Originally Posted by RKsailsolo
For those of us who are FL property owners AND sailors, we need a way to make our voices heard without physically being at these planning workshops. I make the distinction as these same local government
officials who are over reaching their authority in their response to waterfront property owners also must serve the needs of all constituents including me. Any ideas on making a difference in weighing in remotely against these proposed restrictions are appreciated.
As both a Florida waterfront homeowner and as a very active boater and cruiser, I am a member
of both groups. I oppose the extreme arguments on both sides. I don't think all anchoring should be eliminated and I don't think you should be able to anchor anything anywhere as long as you want. That's where both sides need to work toward creative compromise that best deals with the real issues of the other side.
Yes, there are some who are going to continue to fight for the extreme solutions but they have been defeated several times and will continue to be so, unless....that unless is that their opposition presents no alternatives other than the all or nothing choices. Both sides need to work toward palatable solutions to the other side.
As a homeowner, I really have few issues. Three basic ones.
1-A means of removing derelict boats from waterway. They not only impact the homeowners negatively but they are in the way of the enjoyment of the waterways by cruisers and eventually a hazard. A derelict boat to me isn't an older boat in need of paint
. It's a boat that isn't able to be moved, that isn't being used for boating
at all, that isn't being maintained even to the least of standards. 2-Boats should not be left in such a way as to endanger other boat or property. They need to not impact the safety
of the waterway and also not put property at risk, rather it's other boats or marinas
or docks. I do believe they should be a certain very minimal distance from homes, but I'm not talking a quarter of a mile, just leave 25' clearance or so from my dock
so I can still get in and out. 3-The boats should be lawful in terms of proper registrations, being able to pass a USCG inspection
, and in disposal of their waste and sewage.
As a cruiser, I have these issues.
1-I want to see economical anchorage and moorage for all cruisers. I love cruising and although I don't anchor often, I do at times. I want there to be adequate safe areas. By economical, I don't mean necessarily free, although I think some free should remain. But give me a nice area with dinghy dock
and showers and perhaps a little beach and park nearby for $5 a night or $100 a month and that fits. I want there to be enough to handle the peak demands. I want there to be some for all sizes of boats. 2-I want to be allowed peaceful enjoyment. Periodic checking of safety
and ability of the boat to be operated as well as waste and sewage is one thing. But I don't want to be awakened at 2 AM for a check. I want any enforcement aimed toward improving things and dealing with major offenders, not an overzealous effort. I don't want to be checked daily. Give me something I can use to show and remains valid for a period of time. 3-I don't want to be pushed to marinas
or pushed to expensive anchorages or moorages. Many choose to cruise
on very low budgets and I think should have free and/or low cost options.
Now one I think would benefit all. I'd love to see some simplification and easing of conflicting state laws on registration
. It's almost as bad as Schengen. Perhaps some rule
that says the state in which I am personally domiciled. This would simply mean if I live in Florida, my boat must meet Florida requirements. If I have no land home, then it's the state where I spend the greatest amount of time. Maybe some small cruising permit
if I exceed 90 days elsewhere, like a $10 permit
simply to record
I am doing so legally and still not required to do more there. But none of this full registration
in multiple states.
Now my personal belief is that if the two sides worked together there could be more and better anchorages and moorages, not fewer. This wouldn't have to limit it to just those areas but would concentrate it in them. There is nothing more beautiful than some of the areas in the Annapolis
area. As a landowner I'd love to have such a beautiful group of sailboats in my vision as I wake in the morning. There is nothing more damaging that boats like the Prima Donna or all the derelict boats at Stock Island. Oh and derelict isn't by any means limited to anchorages but a very real problem for marinas and they lack adequate means to deal with it. Unreasonable homeowners, a great minority, hurt the case of all homeowners. Unreasonable or the few bad cruisers, a definite minority, hurt the cause of all cruisers.
Neither side has unlimited rights. The homeowners didn't buy the sky and the sea. They have to respect the cruisers. On the other hand the cruisers need to be good guests and respect the rights of homeowners. As a homeowner, I've never once been bothered by a cruiser anchoring. But I did have a neighbor incur substantial damage to their docks by one who anchored and left their boat and it broke free. Now I recently had a boat that stopped and couldn't get restarted near my dock. They tried to quickly anchor. But we jumped in a dinghy
and pulled them to our dock, let them tie up and then got them help on their boat. Turned out it took a day for it to be repaired and we had no problem with them right where they were. They offered to get towed to a marina and we said not necessary. Then I do know those who have anchored a respectable distance only to be harassed by shouting homeowners. Of all places to see that, I saw it in a small town. What I found hilarious was that I was at a marina and could hear every word from there. Yes, they had a 200 boat marina in their immediate view and were somehow greatly disturbed by a 30' sailboat.
While I admire Waterway Guide keeping on top of the issue, I think we need to be careful with some of what we say. Yes, I see the bold type about homeowners wanting all anchoring eliminated, but they are a great minority and I've never felt fear for a moment that would happen. I just lump them with the cruisers who want zero regulations
. Neither is going to happen.
I do like the concept
of pilot projects and they don't have to all be the same with the same rules. If cruisers have an idea for one, then propose it. This can't be solved
by the all or nothing battle but only by jointly working toward a solution. Or in my case my left hand has to work with my right hand. The vast majority of Floridians who live on the water
and cruising. That's part of the whole purpose of living on the water. Florida gets the publicity because of it's size as a boating state and because it's among the first to attempt to address the issue. But rest assured other states have issues and will follow. I know one boater who had a gun pointed at them from shore in South Carolina because they were getting in their dinghy.
To each side, I'd encourage rather than concentrating just on what is being said by the other side, work on a solution yourselves. I do believe there's a good solution out there somewhere but don't believe we've heard it yet.