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Old 16-08-2014, 13:59   #76
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Re: Florida Boaters Unite: defeat HB 955 and SB 1126

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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.
Exactly what rights do the homeowners have to public property?

I also own property in from of a prime anchoring area. When I wake up, I look out right onto boat decks maybe 25-35 yards away. They could see me when I take a piss in the morning... I don't bother closing the door anymore. If they want to watch, let them be amazed.

You know what we did? We put in a sea grape tree to block the view. If the people don't want other people seeing in their back yards then put in fences and trees. If you have a noise complaint... call the cops.

Private entities cannot limit people's access to public beaches in Florida, why should private entities be able to limit our rights to the public water?

These setbacks are blatantly unconstitutional. They don't even survive the sniff test. It will be struck down for the same reasons that protest setbacks against abortion clinics were struck down... its unconstitutional to limit the public's access to public spaces based on subgroup. Cruisers and boaters are definitely a subgroup, since not everyone owns a boat.

In addition to abortion protesting, let's look at Occupy Wall Street. Look what happened to NY...

Occupy Wall Street protesters win $583,000 settlement from New York: lawyer | Reuters

Its also a violation of the right to free association, our right to join a group of club of other vessels in a raft up on public property.

The list goes on and on.

Can't boatus file a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the meeting before they can even form a draft?
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Old 16-08-2014, 21:34   #77
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Re: Florida Boaters Unite: defeat HB 955 and SB 1126

Personally, I'll renew my thought that Florida residents are best qualified to handle Florida issues.
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Old 17-08-2014, 06:38   #78
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Florida Boaters Unite: defeat HB 955 and SB 1126

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Personally, I'll renew my thought that Florida residents are best qualified to handle Florida issues.

Exactly my point. While my property is not waterfront, it is close enough that I consider waterfront homeowners as my neighbors. My initial post in this thread poses the question of what is the best action that remotely located FL property owners can take to weigh in on this.

Zboss frames a good question, "Exactly what rights do the homeowners have to public property?". And makes several good points.

And I do appreciate the fully articulated points from BandB.

These discussions help us firm up our positions.
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Old 17-08-2014, 07:40   #79
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Re: Florida Boaters Unite: defeat HB 955 and SB 1126

Let's not forget that federal law gives vessels navigation rights in all navigable bodies in all states, and anchoring is right incidental to navigation. Although the federal law is probably more to protect interstate commerce and free commercial use of waterways (Louisiana, for example, can't set up a toll booth on the Mississippi), it should protect all boaters rights – as the "captain" of my vessel I am responsible for its safety and the safety of its crew...the safest place to anchor is in a protected basin or relatively close to a weather shore. As long as my vessel is not obstructing use of the waterway, federal law says I can anchor there. Certain state laws can trump this on environmental or safety grounds...but not because a homeowner doesn't like to see boats anchored near his property.
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Old 17-08-2014, 08:35   #80
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Re: Florida Boaters Unite: defeat HB 955 and SB 1126

Here is the email we submitted...

Contact Commissioners

"I am at a total loss as to why this subject has been ongoing in the state of Florida for decades. The entire process serves no purpose, is a waste of taxpayer's time and money and seems to everyone in the rest of the country to be an exercise in pandering to a few. I am a Florida resident and active boater. These regulations make no sense whatsoever and are totally unnecessary. The perpetuation of this issue gives Florida a black eye and once again dredges up the notion that Florida is an unfriendly state when it comes to how it treats boaters. The resources of the FWC would be better served in doing the job of law enforcement to get the state off the list of states with the most boating deaths and accidents rather than designing new legislation to harass peaceful boaters. No one is surprised that the meetings for these new regulations are being set up at both inconvenient times and locations to minimize the participation of boaters these regulations will impact. The current laws have been working for years. If you have a problem in communities with derelict and abandoned boats, deal with those. Don't try and legislate those that bring millions of dollars into the state's economy in the name of a few with deep pockets who it would appear control the direction of this conversation. Look at any other state in the United States and ask yourself why this negative issue is a constant only in Florida. "

I would urge any of our members that feel strongly about this subject to submit your comments as individuals so our input can be heard even if we can't attend these meetings.
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Old 17-08-2014, 09:40   #81
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Re: Florida Boaters Unite: defeat HB 955 and SB 1126

God I love this thread. Sooo glad y'all are up there and I'm not. In case you haven't figured this out yet, Florida is where old white people go to die. Best to avoid the place.
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Old 17-08-2014, 10:08   #82
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Re: Florida Boaters Unite: defeat HB 955 and SB 1126

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Let's not forget that federal law gives vessels navigation rights in all navigable bodies in all states, and anchoring is right incidental to navigation. Although the federal law is probably more to protect interstate commerce and free commercial use of waterways (Louisiana, for example, can't set up a toll booth on the Mississippi), it should protect all boaters rights – as the "captain" of my vessel I am responsible for its safety and the safety of its crew...the safest place to anchor is in a protected basin or relatively close to a weather shore. As long as my vessel is not obstructing use of the waterway, federal law says I can anchor there. Certain state laws can trump this on environmental or safety grounds...but not because a homeowner doesn't like to see boats anchored near his property.
Mike, Those thought are noble but the facts are, the federal government handed over to the states, the rights to govern their waterways, a long time ago. The courts have upheld the states rights and trying to use federal law to negate these state regulations is going to be very ineffective. It is going to take a very strong concerted effort by individuals to turn the tide so to speak. This has worked in the past. It will also take a change of direction in the Florida legislature, made possible only by Florida voters. Chuck
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Old 17-08-2014, 10:32   #83
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Re: Florida Boaters Unite: defeat HB 955 and SB 1126

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God I love this thread. Sooo glad y'all are up there and I'm not. In case you haven't figured this out yet, Florida is where old white people go to die. Best to avoid the place.
With that attitude I sure hope you do avoid Florida.

Obviously you must have to know so little. I live in South Florida and am very proud of the area and happy to be here. So a little education on South Florida. For instance, guess you don't know that only 20% of the population of Dade county (Miami area) is non-hispanic white. Over 50% of the population was foreign born. The median age is 36 years old. Broward county (Fort Lauderdale) is 41% non-hispanic white. 32% of Broward county residents are foreign born. Only 16% of the population of Broward county is over 65.

Do older people come here to retire? Of course, it's paradise and we welcome them. I'm 43 and my wife is 35. Stereotypes are just not ever appropriate.

There is also not just one Florida. It consists of many different areas which have quite different demographics and environments. The state is over twice the size of Panama so obviously there are many different cultures as well.

If you do decide to visit this awful place one day, I believe you'll be amazed at how welcomed you are.

Oh and as to the issue of the anchoring bills, you see that differently throughout the state. Seems some of the representatives most against anchoring live in landlocked areas and have no water. The vast majority of those who live on the water in Fort Lauderdale are very pro-cruisers and want more facilities for them, including more anchorages and moorages and marinas rather than the other way around. I live on the water and have been to homeowners meetings for my area and never once heard anything brought up complaining about anchoring or boats in any way, other than jet skiers zooming through canals. But then we haven't had a derelict boat problem here like some places have and we are aware that there are not adequate laws in place today to remove such boats. That's because many of us cruise to Key West and Stock Island which somehow has become the place to dump derelict boats. But we see that as a specific issue that needs addressing but is a great minority of anchoring. Still some answer there is needed.
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Old 17-08-2014, 10:41   #84
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Re: Florida Boaters Unite: defeat HB 955 and SB 1126

Grrrrr. got a whole bunch of boats anchored for free in front of our condo complex right now, how double dare they when I'm stuck indoors and not allowed out to play today.

MInd you I wish they would get rid of that old derelict houseboat which has already sunk once then got raised and is back again.

And how dare that saily boat sit there anchored for free all year round when I pay $6,000 a year for my marina slip?
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Old 17-08-2014, 11:13   #85
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Re: Florida Boaters Unite: defeat HB 955 and SB 1126

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Exactly what rights do the homeowners have to public property?
Riparian rights to be specific.

This is what gives homeowners the rights to build docks and piers. Although in most areas those rights are limited. Also these laws give homeowners protection against their neighbors building docks and piers that intrude upon them. In many ways this is no different than zoning laws on land. I can't build a four story home blocking the view of my neighbor. My neighbor also can only build within a certain distance of the property line. There are many other regulations. The principles are generally as follows:

1. The landowner/Homeowner owns the land to the water (there are cases in which they do actually own some of the land under water). They then have riparian rights beyond that. These give them the right to have free access to and from the water. And it gives them some very limited rights toward what happens on the water in the immediate area. But even owning the land, the homeowner still has restrictions on it's use, some of which protect the boater. The homeowner can only build within a certain distance of the water in most areas. The homeowner can't have a septic tank too close to the water.
2. The state generally owns the land under the water although there are some very strange and unique situations where that is not the case but it is privately owned.
3. The US has an overriding interest in preserving public navigation.

There are some general policies of law as well that go both ways. For instance, a homeowner may not intrude on public navigation. If not for this you would have docks extending many times what they currently do. This is why it's so difficult to get new marinas permitted. Although not so much in Florida, go to the Chesapeake bay and there are many regulations on docks which are designed to protect the sea life under them. Among other things that's why you don't see covered boathouses built in that area and don't see huge multi slip docks built by new homeowners. Similarly there are some limits as to boaters intrusion upon homeowners. You can't take an 80' party barge with 200 people aboard and party all night ten feet from the homeowner's dock. You can't anchor so that a homeowner can't get into their dock.

Derelict boats and boats that fail to follow rules on waste disposal are a problem for homeowners and for cruisers. Frankly, I've found them more bothersome as a cruiser than a homeowner.

Now, I think more anchorages and moorages are needed. But then I don't own a marina...lol. Not just in Florida. I think most cruisers would prefer anchoring in quieter areas and not being disturbed by homeowners. Most don't want to be disturbed by loud marina bars. Most like protected areas with good bottoms for anchoring. So, ultimately I don't see the fight the same as others. In fact, my stance would be "How can we make things better for cruisers coming to Florida."

No one has unrestricted rights to anything. That's why these things do become issues. There are doctrines of public good and public doctrine. I can't set fireworks off on my property. I can't operate my boat at speed in no wake zones.

I realize there are some on both sides trying to say they have rights beyond reason and the other side has none. Homeowners who want anchoring forbidden from an entire city. That's egregious and excessive and won't happen and if it does will be found against the law. Similarly there are boaters who think they should be able to do anything they want anywhere they want as long as it's on the water. There is no law or doctrine that supports that. The Coast Guard's task is to protect their rights to navigation. Sometimes that even restricts anchoring as in anchoring in the middle of a narrow channel.

If this was a simple issue, we wouldn't be talking about it over and over. I do believe some better solutions for all will eventually develop. I also find a lot of people outraged on one side or another who don't own waterfront land and have never tried to anchor or moor in Florida. Florida is not the only place with this issue. Annapolis, for instance, has had it for decades as they throw in a complicating factor of the Navy and their moorings.
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Old 17-08-2014, 11:16   #86
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Re: Florida Boaters Unite: defeat HB 955 and SB 1126

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Grrrrr. got a whole bunch of boats anchored for free in front of our condo complex right now, how double dare they when I'm stuck indoors and not allowed out to play today.

MInd you I wish they would get rid of that old derelict houseboat which has already sunk once then got raised and is back again.

And how dare that saily boat sit there anchored for free all year round when I pay $6,000 a year for my marina slip?
Isn't it great to be able to look out and see all the boats anchored. To me that's a beautiful view. But then how does one retain that while also making sure the derelict houseboat doesn't sink again and get left by the owners next time.
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Old 17-08-2014, 11:42   #87
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Re: Florida Boaters Unite: defeat HB 955 and SB 1126

Yep give them a inch and they will close the water ways. Oh wait let's trust them yes derelict to be decided later.

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Old 17-08-2014, 11:55   #88
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Re: Florida Boaters Unite: defeat HB 955 and SB 1126

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Isn't it great to be able to look out and see all the boats anchored. To me that's a beautiful view. But then how does one retain that while also making sure the derelict houseboat doesn't sink again and get left by the owners next time.

Now this is just a thought, and one without all the possible ramifications thought out, but one way would be to require a min. insurance amount similar to what automobiles have, sort of an environmental insurance though that would pay to have the vessel removed or up to a set amount in the event of an environmental problem. fuel spill for instance.

I'm sure it would require that all vessels without a HIN would have to essentially have one assigned and engraved, to keep people from removing all identifying marks, that being I believe a big issue with derelicts, you can't determine who owns them
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Old 17-08-2014, 11:57   #89
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Re: Florida Boaters Unite: defeat HB 955 and SB 1126

Or possibly a fund set up to remove derelict vessels, and an amount paid yearly by us all to that fund, yet another tax if you will.
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Old 17-08-2014, 12:21   #90
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Re: Florida Boaters Unite: defeat HB 955 and SB 1126

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Yep give them a inch and they will close the water ways. Oh wait let's trust them yes derelict to be decided later.

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The extreme proposals will never pass. However, some regulations not only will empower municipalities but can be used to severely limit them.

Certain things are presented as discussion items. I do find the 300' to be extreme and no chance. On the other hand, the section talking about "stored" vessels, a derelict section, seems fairly logical.

Now, I'd suggest writing or attending but not just with what one opposes, but what one might suggest. Unfortunately, I will be out of the state at the time but I will have someone at both meetings representing my views.

They basically are:

I oppose allowing individual cities to make anchoring rules. It's way too confusing. The extent of rules I would make would evolve around the following.
-State setting up additional free anchorages and cities welcome to create mooring fields but must be approved by state and fees must be minimal.
-No anchoring should prevent one from accessing their dock. I'd be fine instead of a 300' allowance with more like a 20' from docks. I don't know any cruisers who anchor closer anyway. Not a problem so toss the carrot with a limit that has no impact.
-I do think some rules on anchoring that blocks entrances to or exits from marinas is just like channels. Also, anchoring too close to public launching ramps. This is just safety. Again, cruisers I see don't do that to start with.

So as to anchorage, I suggest giving cities no authority and tossing minimal rules that impact no cruisers to start with.

As to the derelict boats, I think the description in the discussion topic is pretty good. However, I would make a couple of changes.
-I would not say "incapable of navigating under it's own power." I would say "currently incapable of navigating under it's own power and has been for 90 days or longer." That provides time to make repairs.
-I don't see any point in the spaces that are designed to be closed section

Then I'd go a bit further. Those vessels would be taken to the equivalent of boat junk yards where they would be held for a minimum of 90 days (maybe a longer time) to allow the boat owner to recover them. I would set a low tow fee and no storage fee for the 90 days. But this yard would be capable of pulling them on shore after that time and crushing them, depositing the remains in dumpsters to be carried off. The boatowner would be responsible for all costs although seldom would you be able to collect. I've witnessed a derelict abandoned boat being pulled on shore and crushed to pieces small enough for a dumpster in Washington. it works. This would not only remove derelict vessels before major problems but would actually save them until an owner could come recover if he chose. It saves huge salvage dollars for owner and USCG. Much like towing a car abandoned on the side of the road.

But that's just one person's opinion and I do respect all others.
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