It's been a quiet week for Florida Senate Bill 1548 – the "Vessel Safety" bill which contains the 200-foot residential setback anchoring restrictions. It has been 2 weeks now since the bill passed its 2nd committee, and it has not yet been scheduled for the required 3rd committee hearing – in fact, that committee (Fiscal Policy) met last on April 20th is not currently scheduled to meet again, but that could change.
On the House side, HB 7123 "At-Risk Vessels" is still listed as "related" to SB 1548, but it does not contain any of the residential or public marine infrastructure anchoring restrictions. This bill passed in the full House yesterday 119-1. Unlike the previous committee hearing (and the full House vote last year on the FWC bill), no amendment to align the bill with the Senate bill was introduced on the House floor. This bill now goes to the Senate for a vote.
A team of cruising advocates (Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA), BoatUS, and others) are still at work, monitoring and tracking every bill – and any potential amendment to every bill – that could contain anchoring-restrictive provisions. They continue to discuss issues and alternatives with Florida House and Senate members.
If an anchoring-restrictive bill or amendment emerges, the team will once again get the message out to the boating community. The strength of voice against these provisions has increased throughout this process, as more people and groups have become concerned with how the restrictions might negatively affect cruisers, civic groups, and marine and waterway businesses.
The last day of the Florida Legislative regular 2015 session is Friday, May 1st – just 8 days from now.
Important note: Most of the "team" advocating for anchoring rights are volunteering their time and effort, but the costs of research, travel, and other expenses have been substantial. Three weeks ago, SSCA set up the "2015 Cruisers' Rights Fund" to help defray these costs and increase the effectiveness of the effort. Response has been considerable – over $10,000 has been raised so far – but that is just a fraction of what has already been paid out of pocket. Visit the 2015 Cruisers' Rights Fund page if you'd like to donate a few bucks (or a few hundred).
Other WaterwayGuide.com articles/editorials on the 2015 Florida Anchoring legislation:
- Florida anchoring legislation update: What's next?
- FL anchoring restriction bill passes another Senate committee
- What more can you do to preserve anchoring in FL?
- Florida House 'at-risk vessel bill' passes committee, amendment withdrawn
- New FL House Bill: Good news for cruisers, or too early to tell?
- Pushing back against proposed anchoring laws in Florida
- Will many Florida anchorages be a thing of the past?
- Storm clouds on the Florida anchoring horizon
- Anchoring restrictions introduced in Florida bill
- SSCA releases Florida anchoring rights position