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Old 13-08-2019, 10:47   #1
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Miami Beach Anchoring Harassment

I bought and moved onto a trawler about 6 months ago. I had a waterfront apt in Miami Beach, and the owner still allows my to tie my tender up to his dock when i need to go ashore. So I've been hanging out on the hook in a nearby bay. Eventually I plan to move around more, but I'm still getting everything setup exactly how I want (need to add a watermaker, etc), and I also want to stay close to homebase during my 1st hurricane season.

However, waterfront homeowners have been calling the marine police on me. Multiple cops had said i was legal in my original location, but i got sick of the harrassment so i moved to a wider part of the bay. I'm now 150yards from any shore, but homeowners are still calling every agency on me. City marine patrol doesnt even come bother me, they tell the callers directly that i am legal. The other day the coast gaurd boarded me (at request of a homeowner), but i fully passed the inspection (I have an electro scan).

Then yesterday, an FWC came, and told me I couldn't be there because "there's alot of wealthy people around here". I asked what difference that makes and he got pissed. It was clear they had nothing to complain about (im quiet, my boat is operational, etc), except that they just dont like the fact that I am there. To my knowledge, and from what the MB police have told me, the only places i cannot anchor in MB is Sunset Harbor and around the Star Islands (venetian causeway). However, this FWC officer insisted to me that all the other officers/agencies dont know the law and he does. He claims there is a Miami Beach law that I can only be anchored in "designated anchorages". He was a real jerk about it threatening to "start writing tickets", but i got him to give me a week to move.

Ok then later that day, I flagged down a Miami Beach boat cop, and he confirmed that he has never heard of any Miami Beach law which this FWC claims exist. This makes me want to stand my ground.

Id rather avoid negativity and conflict, but this seems like a line in the sand. This FWC officer said I cannot anchor ANYWHERE in Miami Beach except a couple of "designated anchorages". That would be very inconvenient because my current location is well protected, has a safe place to tie up my tender, recieve mail/packages, free street parking, as well as a free place to dispose of trash and fill jugs of water.

Looking for further advise on whether this FWC has a leg to stand on, or if he is just trying to bully me illegally under demand of "wealthy people"?

Also if I challenge this, are there any boater lobby groups, I should contact? I've read that Boat US has fought FL anchoring legislation in the past.

Thanks!
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Old 13-08-2019, 11:30   #2
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Re: Miami Beach Anchoring Harassment

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, SKMT.


I doubt that The Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) would be interested in assisting, in this instance, - but check them out

https://www.miasf.org/news-events/miasf-advocacy
https://www.miasf.org/
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Old 13-08-2019, 11:38   #3
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Re: Miami Beach Anchoring Harassment

Suggest making sure your displaying a proper ‘at anchor’ day shape and a proper working anchor light for that size and type of vessel..document all completions.
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Old 13-08-2019, 11:38   #4
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Re: Miami Beach Anchoring Harassment

Just about everyone and their first mate anchors off Star Island. That IS the designated anchorage.

However, it's a boat. Time to cut all those land ties and get her moving. We go on boats to avoid all this BS. Just move along to somewhere that doesn't suck.
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Old 13-08-2019, 12:20   #5
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Re: Miami Beach Anchoring Harassment

Remember corruption and violence are not exactly unheard of among the wealthy and yes even law enforcement anywhere in the world.

In some areas much worse than others.

I'll leave it you to guess how Miami may compare to other international cities.
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Old 13-08-2019, 12:32   #6
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Re: Miami Beach Anchoring Harassment

Did you check latest version of Coast Pilot for your area? Available online.
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Old 13-08-2019, 12:42   #7
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Re: Miami Beach Anchoring Harassment

well,firstly-do your homework
Did you get name of FWC officer?
Who/What is governing regulating LE body?
I am certain who ever this is they'll sign a map showing location A Ok
as to lat/long permissible
Documentation is your friend
IE,Lat/Long maps furnished by Reg body
Keep entirely current requirements for anchorage
Discover hierarchy of local FWC office
Contact FWC HQ for clarification of local FWC officer's duties/jurisdiction

whomever making complaints on you is doing homework-hence working through agencies for effect
Perhaps junior officer is having lunches & beers bought for him or more
In this situ-he'll be back to write you for any little thing
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Old 13-08-2019, 12:50   #8
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Re: Miami Beach Anchoring Harassment

Yeah now that I have Miami Beach police confirming I'm legal, I'm gonna go straight to top of FWC & ask why one of their guys is claiming a MB law, which MB says doesnt exist. Then I'll work my way down to the local level.

I still havent decided if standing up to him is gonna be worth the hassle. He def will try to pick my boat apart to find any violation. I've already passed CG, but im gonna really try to make sure theres nothing ticky tack he can get me on.

If it was just this spot, maybe I would move. But this guy is saying I basically cant go anywhere in MB besides a couple crowded spots. So if I go somewhere else, and a homeowner inevitably complains, then he will be right back to harassing me, and feeling like he has precedent.

Also, where I am now, I essentially have been cleared by all the other agencies, so it might make sense to just take on this FWC, cuz if I can beat him, then they really have nobody else to call.

To me, I dont feel like I need any sympathy, its just a cut and dry question: am I breaking the law or not? If I'm not (which all signs point to), then why should I duck my head and leave as if I did anything wrong?
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Old 13-08-2019, 12:59   #9
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Re: Miami Beach Anchoring Harassment

Miami beach has always been a problem. As previously mentioned, hang a black ball (day marker), and keep your anchor light on at night. Be sure your boat will pass a safety inspection.

Other than that, document every "boarding" or annoying official who comes along. It always helps, in the long run, to have a camera obviously filming the boarding. It doesn't help during that boarding, some get quite cranky, but it does seem to discourage repeat visits.

You're in the right, so do as you please. We did for a while, but my wife got too annoyed at the situation, and we left.

Good luck.
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Old 13-08-2019, 13:37   #10
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Re: Miami Beach Anchoring Harassment

Stand your ground.


If an FWC cop comes by, document his name and badge number (If so inclined, have a talk with his boss). If it turns into harassment, have it all documented. No need to be mean. Be friendly. You're in the right.


Sounds like you know the law better than he does.


But mind your Ps and Qs.


You're not the problem. Whoever is calling the cops is the problem.
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Old 13-08-2019, 13:42   #11
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Re: Miami Beach Anchoring Harassment

You have done nothing wrong. Up to you if you want to deal with all that, but you have every right to be where you are.
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Old 13-08-2019, 14:02   #12
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Re: Miami Beach Anchoring Harassment

Where exactly are you anchored? Would be interesting to know.

I've anchored off the Venetian Causeway, I think in Delido for the past ten years and never had a problem, even when they introduced that rule re 100? ft? yards? no anchoring (can't remember what the rule is) some years ago and many property owners put floats off their property.

I've found the MB marine police to be very polite, no problems. Even in 2004 when MB tried some new anchoring rules limiting the stay at anchor, the police just explained that there was a 24? 48? hour anchoring limit but they always said if we could not move due to weather they would not bother us.

Again would really like to know where you are anchoring.
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Old 13-08-2019, 14:13   #13
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Re: Miami Beach Anchoring Harassment

If you the time to deal with them then stand your ground and let him write a ticket.
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Old 13-08-2019, 14:28   #14
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Re: Miami Beach Anchoring Harassment

my deal is-whenever LE,I ask for their Card=this puts them back if they don't have one(seeming unprofessional) I say not to worry,let me take down your name & number. This gently lets them know to be aware of accountability

I'd cut to the chase & walk in to their office & speak with supervisor/officer level
with exact GPS of anchorage-get executive name,number bla bla bla - this way if/when next FWC junior shows up - drop LTs name.That'll brush him back quick
Additionally,by going to higher up-you'll get the real feel of what you're dealing with-if execs harsh on you-you now know they're in on the BS...That'll call for governing legal body to clarify

Finally,to bother- welp,"if not me who" & then there are the next folks to come along & have their experience by piss-ant ego.
Have your ducks in order 1st
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Old 13-08-2019, 14:34   #15
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Re: Miami Beach Anchoring Harassment

Knowledge is power. Find the relavant statutes. If the FWC comes by again ask them politely to provide you a reference to the relevant statute.

Also note that power is power and you have a lot of powerful neighbors in that venue who obviously dont want you there. Local law enforcement heads are beholden to them not you.
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