News & Events for Chesapeake Bay

'Time to celebrate' - Florida anchoring battle won...for now

Date Posted: 2015-04-29
Source: SSCA

Due to a impasse on the state budget, Florida's House of Representatives has adjourned – the only bills "alive" are those already passed by the House, and those could only be passed by the Senate without amendments. 

What does this mean for cruisers who visit Florida's anchorages? In a nutshell: no bill containing anchoring restrictions will be enacted this session. Expect a continuation of the Anchoring/Mooring Pilot Program in its five areas, and no other anchoring restrictions until July 2017 at the earliest.

Phil Johnson heads up the Concerned Cruisers' Committee at the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA), and has led the effort to prevent the anchoring-restrictive provisions of SB 1548 from becoming Florida law. Here's a celebratory news release from Phil, who, along with SSCA, BoatUS, AGLCA, MTOA, SSECN, and countless other cruisers, cruising advocates, businesses, and municipalities have worked to preserve anchoring rights in Florida:

28 April 2015, Tallahassee, Florida

The 2015 Florida Regular Legislative Session has come to a close. It occurred 3 days earlier than scheduled by way of the House adjourning. We are elated to report that the freedom to anchor in Coastal Florida waters remains intact. Not one bill was adopted that includes any bans on anchoring.

We applaud the way that the cruising and boating family came together this session, became organized, developed a clear strategy and then implemented it in a methodical, controlled way. We are proud of our association with the lobbying firm Capitol Access and lobbyists Jerry Paul, Robert Shave, and Jamie Miller. We are also appreciative of our teammates at BoatUS, especially Bonnie Basham.

Special thanks to the crew that worked so hard on this by attending the hearings and working the rigging from off-shore via their keyboards. At the risk of leaving someone out, we especially applaud the efforts of Judy Mkam, Kim Russo, Jim Neff, Mike Bodin, Phil Werndli, Jackie Werndli, G.W. “Casey” Jones, Bob Burns, Sue Ross, Kingsley Ross, Sally Marcinek, Becky DeVillier, Eric Eiscle, Brian Davidson, Brian Schaefer, Glenn and Eddie Tuttle, Scott Berg, Ken Chumley, Jay Campbell, Dave Skolnick, Wally Moran, Mike Ahart, Mark Doyle. These, and so many others in the extended online community, are true Salt Water Heroes.

Remember, of course, that this annual process begins again tomorrow. There is an ongoing need to work through some of the problems raised by proponents of anchoring legislation. We will need to formulate a position on this and come to a reasonably amicable resolution so that this issue does not continue to a recurring threat. We are confident that we can do this in a way that does not eliminate the freedom to anchor throughout Florida’s coast. There will be a host of workshops held this summer and we will want our boating community to actively participate through their visible attendance. Also, we will need to continue building our political strength and this will require that we provide some support for our growing list of legislative champions. If you have not donated to the Fund Me drive, now is the time to help us pay the bills for this effort.

It is safe to celebrate. To all those captains and sailors at anchor in Florida today (or contemplating it), raise a glass to toast Maritime Freedom!

  • Comment submitted by ChrisW - Thu, Apr 30th

    It seems to me celebration is uncalled for when all that has happened is the dialog has been placed on hold. The problem has not been solved. This will just diminish the momentum the cruising community was building and we will be facing deja vu all over again.

  • Comment submitted by Glen Moore - Thu, Apr 30th

    "Won" is too strong a term to be used to describe the current situation for the anchoring restriction bill in the Florida House. Only because the Florida legislature is even more disfunctional than usual caused the bill to die, along with 100s of others, sitting on the table awaiting action. This is only a postponement. It will be back next year. Our efforts should only become more organized to be ready for the 2016 legislative session.

  • Comment submitted by Wally Moran - Thu, Apr 30th

    Chris, as much as I agree with what you say, let's take a short pause and celebrate this small victory. A lot of people put a huge amount of effort into making this happen. More importantly however, he cruising community has discovered how powerful it can be. This bodes well for the future. In the past several weeks, I have seen new leaders come forth, and many more people both recognize and respond to the urgency of the situation. More than ever before, we are prepared to take this fight all the way to the finish.

  • Comment submitted by ChrisW - Sat, May 2nd

    Wally, I respectfully disagree. I have been working with legislative affairs through out my careers. When a Bill is reported out of committee 6-0 that tells me no one convinced anyone to put political capital on the line, and that no one was successful in illuminating the fundamental flaw in the bill. The committee punted, and the house simply didn't get a chance to. The argument may have been more articulate this time, I will give you that, but there is scant evidence it was more suasive. A better showing? Yes a victory of any sort? I think not.

  • Comment submitted by Joe Donnaway - Tue, May 5th

    We are anchored tonight in what was a pretty good anchorage last year. Longboat Key, behind Moores Stone Crab Restaurant. Now there are a dozen unoccupied derelict or semi-derelict boats, one aground at 45 degrees. Another marine squatters camp! We had intended to use the Bradenton Beach anchorage, but decided against after finding dozens of permanent boats on decrepit ground tackle. Anchoring rights victory? I think not. FL needs anchoring regulations!

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