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Old 10-07-2013, 10:12   #1
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Question Docking "Rules" in Fla

We own a lot in Port St. Joe, FLA and have a dock into the St. Joe Bay. ((We live in GA)) Since building is out of the question right now, I was wondering about purchasing a houseboat and mooring it to the dock. I am a landlubber - so apologies for the odd clueless question!
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Old 10-07-2013, 10:32   #2
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Re: Docking 'rules' in Fla

I don't know of any maritime rules that would prohibit a houseboat. There is no distinction between a houseboat and any other kind of boat. But there may be zoning rules and deed restrictions that could prohibit living on any boat.

If you live in a subdivision then you probably have deed restrictions. Read them. Also contact your local bulding inspector for advice on zoning rules.

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Old 10-07-2013, 10:36   #3
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Re: Docking 'rules' in Fla

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Lizzard.
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Old 10-07-2013, 16:30   #4
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Re: Docking 'rules' in Fla

Don't forget to figure out a legal way to dispose of your sewage.
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Old 10-07-2013, 17:20   #5
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Re: Docking 'rules' in Fla

Zoning laws, deed retrictions, maintenance, and the odd chance that the boat leaks and sinks. Your best bet is to check locally with the town clerk or HOA or whatever is in place to find out what all the restrictions might be. But as a practical matter, parking an RV on the property may be simpler and cheaper. Unless there's an HOA with a ban on trailers and the like as well.
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Old 10-07-2013, 18:10   #6
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Re: Docking 'rules' in Fla

Supreme Court: Floating Home Still A Man's Castle : NPR
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Old 04-08-2013, 22:51   #7
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Re: Docking 'rules' in Fla

Expanding on this a little, I was talking to a guy that lives on the hook up in Riviera Beach a few weeks ago, & he told me that in Florida, you can drop a hook just about anywhere you want to & municipalities no longer have jurisdiction to prevent you from doing so.

According to him, some lawyer was trying to set a hook somewhere over on the west coast of Florida & some town gave him a bunch of grief. The story continues that this lawyer then ran the case up through the various levels of the court system until he wound up getting the entire state pretty much declared a free mooring field.

Now, I see this guy living on the hook, on his own private hook, & I'm pretty certain that he's not paying dime one to anybody for the privilege, but I don't really know if I fully believe his claims on the range & scope of the free mooring anywhere you want it in the state gibberish that he was spouting.

Is anybody familiar with the case that he was talking about?

I always thought that you could only anchor in the areas of the charts that were marked as anchorages, at least in the populated areas. Is that not the case?
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Old 04-08-2013, 23:09   #8
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Re: Docking 'rules' in Fla

Well, Jim, here's a summary from BoatUS although you might want to note that Florida also puts new laws into effect on July 1st as I recall, so this may have changed. And as to marked "anchorages", they have specific rights and obligations which you will find listed in your handy Coast Pilot.

Florida Anchoring Information
Courtesy of Boat Owners Association of The United States
In 2009, several changes were made to Florida law (Chapter 327) that increased recreational boaters’ ability to
anchor within the state. This law also outlined a temporary pilot mooring and anchoring program to allow five
localities around Florida to regulate anchoring within their jurisdictions.
This bulletin is intended to help boaters and local law enforcement understand Florida’s anchoring and mooring
laws, and the status of the mooring pilot project.
Can local governments restrict me from anchoring?
Under Florida law, boaters who use their boats for navigation (even if only occasionally) cannot
be restricted from anchoring by a local jurisdiction (city or county) outside of permitted mooring
fi elds. Cities and counties are expressly forbidden to “enact, continue in effect, or enforce any
ordinance or local regulation ... regulating the anchoring of vessels other than live-aboard vessels
outside the marked boundaries of mooring fi elds.” (Note defi nition of live-aboard below.)
Local governments may regulate anchoring within the marked boundaries of properly permitted
mooring fi elds. As of September 2012 these are: Key West Mooring Field, Ft. Myers Beach
Mooring Field, Fernandina Beach Municipal Mooring Field, Miami Dinner Key Mooring Field, City of St. Augustine
Mooring Field, Titusville City Mooring Field, City of Sarasota Mooring Field, City of St. Petersburg Mooring Field,
City of Naples Mooring Field, City of Punta Gorda Mooring Field, and Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field.
(Existing FL law) 327.60 Local regulations; limitations —
Nothing in 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 fl oating structures or live-aboard vessels within their jurisdictions or of any vessels within
the marked boundaries of mooring fi elds permitted as provided in s. 327.40. However, local
governmental authorities are prohibited from regulating the anchoring outside of such mooring
fi elds of vessels other than live-aboard vessels as defi ned in s. 327.02.
The exception to this restriction are the fi ve localities currently participating in the mooring and anchoring
pilot program which are permitted to regulate anchoring in their jurisdictions (see other side for additional
information on the pilot program.)
Does it matter if I “live-aboard” my vessel?
Full time, active cruisers who sleep on their boats with no permanent residence on land are no longer considered
live-aboards under this law. As a result, their anchoring cannot be regulated by local governments. It is no longer
relevant that the vessel is a boater’s “legal residence,” that term has been removed from the statute.
(from Chapter 2009-86, section 6)
327.02 Defi nitions of terms used in this chapter and in chapter 328.- As used in this chapter and
in chapter 328, unless the context clearly requires a different meaning, the term: (17)
”Live-aboard vessel” means: a) Any vessel used solely as a residence and not for navigation;
b) Any vessel represented as a place of business, or a professional or other commercial enterprise;
or c) Any vessel for which a declaration of domicile has been fi led pursuant to s. 222.17.
CARRY THIS GUIDE WITH YOU WHILE CRUISING IN FLORIDA AND SHARE WITH FELLOW BOATERS.
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Old 04-08-2013, 23:44   #9
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Re: Docking 'rules' in Fla

Thank you Hellosailor. That information is most useful to me.
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