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Old 09-06-2009, 16:38   #1
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pirate Where to Anchor

I have been reading about crusers finding it hard to just anchor along the ICW. They say Florida is the worst state for anchoring. I would like to know if I am moving about every 3-4 days will I have any problems just anchoring? What kind of problems might I encounter? Also if I am registered in the state of Florida will I encounter anchoring troubles?

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Old 09-06-2009, 16:57   #2
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We've been cruising and anchoring in Florida since 1972 and we have never been questioned by any authority. We don't anchor in channels, cable areas or or other restricted areas and we don't favor resedential areas close to shore except for overnights. We have anchored in some places for as long as three months. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 09-06-2009, 17:38   #3
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I was questioned the first night I anchored in Florida... or rather the first morning after I anchored. However, I dont think if you are moving on most the time it should be a big issue. West Palm to Miami you will likely not be able to anchor....
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Old 09-06-2009, 18:24   #4
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Skipper bob has a book that lists some anchorage possibilities. We cruise the coast twice annually during our migration. As stated before west palm to miami doesn't appeal to us. We usually go coastal from lake worth to stiltsville outside miami. The only places where you may get hassled are Vero beach (no anchoring till someone challenges they're illegal laws) and Ft lauderdale who may try to enforce their illegal 3 day anchor law.
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Old 09-06-2009, 19:11   #5
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As of last June you could anchor in Miami, and particularly South Beach. They come along, and inform it is a week stay, but there are many exceptions to the rule. I would not be afraid to anchor anywhere when out of the channel, or restricted areas........i2f
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Old 15-10-2009, 02:54   #6
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Anchoring Information for Florida Cruisers ~ BoatUS (October 1, 2009)
Goto ➥ http://www.boatus.com/gov/GA005FLAnchoring.pdf

See also Chapter 2009-86, law of Florida (house bill 1423) as signed into law and filed with the Florida Department of State on May 27, 2009.
Goto ➥ http://laws.flrules.org/files/Ch_2009-086.pdf
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Old 15-10-2009, 05:58   #7
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Last year, anchoring in Florida, we were not checked by any of the local authorities. In past years we have been checked in Lake Boca,(ICW near Boca Raton), Lake Sylvia(Ft. Lauderdale) and off South Beach (Miami). These are the only three places on the east coast of FL that we've ever been checked out at. In past years the worst place was Lake Sylvia, the marine police weren't very pleasant. In South beach they seemed as if they were just going through what they were ordered to do and were very pleasant.
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Old 15-10-2009, 06:54   #8
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The new Florida state statute seems pretty clear. Local governments can't regulate your anchoring rights if your vessel is navigated. By extension the vessel would probably have to be in condition to be navigated.

This seems like it is in compliance with Federal law. I would not think any local judge would allow a proceeding to continue if it were brought to court. This does not, I think, keep an officer from questioning one or writing the ticket. Just means a court won't/can't enforce it. Probably get the officer/enforcement agency in a lot of hot water if they continued to write them.

Very good! Now, we just have to see what California/San Diego does. Ah, but who cares! No place to anchor in Ca anyway! (He says in partial jest!)
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Old 15-10-2009, 09:01   #9
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There is no Federal law about anchoring in State waters. The USA law is based on State's Rights and the Fed's can only override if it impinges on Interstate Commerce. The States own the "mud" under their waters, not the Fed's (at least the original 13 States since they were formed before the USA was formed). Since your anchor is "in the State's mud you are subject to the State laws and regulations.
- - That said, the State of Florida likes the money and taxes it gets from "cruising boats" and does not want to lose or chase them away. The local communities have a different idea and are always trying to chase away any boats their local voters find visually or otherwise offensive. The local communities want to satisfy their local voters and tax payers.
- - So the battle is between the State and the locals, but since the State owns the mud, the locals can only harass you and try to intimidate you to move if the State of Florida says you can anchor there.
- - Bottom line, anchor in areas, usually shown or marked on the excellent ICW guides and strip maps - and try to avoid anchoring in front of areas with fancy or otherwise condo's or private housing. Usually the presence of other anchored boats is a good indication of an acceptable area to anchor. As others have stated there are plenty of great and convenient places to anchor in most of Florida. In the southern portion it is more difficult to find places as the ICW gets rather narrow and "side creeks" are rare and often too shallow.
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Old 15-10-2009, 10:14   #10
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The Commerce Clause is an enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3). The clause states that the United States Congress has the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the states, and with the Native American tribes.

The Supreme Court further held that "The power to regulate commerce comprehends the control for that purpose, and to the extent necessary, of all the navigable waters of the United States.... For this purpose they are the public property of the nation, and subject to all the requisite legislation by Congress." United States v. Rands, 389 U.S. 121 (1967).

Thus, the navigation restriction. If you can't move, you are subject to restrictions of the state if you can move, you can participate in commerce and are therefor subject to laws implemented by Congress. Navigable waters from a commerce perspective are fairly broad. Most rivers are covered, some small ponds and lakes are not. Most of the anchoring locations the locals are attempting to protect, are most definitely covered. The challenge has been, no one has been willing to try this in a federal court to date. VERY expensive. The general consensus is the local municipality would lose, but that would merely mean to the person that just spent $100k's, they would not have to pay the $100 fine they got, and would be able to anchor back at that anchorage (Oh, they would probably be able to get their boat back that has been impounded for the last 4 years as all this works its way through the courts.)

I like your bottom line! Also look at the links provided by Gord. The Boat US site recommends carrying a copy of the relevant state statute if questioned by local authority. I am printing it and putting it in my ships papers folder!
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Old 15-10-2009, 20:29   #11
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The devil is in the details - >> of all the navigable waters of the United States.<<
especially when dealing with laws involving State's Rights. In Florida it has been determined by the lawyers and State and Federal courts that the "waters within the prescribed channels belongs to the Fed's but the "mud" belongs to the State. If you can anchor/hold position without touching the "mud" you are in Federal jurisdiction, but as soon as your anchor takes up residence (outside a channel) in the "mud" you are under State of Florida jurisdiction. This was legally determined a decade or more ago and reported by the articles published in Southwinds out of St. Pete. The Florida anchoring restrictions hassle has been going on for longer. than most people can remember. The only exception to this is the existence of grandfathered rights to the mud because you owned a house and have an existing dock from before XXX year(date.) That is why you see old docks in disrepair or minimal repair along Florida waterways. The land owner wants to maintain rights to the "mud" under his dock and not have to get involved in State Ecological hassles about permits to build a dock. California has a similar situation with housing. If one wall from a pre-existing "grandfathered" house exists you are not building a "new" house but doing "renovations." All this stuff gets "weird" sometimes.
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Old 17-10-2009, 08:29   #12
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Anchoring in Florida, or anywhere else is a matter of common sense. We been anchored in Florida for the past two years and have not had any trouble. We've been anchored in Fernandina Beach, Jacksonville, St Augustine, Ft. Pierce, West Palm, North Palm, Marathon, Marco Island, Charlotte Harbor, Brandon, and Sarasota, to name a few and have never had a problem. We do occasionally talk to the marine patrol, mostly about a common interest in boats. I believe that if you are polite to people, they will be polite back to you. Henry
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Old 17-10-2009, 20:00   #13
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Anchoring in Florida, or anywhere else is a matter of common sense. We been anchored in Florida for the past two years and have not had any trouble. We've been anchored in Fernandina Beach, Jacksonville, St Augustine, Ft. Pierce, West Palm, North Palm, Marathon, Marco Island, Charlotte Harbor, Brandon, and Sarasota, to name a few and have never had a problem. We do occasionally talk to the marine patrol, mostly about a common interest in boats. I believe that if you are polite to people, they will be polite back to you. Henry

Have you tried Lake Sylvia?
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Old 18-10-2009, 07:58   #14
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No haven't been to lake Sylvia, although I have friends that have anchored there, I decided to use the mooring balls instead of Lake Sylvia, I don't remember why I decided that, either a bridge or the water depth. My mast is 58' above the water and I draw 6'.
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Old 18-10-2009, 08:24   #15
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No haven't been to lake Sylvia, although I have friends that have anchored there, I decided to use the mooring balls instead of Lake Sylvia, I don't remember why I decided that, either a bridge or the water depth. My mast is 58' above the water and I draw 6'.

Lake Sylvia is the best anchorage in the Lauderdale area. There is good water going in if you stick close to the left side, about 20 feet off the wall. No bridge or height obstructions. Hopefully the water police will now lighten up a bit.
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