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Old 31-01-2007, 08:04   #16
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When I've picked up from other posts about the extent of policing in USA waters I had not realised it would come down to the level described by kruggerand above.

Appreciate theres alwasy two sides, but have I misjudged before and should we start thinking all the water police / coastguards in the area are like wet versions of the police in the Dukes of Hazard?

Indeed, can others quantify if it is really as bad a its being painted and should the area be avoid completely?

(Hey kruggerand don't you answer that as I can guess your answer already - and I don't want to raise your stress levels any higher than they are).

We were aiming to pass through S.Florida sometime in the next 24 months, so can anyone advise as an example, what it might cost to berth for a night with a a 46 footer, say at the marinas being mentioned above? Thats assuming if I'm paying, they'll be nice to me!

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Old 31-01-2007, 09:29   #17

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John, the general level of "policing" in US waters is professional. You'll find local, county ("shire"), state, and federal agents of all kinds and obviously some will be more of a credit to their uniform than others.

In many areas there have been deaths from drownings and drunken operators, so one of the more common reasons for boardings are safety inspections. If a boat passes and you look ship-shape and have PFDs on or visible, you are less likely to be boarded. If you are boarded, and produce your safety equipment (flares properly dated, PFD's properly stowed, etc.) in a way that indicates you're familiar with them and they're all up to snuff, again, that's probably all they want to see.
If they see children without PFD's, that's illegal in many states. If they see folks bowriding, that's not illegal but often may get you boarded. A lot of folks try to put one over on "cops" of various kinds here, and the one thing that will piss them off fast is when they smell this happening. Show them that you know what's going on, that you're a responsible sailor, and you respect the job they have to do, and they're often quite civil and just as eager to be off someplace else where they have more to do.

An ambush at a dingy dock is not inconceivable, there are thugs and bullies in uniform all over the world and small town thugs are just that. But, it is also quite common here to set up enforcement checkpoints where officers will sit in likely places (like, outside bars<G>) to catch common infractions. Having a kid on the water without a PFD is a fast way to get ticketed, either because it is outright illegal, or because some cop is tired of recovering small floaters and writes it up as "reckless operation".

And any cop, even on the highways, isn't going to accept "I couldn't afford a car seat" much less "I couldn't afford a PFD" for the kids. They've seen too many bodies, they will compromise on that without a much better excuse, and I don't blame them.

Florida's southeast coast, aka "The Gold Coast" and the Keys became overpriced and overcrowded 30-40 years ago. What's left are remnants, mainly crowded out by wanna-be real estate moguls and extortionists. But, you can probably say the same thing about Tahiti and anyplace else that's been talked about and visited too much in the same years!

Get a Federal Express or DHL delivery guide book. Anyplace that has overnight courier services, or an airport within 150 miles? Cross it off your list, it will be "civilized" now. (Well, that's what they call it.<G>) Sadly nothing unique about Florida.
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Old 31-01-2007, 09:46   #18
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We used to call the Florida Marina Partol, now the FWC the "toilet nazi's".
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Old 31-01-2007, 10:51   #19
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John, The service in any marina will vary as it will at any business no matter how expensive or inexpensive. Some of the best service we have received has been at some of the most inexpensive places. Plan on spending about $2.50 per foot per night for transient slips in south Floriduh. There are exceptions but you will usually find in those cases there is no room at the Inn. Hurricanes and condos have taken out most of the public marinas in the middle Keys. Those left are charging exorbitant rates and don't necessarily deliver much in service or ambiance. In addition there is a good chance you will be charged extra for electricity, cable TV, water and just about anything else other than just parking the boat. You could even be charged additional if you need to park a car in the marina lot. Our posts are from ten years of living aboard in the Keys and not hearsay. These are actual circumstances and events. The wealthy landowners are shaping the landscape and responsible for creating much of the legislation and they don't want you there plain and simple. Local law enforcement also see us as an irritant and hope they can badger us into staying away. In many cases (but not all) it is working very effectively. The incident described with the dinghy in Boot Key is the rule rather than the exception and has nothing to do with little floaters or anything else. It is a prevalent attitude among FWC and the local Sheriffs office. They would much prefer to be driving up and down US 1 in their SUV's that being on the water dealing with you and that clearly comes across with each encounter.
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Old 31-01-2007, 13:41   #20
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My comments are based on about 20 years of visiting my grandfather in the Tampa area for week long trips 2,3 or even 4 times (before a job and family cramped my vacation options). We would typically fish in a 25' CC everyday the weather allowed. We were not the 'let's anchor and fish in the marked channel' types either. Over the 20 years I noticed a definite trend in the increase of idiocy on the waterways. I suspect it is associated with the steady increase in traffic on the waterways. The problem of course is compounded by boats getting bigger and faster.
The last couple of years we would have a hard time spending a day on the water without some incident like a close call, someone running close astern and cutting our lines, etc. One time in particular sticks in my mind when a Formula was barreling towards our anchored boat about 25 miles off-shore. We could see the guy looking behind him oblivious to us. I was at the point of trying to decide which way to jump overboard before he turned around and changed course - giving us the finger on the way by of course.

Now my point in defense of water cops. Can you imagine dealing with people like that every day? I'd probably turn into a bitter @$$hole myself. Not saying it is right. Not saying all are bad or all are good. Just throwing that observaiton out there.

Flipside to Florida - In 30 or so years of boating in Maine I've been stopped once - for starting a skier from the shore through a mooring field. Didn't get a ticket, just a warning. I've had my cruising sailboat for 3 years now and I can't find who to pay excise tax to. The various towns and cities I checked with don't charge for a documented vessel. The marina we are at was actually disappointed when our liveaboard plans didn't pan out.
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Old 31-01-2007, 14:02   #21
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Chuck & Hello:
I’m finally old enough to make the “in my day” lament:
In my day, little floaters” referred to “turds”, not dead children.
I much prefer the disgrace my generation perpetrated.
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"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 31-01-2007, 14:37   #22

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Well, Gord, if your generation had been more vigorous about keelhaulings, the survivors would have been much better mannered. What's the saying?

"The lashings will continue until morale has improved!"
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Old 31-01-2007, 17:58   #23
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Well Geez how about day two after a nine day push to get to Marathon just the wife and I both tired sleeping at 10:30 at night. Thinking we were in an ancorage safe and sound we sat on the hook with many boats around us. Yes some had lights on some did not. So here comes the FWC no lights and came along side saying come on out real loud. I had no Idea who they were I could not see them and I was not dressed. They ask to board I said no and they demanded all my gear and papers. Then they got all upset when I gave them my passport as ID they said we want your drivers lisc. I told them I am not driving a car this is a boat which seemed to piss them off since they had no way of running an NCIC on the passport. I don't know where they train the FWC but I took it to the court wher the judge let them try me and convict me of the charge they had placed on me. This was a clear case of wrong doing but they made a joke of the whole thing and charged me $90 and not the $60 dollars the ticket should have been. I had a letter from the FWC chairman in Tallahassee who said give them a verbal warning to turn the light on then a written warning then issue a ciatation. I guess that was to much they said that does not apply here in Boot Key Harbor. So they did not follow what thier commander said to do and made it up as they went. The judge should be disbared and not be allow to hear any cases ever again as he would not even look at the letter from Tallahassee I think that was a violation of my rights. So I am gone now and I will never come back and FWC and Florida law enforcement can kiss my behind swaaaacccK! NAZI'S I love this from afar I can now tell the whole thing without getting buggerd. Feels good to sit in my home in the mountains knowing my boat is secure in a marina where they do not hassel you and tell this story. Funny this thing popped up after all this time but like I said the truth lives on long after the lie has died. Or if you tell the truth you don't have to remember what you said. Hurray For Our Side Jimmy
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Old 31-01-2007, 18:53   #24

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Trying to look at both sides of this Alice's Restaurant Massacree say you thought you were in an anchorage, but you don't say if you really were, or where you actually were anchored. And you say you were tried and fined, but you don't say what you were charged with.

Could you fill us in on those things?
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Old 31-01-2007, 20:42   #25
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Strange, everybody has different stories. I was there in Mar, no anchor light and did not get harrased. Although I was anchored in 3 feet of water for 2 days. I had a good time. I would not stay at the sea wall again. To much airplane and boat traffic.

I have been in areas where boaters was allowed to do whatever and it was hard on the people anchored. One should understand that The City of Marathon pays for police and fire protection for you.

I cannot say that I have been treaded any worst on the water than in small towns that I have driven through. Some times bad but, almost always, very good.
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Old 23-08-2007, 01:41   #26
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unfortunately, as florida has grown, it's attitude in general has adopted the palm beach mentality toward boating and dockage therein. there are alot of deadbeat liveaboards that have abandoned their vessels, brought drugs into play at marinas, caused accidents, etc. all of this without insurance or regard for the safety of others. this has caused a general hardening of establishments catering to the needs of cruisers and liveaboards, and the business end has pretty much washed their hands of the matter by upping fees, and getting snooty. let's face it, there are alot of idiots out there, we see them EVERY time we are on the water(and off, for that matter). policy unfortunately is dictated by the stupidity of others and we will not have a means to change this. it is private business, and unless we choose to socialize the boating economy there will always be an effort for marinas and local water police, etc. to crack down on those who don't want to pay the exorbitant fees, or choose to get around them.(like myself) money makes the world go round down here, and you should not expect niceties and a caring attitude toward the wayward cruiser, unless of course you are dropping a c-note a night, eating three meals at the dock restaurant with super tippage for the staff, renting a local car, parasailing with the local beach service, blah, blah, blah.... the approach is only really suited to tourism, and economy proliferation and that is well understood. i spent years paying inflated condo rent and working my @$$ off in palm beach, putting in my part so mayor Lois Frankel could play with her city council and throw big parties I was not invited to. though if you ask me, there must be a legislatory movement toward the establishment of cruiser and liveaboard community protection of some sort in south florida. we have won some sort of fight with the city of Miami wanting to charge serious fees for all anchorage. they were found to be out of order, and we WON! wow. we DO contribute something to the economy, no matter where we go.
when the sailboats and small cruisers are all gone, and the MEGA yachters keep screwing up the reefs and bottom structure in the Keys, there will be stricter legislation forbidding or seriously restricting the movement of such vessels down there. It is a sanctuary, and protected by law already. The local economy will fizzle and wither, and they will wish they had not driven off the only REAL steady business they once had. viva la Florida
Are we there yet?
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