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Old 11-09-2003, 19:27   #1
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Live Aboard in Florida Boot Key Harbor

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon Florida.

Looks like there is both good news and bad news coming out of Boot Key Harbor, Marathon Florida.

First the good news;

Please ALL Florida Live Aboards listen up.

There is NO FLORIDA STATUE (Law) stating a vessel may only anchor on state owned waterways for only 6 months. Let me repeat… There is NO FLORIDA STATUE (Law) stating a vessel may only anchor on state owned waterways for only 6 months.

That is correct, there is no Florida Statue limiting a live aboard boater to 6 month anchorage. It is not even a regulation, it is a policy that was put into a bay bottome lease and then stipulated to be put in all bay bottom leases. And there is a BIG difference between a State Statue (law) and a policy.

You see a policy may be changed depending on the needs and requirements of the given locality. Since this has been brought to the attention of Marathon Florida’s city leaders, one of Marathon’s City Councilmen put forth a city resolution whereby, the waters surrounding and within the city limits provide one of the best and last, year round live aboard anchorages and the 6 month rule created a hardship, as that a large percentage of live aboard boaters provide a year round work force for the city.

The City of Marathon is starting to understand that the live aboard boater is not only a large part of the cities work force, but that Marathon is unique in the fact that the live aboard anchorage is in fact affordable housing.
Marathon’s City Leaders will be addressing this issue with State Representatives and the State Board of Trustees. You see the policy about a six-month limit on anchoring was not intended to displace workers and families in such a unique place as Marathon. That is not and was not the intended spirit of the policy.
Now on the bad news side…

Yet another boater has his vessel boarded and seized by Marathon City Officials, without Due Process. That is correct, there was NO COURT ORDER, NO HEARING, NOTHING, the vessel was seized not by any sworn law enforcement personnel, but by the Harbor Manager.

According to Florida Statues 701.103 Whenever a law enforcement officer ascertains that an article of lost or abandoned property is present on public property and is of such nature that it can be easily removed, the officer shall take such article into custody and shall make a reasonable attempt to ascertain the rightful owner or lienholder pursuant to the provisions of this section.

As we said no sworn law enforcement personnel were involved in the boarding or seizing of this vessel.

According to Florida Statutes 810.08 Trespass in structure or conveyance.—
Whoever, without being authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully enters or remains in any structure or conveyance, or, having been authorized, licensed, or invited, is warned by the owner or lessee of the premises, or by a person authorized by the owner or lessee, to depart and refuses to do so, commits the offense of trespass in a structure or conveyance.

The term "person authorized" means any owner or lessee, or his or her agent, or any law enforcement officer whose department has received written authorization from the owner or lessee, or his or her agent, to communicate an order to depart the property in the case of a threat to public safety or welfare.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Law Enforcement, GENERAL ORDER 21, DERELICT VESSELS;

It is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to store or leave any vessel in a wrecked, junked, or substantially dismantled condition or abandoned upon any public waters or at any port in this state without the consent of the agency having jurisdiction thereof or docked at any private property without the consent of the owner of the private property, as outlined in section 823.11, Florida Statutes.

The F.W.C., Division of Law Enforcement has been designated as the state agency authorized and empowered to remove any derelict vessel, as described in section 823.11, Florida Statutes, from public waters.

Once an abandoned vessel has been located, the sworn member responding to the scene must determine if the vessel is a recovered stolen boat, lost property, abandoned property, or a derelict vessel. In order to make this determination, the sworn member shall conduct an investigation, apply the definitions in chapters 705 and 823, Florida Statutes, and discuss the findings with a regional supervisor. A regional supervisor will make the final determination of the vessel's status.

The sworn member responding to the scene will determine if the reported vessel constitutes a hazard to navigation or is an actual or potential pollution threat. If the vessel is a hazard to navigation, then the nearest U.S. Coast Guard station should be notified. If a pollution threat exists, the sworn member will ensure that the appropriate U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Emergency Response are notified.

Only if the vessel meets the criteria in section 823.11, Florida Statutes, and all efforts have been expended to have the vessel removed from public waters by its owner, the regional field office shall designate the vessel as a derelict vessel and mark accordingly with the letters "DV" and the incident summary number assigned by the regional field office. The marking of the vessel will be done in such a way that the vessel will be readily identified as a specific derelict vessel by a prudent mariner and/or a removal contractor.

So as you see there is a LEGAL PROCESS that is to be followed before any action is taken. But not in Boot Key Harbor, not in Marathon Florida. It appears boaters have no rights when in Boot Key Harbor,. No right to due process. No right to protection from illegal search and seizures. Currently there is no protection from City Officials who violate your civil rights.

If you come to Boot Key Harbor, right now, it is at your own risk. We can only hope through groups like “Take Back Marathon”, that one day boaters too will have Civil Rights in Marathon Florida.

DEFINITIONS
r
ABANDONED PROPERTY - All tangible personal property which does not have an identifiable owner and which has been disposed on public property in a wrecked, inoperative, or partially dismantled condition or which has no apparent intrinsic value to the rightful owner as described in section 705.101, Florida Statutes.

SEIZED PROPERTY - Any property taken into custody, either constructively or physically, pursuant to writ, statute or other legal authority.

SWORN MEMBER - Sworn law enforcement personnel.


Jim Lowry
35 Sombrero Blvd.
Marathon, Florida 33050
305-849-1283
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Old 25-07-2008, 23:38   #2
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LowryJim,

Somehow I am failing to understand why there isn't a stack of lawsuits crippling if not bankrupting the city. Reading your post all I could think of was OMG, this is America!
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Old 26-07-2008, 03:19   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowryjim
... Yet another boater has his vessel boarded and seized by Marathon City Officials, without Due Process ...
When did this occur, and can you link us to any local news reporting?

I see your mailing address is at Dockside. Do they still act as a mail drop for liveaboards, or are you on a dock?
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Old 26-07-2008, 04:06   #4
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The last bad one was in 2006. During that year, the city (Marathon) also put in place rules to protect the Live Aboard Boaters. Partly because of this.

There are now on going talks (monthly) with the boaters, FWC and the city to keep everyone calm and respectful of each other.

Dockside no longer takes mail unless you rent a slip. Roy may make a side deal for mail, but no up front parking , trash, or showers.

The only dingy dock is at the city marina. And they are building a new bath house for the boaters. Building started this month.

For info on Marathon and Boot Key you can always review the Boot Key Harbor BBS on the Boot Key Harbor Web Site, the Keynoter.com and Keysnews.com
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Old 26-07-2008, 04:24   #5
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The last bad one was in 2006...
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowryjim View Post
... Yet another boater has his vessel boarded and seized by Marathon City Officials, without Due Process ...
Has this earlier boat seizure been resolved?
How?

It's seems a little misleading to refer to a two-year old incident, with the phrase "yet another", which strongly suggests a current event.
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Old 26-07-2008, 04:28   #6
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For those who want to see the history of the the Boot Key Harbor and the Marathon City Marina "fight";

First review Fl. Statue 327.60

Then read the "back postings" at Boot Key Harbor Message Board

Then you may do a quick search on "Boot Key Harbor" or "Jim Lowry" on both the Keynoter's web site (http://www.keynoter.com and the Marathon Free Press at KeysNews.com - The Florida Keys Best and Only Daily Online News!.

It was (and is) only by people standing up and speaking out did the City of Marathon change to help and protect the boaters.
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Old 26-07-2008, 04:40   #7
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Jim,

Are you licensed to practice law in the State of Florida or do you just practice on the Internet? Your arguments while voluminous and passionate somehow lack in actual substance.

A single resolution sponsored by one councilman hardly constitutes "starting to understand". It is not uncommon for a councilman to make a resolution with the complete understanding that none of the rest of the council will 2nd or even vote for it. You are discussed and dismissed. They blew you off in the quickest way possible. Your moment before the coucil is complete.

One derelict boat actually abandoned or otherwise is not a whole lot of substance.

There are real issues with anchoring by boaters and not just in Florida. A factual statement of the anchorage, the people, and the boats would be of greater interest to our members than your attempts at interpreting the law. Cruisers forum does not ascribe to become a pulic court kangaroo or otherwise. Real results for boaters are with real lawyers and judges.
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Old 26-07-2008, 04:42   #8
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... It's seems a little misleading to refer to a two-year old incident, with the phrase "yet another", which strongly suggests a current event.
My DEEPEST apologies to Jim.
His contribution, to which I referred, was clearly dated 11-09-2003 - and was undoubtedly current at the time he posted. The more recent 2006 seizure would have been subsequent to his original post.

Me inference than Jim was misleading us was totally uncalled for, and erroneous.

Please forgive me.


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Old 26-07-2008, 04:58   #9
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Unlike Key West (who lost) the Live Aboard Boaters of the City of Marathon WON... Hands down. We stood up, HAD LAWS PASSED (check the Live Aboard Protection) in 2006.

As I stated you may wish to review the FACTS at the web locations I stated. They may be helpful to all that read, understand and use the Law.

I (like most) will alway review the facts (with out spin, lol) before talking, writing, and or taking a public stand. That is why I always use my REAL NAME and never hide behind a screen name.

I feel when people know the facts (and history, and the law) they are more able to protect their vessels, propery and theirselves.

By reading the posts here, at Boot Key Harbor Message Board , Front | www.keysnet.com and newsnews.com Coming Soon , MyFlorida.com - Home , findlaw.com , etc... Boaters will become aware of how to use the law instead of being abused.

The lease for Florida Bay Bottoms has a clause stating a boater may not stay more than 6 months on a given Bay Bottom. We were able to have that "rule" removed from part of the Bay Bottom lease for Boot Key Harbor allowing the Live Aboards to remain as long as they want. So, yea... I call that a win.

The City of Marathon is bringing the Marina up to ADA standards... I call that a win...
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Old 26-07-2008, 05:48   #10
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have a look at our impression of our most recent visit to Boot Key Harbor at
Voyages of Sea Trek: 0018. Boot Key Harbor Marathon Florida

We were based out of Marathon for 10 years.
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Old 26-07-2008, 05:58   #11
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Yes, Marathon (and the Keys) is getting more and more costly.

There is anchorage "outside" the harbor. But it becomes a long dingy ride unless you have a 40 hp.

Your impression IS NOT out of line. Sadly, like everywhere, places change.

This month (July) the City Marina has started work on the new boat/bath house.

Each year things get a little better and a little worse... 8-)
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Old 26-07-2008, 06:27   #12
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Gord May,

No apologies are are needed.

Most of my posts are on the Message Board at Boot Key Harbor ;however, these and those posting may relate to boaters everywhere.

Most states (and people) do not understand the laws as they relate to the ICW.

Florida was one of them. Until F.S 327.60 was passed, so ALL cities on the ICW could understand.

One that did not (Marco Island) found out the hard way.

It has come to a point where no longer does the Captain need to know how to read charts and know the Rules of the Road, but now should review the state and local laws where they will be making way and anchoring.

Hopefully this thread will provide a gateway to links to help all the crusiers and live aboards, at least on the ICW.
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Old 10-08-2008, 11:03   #13
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boot key harbor

i am very familiar with marathon and boot key harbor. i am also very familiar with the municipalities in florida tending to grab the waterways and trying to exclude cruisers at every opportunity. too many bergs in this state want to become gated communities and to keep the 'riff-raff-non-locals' away.

i have been here since 1949 and have seen florida change way too much, and not at all for the better.

it is because of all this that i loudly applaud loweryjim for his efforts at keeping florida boater-friendly. he may feel like sisyphus much of the time but he is a hero to all boaters in this state, whether they and he know it or not.
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:24   #14
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FLORIDA LIVEABOARDS; A MUST read

If you are not keep a Ship’s Log, you should start.

There are a lot of Liveaboards who travel for their job. They must leave for weeks or months to another city, starte or country to work. Yes they have someone (hopefully) watching their vessel. And that person (also) should keep a log for the vessel they are tending.

The article (shown below) was printed today in the Florida Newspaper, the News Press.

Start logging every day and hour when you have
Boarded your vessel.

Why you ask… Because it may end up being your
Proof that you have not (did not) abandon your vessel.


And NOW may be the time for ALL liveaboards to
Start a Political PACT… To PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS.

Remember the old saying… If you give them an inch they
Will take a mile.

The following article was printed today in the Florida
Newspaper, the News Press.
----------------------------------------------------------------

A statewide database shows an estimated 1,000 to 1,800 derelict vessels in state waters, but Maj. Paul Ouellette of FWC's Boating and Waterways Section said those numbers are probably low.

"One of the things we're proposing is allowing local governments to regulate the anchoring of vessels outside of mooring fields," Ouellette said. "People keep boats anchored or moored on mooring balls behind safe structures or behind mangroves.

Currently there are no restrictions on that. It's still a maritime right to be able to navigate freely."

One of FWC's proposals is to let counties write ordinances that prohibit anchoring for more than 30 consecutive days or 120 days in one year.

Lee County already has an ordinance that says a boat is considered abandoned, and therefore subject to removal, if it's moored in the same area for more than 30 consecutive days or 90 days in a 365-day period.

The catch is that if the boat is "under navigation," the county can't touch it. Under navigation can mean that the owner comes by to check on the boat once a month, McBride said.

"People have great intentions whey they buy a boat," he said. "They think they're going to work on it, make it the jewel of the sea, but that doesn't happen. Instead of working on it one day a week, it's once a month, then once a year, until it becomes a derelict vessel.

"If we had a way to control that, we could nip it in the bud, to borrow a phrase from Barney Fife."

Many other counties have ordinances to deal with abandoned vessels, Ouellette said.

"There are a myriad of local ordinances out there all over the board," he said. "One of the contentious points to the cruising community is the confusion they have with different local ordinances."

Another proposal is to establish a 500-foot buffer around public mooring facilities, including public marinas, mooring fields and anchorages; no boat would be able to anchor within the buffer.

Keeping boats out of the buffer would protect marinas and other boats from damage caused if vessels broke free from their moorings or sank in navigable water.

Under the proposals, all boats in state waters would have to be registered.

"That would help us track vessels stored on the waters of the state," Ouellette said. "Unless someone is using a vessel, it doesn't have to be registered. One of the most difficult things in law enforcement when we're dealing with derelict vessels is identifying owners. If a boat runs aground, often there are no numbers, and if there are, they don't come back to anybody."

Ken Stead, executive director of the Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association, said the association doesn't have a position on the proposal.

Abandoned boats are a problem, but he said the commission may be using the wrong tool.

"That is just contrary to the cruising lifestyle," he said. "There's got to be another way to deal with it."

From McBride's point of view, giving counties more authority in dealing with boating issues is a good idea.

"I don't know how the state rule would end up," he said. "But it would give us more teeth to go after people to take responsibility for these vessels."

- The News-Press staff reporter Chelsea J. Samuel contributed to this story
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Old 15-12-2008, 06:15   #15
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FEDERAL LAW "Mooring"

Hello Mates,

I'm not sure if it has been mentioned, but it may be worth noting that all of the hoopla about the Florida Statutes and state and local municipality regulations don't mean squat!

These chump good ole boy lagoon tyrants rely on the general public not knowing the rights granted to them by the laws of the land. They like to act on the presumption of law and not the RULE of law, and they certainly have no regard for our constitution,,, only their personal revenue generating agenda.

Federal law grants you the specific right of travel VIA navigable waters.

As long as you are not blocking navigation you are FREE to throw anchor for as long as you want as long as you are not a commercial enterprise or what has been commonly referred to as a Live aboard.

It is very important to note that you MUST ALWAYS refer to yourself as a "Full Time Cruiser"

These Bottom land THUGS think that they know the Law, but sadly the fall short of knowing anything but how to coerce and intimidate.

The law gives the municipalities the right to control the BOTTOM LAND but not the navigable waters. This is Federal Law!

The law gives the right for a Municipality to establish a mooring field to be controlled by them, and charge a reasonable fee for mooring,,, BUT,,,They must go through application, impact and licensing process to establish the field.

A "Full Time Cruiser" can moor by way of their own mooring ball or weighing anchor, and the burden of proof is on the Municipality to prove that you are a live aboard. Remember,,, You Are a "Full Time Cruiser" and you have to answer no other question than that. Period!! To run your mouth to an idiot official that does not even know the law is a waste of breath and time. You can show them the Federal Law and tell them simply that you will sue their ass off if they violate your rights.

This applies to every state, city, village, township or municipality in the United States, Period!! They have no wiggle room whatsoever.

If you need the link to the Federal law just PM me and I will send you the link. You should print this out and retain several copies on board and one on your person at all times.

The laws are there to protect our rights of travel, but you have to know them and be prepared to educate the ignorant or you essentially will give up that right.

Remember how this works: They can do anything they want as long as it is unchallenged. Knowledge is POWER, and these Thugs rely on you not having the knowledge.

Self interested groups have a motto: Divide and conquer!

If you don't stand for something ,, You will fall for anything.

Have a great day, and happy "Full Time Cruising"

Trader Vic
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