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Get ready for new anchoring regulations in Florida

Date Reported: Jul 30, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

no-anchor-icon-3.jpgIf you thought that the extension of Florida's Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program meant that new regulations would be put off until 2017, think again.

Last week's public meeting hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was the first workshop in an effort to draft a legislative proposal allowing Florida municipalities to enact anchoring ordinances before the Pilot Program ends – perhaps as soon as this winter.

I had a long conversation with Capt. Tom Shipp and Capt. Gary Klein of FWC yesterday, as I try to understand why FWC would open up this process before the Pilot Program is over (I was not able to attend the meetings). “This was part of the plan…we’re just moving more quickly” than we had expected, said Capt. Shipp, the coordinator of the Pilot Program.

Remember back in April – those last-minute amendments tacked on to the bill that included the extension of the pilot program? Although the amendments were voted down, certain municipalities not participating in the Pilot Program have kept the pressure on – they want the ability to draft their own ordinances to make anchoring near private residences illegal, and they want it now. “If we didn’t step into this void, we would not as likely end up” with an acceptable outcome, said Capt. Klein, who is heading up this new, parallel effort to draft guidelines for legislation.

Despite the constitutional problems with municipalities regulating anchoring in navigable waters, several may soon try to push through a new law which could quickly take us back to what Claiborne Young called the “wild west” of anchoring regulations – rules often changing from county to county, and many citations and fines (at least until the law is challenged and thrown out again). Capts. Klein and Shipp hope that working through this new process to "finally find consensus" will give the municipalities some control without adding hardship to the responsible boating community. Klein said that the idea is to use Florida Statute 327.46 - Boating-restricted areas as a general framework.

Representatives from BoatUS and Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) were among the 30-35 participants (both of these organizations are strong advocates for the boating community and, in my opinion, deserve our support). Other participants included legislative and law enforcement representatives.

There are other important pieces to the framework of guidelines, including time limitations, setbacks from marine infrastructure, proof of pump-out, and identification of derelict and pre-derelict vessels, but I’ll cover only the residential setback in this article (I’ll cover more in future articles).

What is the definition of “near” private residences? Senator Christopher Smith of Broward County in his argument for the amendment suggested that 300 feet is too close: "There are boats sitting outside of people's houses…boats within 100 yards, looking into people's houses, discharging waste, doing all kinds of things in that city's water." 

Let’s take a look at the Senator’s county, home of Ft. Lauderdale – the “Yachting Capital of the World” – which was well-represented at last week's meeting.

Broward County runs from about ICW Mile 1050 Deerfield Beach to Mile 1074 at Hallandale Beach, and each of its roughly dozen anchorages are small areas surrounded by mostly residential property. A 300-foot setback rule would effectively make it illegal to anchor almost everywhere in the county.

Middle-River-Anchorage-2.jpgWhat is a “reasonable” setback from a residential property or private dock? Most prudent skippers anchor as far as practical from docks, seawalls and other boats, but crowded anchorages (like those in Broward County) often require closer quarters. Is there a setback amount that works? Yes: 0 feet.

We’ve all probably experienced the “boat’s too close” illusion in an anchorage. A short trip in the dinghy reveals that your vessel is actually over 100 feet from what you thought might be too close. So, should we use 100 feet for the setback? No…because the same illusion happens from land (probably more so).

Regardless of the setback number used, certain homeowners will think your boat is too close, then call the police, who will then investigate and explain to the homeowner that the boat isn’t too close. (You would think that local law enforcement would push for no setbacks for the same reason; however, a contingent of them at the meeting reportedly suggested some of the larger numbers.) And let's be real – the only setback that would satisfy many of these homeowners is "infinity."

Why don’t we stay at marinas every night? Fort Lauderdale has some of the finest marina facilities in the world, and there are some I can highly recommend; however, a marina stay is not always practical for every cruiser, whether for financial reasons (and Ft. Lauderdale marinas tend to have some of the highest rates), the added hassle after a long day’s journey, or simply the preference of having a little space for oneself.

According to Klein and Shipp, two more public meetings will be scheduled very soon – one on Florida's East Coast and other on Florida's West Coast, details to come. They also said that the FWC will solicit comments via the internet for those who cannot attend the meetings (details to come).

Anyone who would like to preserve our anchoring rights in Florida should stay tuned and get involved in this process.

Here is the press release from Captain Gary Klein of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission about last week’s meeting:

In response to increasing concerns between local governments and boaters related to anchoring in state waters within local jurisdictions, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) conducted a public meeting in Tallahassee on July 21-22, 2014, to discuss anchoring issues and potential ways forward to resolve the conflicts.

Attended by interested persons representing the boating industry, resident and visiting boaters and local and state governments, the two-day meeting focused on complex issues.

“Protecting the rights of people to use the waters kept in public trust by the state is very important,” said Lt. Colonel Jack Daugherty. “We all want to keep Florida a boater-friendly state and maintain that great part of the Florida lifestyle and economy. On the other hand, local governments have the duty to respond to the needs of their citizens.  We are committed to a robust dialogue and to seeking balance between boating interests and local governments in an effort to identify points of consensus and to help resolve some of these issues.”

This year, Florida’s Legislature extended the Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program, which was authorized in 2009 to look for solutions to these problems, for three additional years in order to allow for more time to test various anchoring strategies and to engage stakeholders in exploring possible legislative solutions. During the public meeting, a framework for potential future anchoring legislation was discussed along with several draft regulatory provisions based on components of the pilot program, each aimed at solving or minimizing specific anchoring challenges.

FWC staff will draft language based on comments from this meeting, distribute that language to interested parties and hold at least two additional public meetings to further refine a possible legislative proposal. Meeting notices and reference documents will be posted by mid-August on FWC’s Anchoring and Mooring web page, found at http://myfwc.com/boating/anchoring-mooring.

Related Articles:

ALERT: Another amendment to restrict anchoring in Florida – VOTED DOWN!
UPDATE: Both Florida anchoring amendments are rejected!
Florida anchoring/mooring pilot program asks for 3-year extension

Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Comment submitted by Steve Weisbrod - Thu, Jul 31st

Maybe the FWC and the 'municipalities' should just 'cut to the chase'. Municipalities that don't want boats anchoring in their jurisdiction should just say so. They should cite and fine ANY boat anchoring in their waters. They should also be held responsible for the 'fallout' when their police and the FWC fail to enforce it consistantly. Personally, I don't want to stop in ANY area where I'm not welcome. But I'm also tired of seeing the existing laws enforced erratically.
The FWC could start by enforcing 'no wake' zones. They could enforce the law prohibiting fishermen from tying off to bridges and the 'channel side' of bridge bulkheading. They could enforce existing laws regarding the myriad of small power boats that run around at night with partial or non-working running lights. Before we hear about 'not enough police and patrol boats' I can tell you that I've seen violations ignored or enforced selectively a LOT.
Anyway Broward County, just say "no cruisers welcome" and we'll just go outside and avoid your piddly little area. The same holds true of any city or county in Florida.... or anywhere else. It's not rocket science guys, just tell us to stay away. I'll be happy to buy fuel and supplies elsewhere.
BTW, as a Florida resident, this all seems to be a giant waste of time and taxpayer money motivated by a very small number of individuals.
stay safe,
steve

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BoatUS: Drowning or Electric Shock Drowning?

Date Reported: Jul 24, 2014

Mile: 0.0

ESD-Graphic.jpgIs it Drowning, or Electric Shock Drowning? What You Need to Know to Help Save a Life

ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 21, 2014 – While standing at the end of your boat dock, you see a person struggling in the water. Do you recognize that the person is drowning, or is something else going on? And what should you do? Doing the right thing could help save someone else's life, and might keep you from losing yours.

Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) occurs when faulty dock or boat wiring causes electricity (alternating current or “AC” power) to enter fresh water and pass through a swimmer. The swimmer does not need to be touching the bottom, a boat or dock structure, and even minute amounts of electricity can be incapacitating. As more light is shed on this danger, it is likely that some ESD fatalities have been misidentified as drowning, preventing awareness of this summertime boating danger. The risk of ESD is greatest in fresh or brackish waters, so some areas such as estuaries or rivers may only be in the danger zone after heavy rains. In saltwater, electrical current takes the path of least resistance, bypassing swimmers.

Unlike a drowning swimmer, who typically can’t yell out for help because their mouth is mostly underwater, an ESD victim is often confused about what is happening to them, may be able to shout, and will feel numbness, tingling, pain and paralysis. A drowning victim often looks “playful”, moving their arms in a ladder climbing fashion, while an Electric Shock Drowning victim looks “distressed” and may simply roll onto their back – if wearing a life jacket - or roll face down into the water, totally unresponsive.

A typical drowning can take as up to a minute for an adult or just 20 seconds for a child, with the victim’s arms moving in a climbing-a-ladder type motion, taking quick gulps of air, with the mouth below the water much of the time. ESD victims can be instantly paralyzed and not move at all.

So what do you need to do for both cases? Don’t jump in the water – call 911, and follow the “Reach, throw, row, but don’t go” mantra. Only a professional lifeguard has the training to handle a drowning victim. Far too often, news reports showwell intentioned rescuers increase the fatality count. If the problem is ESD – which may not be abundantly clear – going in the water couldkill you.

Whether the person is drowning or suffering from ESD, use an oar, boathook or throw a floatation device, or get into a boat and try to reach the person from there. Do everything you can – tossing a line, throwing life jackets, grabbing a nearby dinghy – but don’t go into the water yourself. Once you have retrieved the person, start CPR if there is no pulse. Automated Electrical Defibrillators are also becoming more common – just make sure the victim’s chest is dry.

For more information, parents, dock owners, boaters, and marina and boat club operators can go to the Boat Owners Association of The United States’ Electric Shock Drowning Resource Center at www.BoatUS.com/seaworthy/ESD.

Source: BoatUS

Comment submitted by Geir O Larsson - Fri, Aug 1st

To stay and see for a minute that a person is actually drowning is a stupid and probably illegal advice, and its unbelievable that BoatUS can give such an advice. At least anyone on a boat have a legal obligation to save life if capable...
How many people die of EDS per year? Very few I presume, but how many dies every year in 'normal drowning'?

How many times can a call to 911 secure a response team in less than one minute?

Comments from BoatUS and SSCA appreciated.

Geir

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Video: Why you shouldn't kayak too close to whales...

Date Reported: Jul 23, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

Or, maybe "why you should kayak with whales" – but something tells me these folks were pretty lucky it didn't turn ugly.

Source: YouTube

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Amendment to mitigate E-15 damage adopted by House Appropriations

Date Reported: Jul 22, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

E15-At-The-Pump.jpgThe National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) reports good news on the ethanol front. An amendment to help mitigate the problem of boater's misfueling marine gasoline engines with E-15 has been adopted to a bill working its way through the U.S. Congress:

Last week during the House of Representative’s Committee on Appropriation’s Interior and Environment markup, which directs Fiscal Year 2015 funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an important amendment affecting the sale of E15 was unanimously adopted and will now be considered by the full House. NMMA’s Washington office was heavily involved in passing the amendment, which will require the EPA to do more comprehensive E15 public education outreach on the dangers of E15 to non-approved engines, like boats, motorcycles, and lawn equipment.

NMMA remains involved in numerous other E15 efforts, including litigation against the EPA for its failure to establish a robust misfueling mitigation plan. For more information on NMMA’s E15 efforts, please contact Michael Lewan at mlewan@nmma.org.

As part of the Renewable Fuel Standard, E15 (gasoline with 15% ethanol) was introduced; however, studies have shown "serious and well-documented human safety, environmental, and technology concerns associated with ethanol blends over 10 percent in recreational boat fuel tanks and engines," according to the NMMA website. The fuel currently stocked at the majority of our nation’s gas pumps is E10 (10% ethanol), which has been reported to cause engine issues as well, especially when not used soon after purchase without adding a stabilizer. "Non-Ethanol" gasoline is becoming more available in some areas.

Source: NMMA

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What's wrong with this hull strainer?

Date Reported: Jul 16, 2014

Mile: 0.0

Reported by: Steve D'Antonio

Hull-Strainer.jpgRaw water, after lube oil it’s the very life blood of your engine and generator, supplying it with the medium that absorbs and carries away heat from the combustion process.  In most applications it’s pumped into the boat via a seacock and external strainer, through a raw water pump and on to the heat exchanger, where it encounters but never makes direct contact with, the engine’s coolant.  Finally it’s discharged into the exhaust system, cooling off hot gasses as they leave the engine. 

Ensuring that the supply is regular and reliable is among the more important responsibilities a vessel operator assumes. If it’s impeded, several catastrophes can befall both the engine and the craft...

To view the rest of this article, please follow this link: 

http://www.stevedmarineconsulting.com/ezine/index.php

This is an excerpt from Steve D' Antonio's "Marine Systems Excellence" blog. With nearly 25 years of experience as a marine mechanic, electrician, consultant and boatyard manager, Steve ranks as one of the most knowledgeable boating experts in the country. His ability to explain highly technical information on a wide array of boating topics in a clear, easy to read and easy to use manner has made him one of the most widely read boating writers and lecturers today. Steve's commitment is to strive to improve the safety and reliability of boating products while increasing the confidence and enjoyment boat owners. In short, Steve strives to help bring the fun back to searching for, building, maintaining, repairing and owning a boat.

Source: SDMC Marine Systems Excellence

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Help guide the future of marine information

Date Reported: Jul 15, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

ENC-ChartEven if you missed the 21st Century/Future of Navigation Listening Sessions this spring, please share your comments on "user requirements and emerging needs for navigation information and services" to be provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and NOAA Coast Survey.

The three agencies are collaborating in the eNAV environment to promote safety and efficiency of the marine transportation system, and you are invited to visit the initiative's Feedback Website. Here's a sampling of the questions: 

  • How would you like to access the information necessary to regularly update your charts and publications to the latest Notice to Mariners?
  • What features of NOAA's Print on Demand (POD) product do you find effective or ineffective?
  • How can NOAA further improve the PDF chart products available online to be more useful for navigation?
  • Do you use your mobile device for navigation safety purposes on the U.S. waterways?
  • If industry were to develop a mobile phone application using USCG / NOAA / USACE data, what features and information would you want it to provide?
  • Do you currently use NOAA's Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS) or tides and water level information? If so, how do you access it?
  • Would you use NOAA's Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS) or tides and water level information if it was broadcast over AIS?
  • How much do you rely upon certain programs/services provided by USCG / USACE / NOAA? How effective are they?
  • What additional services/tools do you use for navigation on the U.S. waterways?
  • How much do you rely upon certain aids to navigation? How effective are they?
  • Are there additional services or information that you want/need for navigation on the U.S. waterways?
  • What are your biggest concerns regarding certain ongoing/upcoming initiatives?

Visit the Future of Navigation/21st Century Waterways - Listening Session Feedback web survey today and make your voice heard!

Source: USCG, USACE, NOAA

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AGLCA Radio: Medical essentials for long-range cruising

Date Reported: Jul 10, 2014

Reported by: Janice Kromer

medical-ditch-bagEditor's Note: The America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association Blog Talk Radio Show airs at 10 a.m. each Friday – but each show is archived so you can listen anytime you want after the air date. From Janice Kromer, Executive Director, AGLCA:

This Friday, July 11, we will be rebroadcasting a show featuring Dr. Jerry Reves. He will be discussing what to have in your medicine chest for long range cruising. As usual, the show will air at 10:00 AM Eastern Time. 

You can listen live by going to our website at www.GreatLoop.org, clicking on AGLCA Radio in the Free for Everyone section of the top navigation bar, then scrolling down to the Great Loop Radio player. Then, just left click on the arrow below the name of the show to start listening. Be sure not to tune in too far in advance or you will be listening to the show from the prior week. 

You can also listen to the show on Blog Talk Radio's website. Just click here, or go to www.BlogTalkRadio.com and type AGLCA in the search box. That will take you directly to AGLCA's page where you can listen live, or, check out the archives. The show is also available on iTunes.

Source: AGLCA

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Virtual boat show and marketplace online - BoatsandShore.com

Date Reported: Jul 10, 2014

Boats-and-Shore.jpgThe online boating world is now easier to navigate. BoatsandShore.com is a virtual boat show and marketplace – your one-stop boating advertising source with text, photos, links and YouTube Videos. No matter what your interest, from yacht sales to mooring, rigging to fishing and diving, electronics, kayaking, or finding a mate on the open seas, BoatsandShore.com is the place to buy, sell, and trade. Brokers and individuals can list one item or hundreds.   

Join the community of boaters and share your news and photos, search other marine publications, share fish stories or find fishing equipment and electronics. Some of the best information we get is from talking on the dock or after the sun goes down at a local restaurant. We want to hear from you. Ready to buy, sell, or trade? Have some interesting info, photos, YouTube videos or news? Love cruising or just cruising the aisles of a boat show? Do it from the comfort of your own home or cockpit. Give it a try - and welcome aboard www.BoatsandShore.com.

"The best part is, at no charge."   

No membership and no fees for listing or posting. You’ll also find deals, discounts, and coupons in your favorite ports of call. Listings for crew, jobs, events, waterfront real estate sales, rentals, boating, and land services you want or need. 

Go to www.Boatsandshore.com and start buying and selling today.

Source: BoatsandShore.com

Comment submitted by Frank Ruark - Wed, Jul 16th

I\'ve used this, this is like a craigslist for boaters, I just sold my boat on boatsandshore - cool site and it\'s free

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NOAA improves access to wreck and obstruction data

Date Reported: Jul 08, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

NOAA has made a boatload of improvements of late (the magenta line removal excepted), and now is building onto the enhancements to the Automated Wreck and Obstruction Information System (AWOIS) database we reported on last year. It is easier than ever to get detailed wreck and obstruction information to aid in safe navigation – and to benefit divers, anglers, archeologists, scientists, and perhaps treasure hunters. From the NOAA Coast Survey press release: Coast Survey improves access to data on thousands of wrecks and obstructions:

wrecks-webmap.jpg

Knowing the locations of shipwrecks and other obstructions has always been important for safe navigation ‒ but mariners are not the only people who want to know about wrecks. They are also important for marine archeology, recreational diving, salvage operations, and fishing, among other interests. Now, Coast Survey has improved our Wrecks and Obstructions Database, giving everyone easy access to new records to explore.

Historically, Coast Survey has maintained two separate sources of information on wrecks. We recently combined the sources, bringing together information on nearly 20,000 wrecks and obstructions.

AWOIS

Coast Survey established the Automated Wreck and Obstruction Information System (AWOIS) database in 1981 to help estimate the level of effort required to investigate items during a planned hydrographic survey, but maritime users were also interested in AWOIS’ historical records. However, because the emphasis is on features that are most likely to pose a hazard to navigation, AWOIS has always had limitations. Most notably, AWOIS is not a comprehensive record and does not completely address every known or reported wreck. Additionally, for a number of reasons, AWOIS positions do not always agree with a charted position for a similar feature.

NOAA ENC

Coast Survey compiles NOAA’s electronic navigational charts (NOAA ENC®) from sources on features that are navigationally significant. As the official chart data used in electronic chart and display information systems (ECDIS), ENCs are the authoritative source of information about known or reported wrecks and are much more comprehensive than AWOIS. However, the features in an ENC typically lack the historic information and context provided by AWOIS.

COMBINED DATA

Correcting for some overlap between the two source databases, Coast Survey’s new wrecks and obstructions database now contains information on about 13,000 wreck features and 6,000 obstructions. Wreck features from each original database are stored in separate layers but can be displayed together. Users may also choose a background map from several options.

The new database also offers users additional data formats from which to choose. Historically, shipwreck data in AWOIS was available in Adobe PDF and as Microsoft Access Database (MDB) format. More recently, KML/KMZ files replaced PDF and MDB formats, making it easier for public users to view AWOIS data, by using freely available software such as Google Maps or Google Earth. Now, in addition to KML/KMZ and Microsoft Excel formats for general users, Coast Survey provides the data in ArcGIS REST services and OGC WMS services, for use in GIS software programs or web-based map mashup sites.

Source: NOAA Coast Survey

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'Dead Zone' update for Gulf and Chesapeake

Date Reported: Jul 03, 2014

Dead-Zone.jpg

Scientists are expecting an average, but still large, hypoxic or "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico this year, and slightly above-average hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay .

NOAA-supported modeling is forecasting this year's Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone to cover an area ranging from about 4,633 to 5,708 square miles (12,000 to 14,785 square kilometers) or about the size of the state of Connecticut.

While close to averages since the late 1990s, these hypoxic zones are many times larger than what research has shown them to be prior to the significant human influences that greatly expanded their sizes and effects.

The Gulf of Mexico prediction is based on models developed by NOAA-sponsored modeling teams and individual researchers at the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences/College of William and Mary, Texas A&M University, and the U.S. Geological Survey, and relies on nutrient loading estimates from the USGS. The models also account for the influence of variable weather and oceanographic conditions, and predict that these can affect the dead zone area by as much as 38 percent.

A second NOAA-funded forecast, for the Chesapeake Bay, predicts a slightly larger than average dead zone in the nation's largest estuary. The forecast predicts a mid-summer low- oxygen hypoxic zone of 1.97 cubic miles, an early-summer oxygen-free anoxic zone of 0.51 cubic miles, with the late-summer oxygen-free anoxic area predicted to be 0.32 cubic miles. Because of the shallow nature of large areas of the estuary the focus is on water volume or cubic miles, instead of square mileage as used in the Gulf.

The Chesapeake Bay prediction is based on models developed by NOAA-sponsored researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, University of Michigan, and again relies on nutrient loading estimates from USGS...

Read NOAA/USGS press release: NOAA, partners predict an average ‘dead zone’ for Gulf of Mexico; slightly above-average hypoxia in Chesapeake Bay (pdf).

Source: NOAA/USGS

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