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Old 23-10-2008, 13:28   #1
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Anchoring laws- Alabama

Last week I got a "warning citation" from the Alabama Marine Police for "anchoring on state bottoms for an unreasonable period of time". A little background first. I live 4 hours away from my boat and I typically anchor out in a creek when the first hurricane threatens ( Most marinas here require you to evacuate). I leave it there until I feel the season is over (30-60 days). This being the tail-end of hurricane season I was going to move it about 1November, but that is apparently not soon enough for the enforcers. My questions are these: 1) What is a reasonable period to anchor? 2) Who decides what is reasonable? 3) What code or law did I break and where is it written? 4) Is Alabama becoming like Florida? The Marine Police do not seem to have answers to any of these questions.
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Old 23-10-2008, 13:52   #2
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Only your local authorities can answer those questions since they made the laws. You could of course ignore the warning, let them give you a citation and fight it in court which you may or may not win. It is becoming a problem in many states and I really don't know what the answer is except for a large group of boat owners to spend the money to get counsel and fight it out in court state by state, but that ain't gonna happen.
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Old 23-10-2008, 14:01   #3
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For information on Alabama boating law refer to the Alabama Marine Police at:
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
and the Code of Alabama at;
Code Of Alabama.

Or contact the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Marine Police Division

Headquarters
P.O. Box 301451
Montgomery, AL 36130-1451
334-242-3673
M. N. Pugh, Director

District Offices
DISTRICT I HEADQUARTERS
4242 Aubrey Carr Scenic Drive
Beach Pavilion
Guntersville, AL 35976
256-582-1099
1-888-903-7659

DISTRICT II HEADQUARTERS
1830 Constellation Avenue
Alpine, AL 35014
256-268-2570
1-800-499-1667

DISTRICT III HEADQUARTERS
126 Marina Road
Alexander City, AL 35010
256-329-2268
1-800-432-7389

DISTRICT IV HEADQUARTERS
27557 Larry C. Kelley Lane
Orange Beach, AL 36561
251-981-2673
1-888-903-2583
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Old 23-10-2008, 14:08   #4
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I'v been to all those sites...even searched the "code". Nothing found. WTF?
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Old 23-10-2008, 14:11   #5
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If the "warning" doesn't cite chapter and verse, you'll have to ask the Marine police to clarify their position.
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Old 23-10-2008, 14:20   #6
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Ask the officer for the number of the code section that you supposedly violated. This is required when an officer accuses someone of breaking the law.
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Old 23-10-2008, 15:26   #7
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The bottom doesn't belong to the state, it belongs to you, us... WE ARE the state.
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Old 23-10-2008, 15:47   #8
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Now Gord, do you reeeaaaallllyyy think anyone is going to wade through all of that?
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Old 23-10-2008, 19:08   #9
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That argument and 2.75

Will get you a starbucks (blechhhhh!!!!!)

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The bottom doesn't belong to the state, it belongs to you, us... WE ARE the state.
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Old 23-10-2008, 20:24   #10
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Actually, Mangomuffins is right. Navigable water is Federal, and therefore belongs to all of us. The Feds generally cede their rights of stewardship to the State (in Florida it's called "sovereign land"). However, the State cannot claim for itself any rights not provided for within the Federal Statutes.

I'd suggest parsing the Fed Statutes and printing out the relevent parts to quote. The ICW also has different rules. It's been my experience that saying something along the lines of, "It's my understanding from reading Florida Statute 372.53 that a vessel may remain moored. . .blah blah." Law enforcement is generally not that up on the statutes and frequently rely on intimidation and assume ignorance on the part of the citizen (though ideas of citizenry and citizen's rights are really being watered down and neutered here as of late). In other words, respectfully citing your understanding of a statute and then asking the officer to correct your interpretation will probably result in his flexing a bit and then backing down.

My two cents (and I'm not a lawyer).
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Old 23-10-2008, 20:30   #11
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I live in Mobile, Alabama. It seems that the laws change by the season or who you get stopped by that day.
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Old 23-10-2008, 20:34   #12
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Hearing this kind of nonsense really bugs me.. I can fully understand if the boat or vessel was totally crumbling down and causing all sorts of harmful leakage, but just to harass you because.... Isn't there enough things going on to occupy the police then to bug normal citizens on petty things such as these?? Especially knowing that it is a federal therefore our jurisdiction.

Oh well, another thing to complain about for me I guess.. Good luck with your rebuttal and let us know how it turns out.
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Old 24-10-2008, 13:49   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capn-d View Post
4) Is Alabama becoming like Florida?
Like Florida how? By Florida state law, anchoring is allowed pretty much anywhere. The beaches and coastal waters are all public. If a municipality attempts to limit anchoring, they are in violation of state law. If you get cited in Florida, take it to court and you'll win.
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Old 24-10-2008, 14:45   #14
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Originally Posted by kevingy View Post
Like Florida how? By Florida state law, anchoring is allowed pretty much anywhere. The beaches and coastal waters are all public. If a municipality attempts to limit anchoring, they are in violation of state law. If you get cited in Florida, take it to court and you'll win.

Yeah, but local police are using the "marine sanitation device" federal regs to come on board and basically harass people into moving on. Our tax dollars hard at work.
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Old 10-11-2008, 14:41   #15
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Here is the specific "administrative rule" for which I was cited. As I read this (with no legal background) it appears that it is illegal to anchor in Alabama (all non-federal waters are "state bottoms") unless you own the adjacent property.

Any lawyers out there?

2204.
08 Vessel Mooring Restrictions.
Vessel operators
without riparian access rights are prohibited from mooring on
stateowned
submerged water bottoms adjacent to corresponding
upland locations for any period of time beyond any immediate
water transit needs necessitating a temporary cessation in such
transit. Indefinite mooring of such vessels shall be prohibited.
The penalty for the violation of this rule is as provided in
914,
Code of Ala. 1975.

Author:
James D. Martin

Statutory Authority:
Code of Ala. 1975, 9212.

History: New Rule:
August 3, 1998; effective September 8, 1998.

PENALTY:
As provided in 914,

Code of Ala. 1975.
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