, I would try politely explaining to the Officer that while you know he is just doing his job, as instructed , your engine is in need of urgent repairs and the wind forecast makes leaving tomorrow not a seaman like decision. I would hope that he would agree that allowing you a couple of extra days to find the right weather window than possibly having the Coasties need to come to your help, paid for by the same tax payers as pay his salary.

Might find you are whistling in the wind, but it's worth a try?
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Old 21-01-2008, 15:59   #8
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How much is the ticket?
Can a new one be written every day/hour?
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Old 21-01-2008, 16:31   #9
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I'm VERY concerned about this stuff too. I don't use marinas. I don't use moorings. I anchor.

If I get stuck for 2-3 days in an anchorage due to weather, will Florida's water-borne "Mall Security" guards ticket me and impound my boat?

Man, I don't know how people cruise there. It sounds ridiculous. I plan to exit as fast as I can, but I'm pretty worried about running afoul of the law.

What is the general approach to anchoring your way through Florida (from Key West to St Augustine?)
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Old 21-01-2008, 16:41   #10
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After that you must decide whether you move or leave.
No the operative word is Before not After. If repairs need to be made then the task is to go about the repairs not fight with the police. Pretty big talk to ask someone else to fight the fight you won't.
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Old 21-01-2008, 17:51   #11
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Sean, Actually there are only a few areas you will have any hassle. Miami and Fort Lahdedah are a few, but you can anchor behind Key Biscayne and in the Lake Worth area with no problem. There are a few places on the West Coast like Venice, but there are many anchorages north and south of there. This is where a good guide like Claiborne Young's comes in handy, as well as just asking on forums like here and the SSCA board. You can avoid the hassle spots without having to travel long distances. It just takes planning. We have traveled both coasts several times and never had an issue. We did anchor in Lake Sylvia once and were told we only had 24 hours. We did not argue the point since we were leaving the next morning anyway.
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Old 21-01-2008, 18:16   #12
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Peter, If you have the time and inclination, you could write a short article to Latts & atts just for fun. For me, I have quit going to the Ft. Lauderdale-Miami boat shows (who cares?) no one. But, If the boat show promoters start getting thousands of e-mails saying the reason for not attending is the anchoring laws....well who knows.
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Old 22-01-2008, 04:36   #13
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Originally Posted by Chuck Baier View Post
Sean, Actually there are only a few areas you will have any hassle. Miami and Fort Lahdedah are a few, but you can anchor behind Key Biscayne and in the Lake Worth area with no problem. There are a few places on the West Coast like Venice, but there are many anchorages north and south of there. This is where a good guide like Claiborne Young's comes in handy, as well as just asking on forums like here and the SSCA board. You can avoid the hassle spots without having to travel long distances. It just takes planning. We have traveled both coasts several times and never had an issue. We did anchor in Lake Sylvia once and were told we only had 24 hours. We did not argue the point since we were leaving the next morning anyway.

Thanks, Chuck! That's good news. I'm glad the guides are able to point you to hassle-free anchorages.
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Old 22-01-2008, 05:42   #14
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It's really not fair to generalize anchoring in Florida by the conditions in Lake Sylvia. It's been that way for a while now, I remember 11 years ago being run out after 2 days by the local 'Grouper Trooper'. It's a small anchorage, right off of the intercoastal, in a great location of Ft. Lauderdale. It just can't hold the volume of people that would want to stay there for weeks or longer at a time. While I'm no fan of anchoring restrictions, if they didn't kick people out of Lake Sylvia after a few days than transients wouldn't even be able to find a spot to drop the hook for an overnight while passing through. Sean, you can still cruise Florida without going to Marinas, you just need to pass through Ft. Lauderdale quickly.
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Old 22-01-2008, 07:32   #15
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Lake Sylvia is a surrounded by large & expensive waterfront homes.
There are no dinghy facilities or places to come ashore.
The nearest places to bring a tender to are at Las Olas Marina ($5 dinghy fee), or at the end of the 15th street canal on the north side of the Marriott on the ICW, and at the Southport Raw Bar ($10 fee applicable to food and drink there).
The lake fills up with locals on weekends, but usually can accommodate about 20 - 24 overnight transients through the week.

The city mooring field is on the south end of the Las Olas Bridge and features 10 mooring balls at $20 a night.
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