News & Events for Chesapeake Bay
New legislation would eliminate several popular Florida anchorages - UPDATE
Date Posted: 2016-01-04
Source: Florida House of Representatives
UPDATE: A Florida Senate Bill was also introduced, identical to House Bill 1051, banning overnight anchoring in several popular anchorages including Middle River in Ft. Lauderdale, Sunset Lake in Miami Beach, between certain islands along the Venetian Causeway, and at Crab island in Destin. SB 1260 was introduced by Senator Wilton Simpson of New Port Richey, FL.
(Posted Dec. 30, 2015) A new bill introduced in the Florida State House of Representatives would ban overnight anchoring in several popular anchorages in Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, and Destin FL. House Bill 1051, to be entitled "An act relating to recreational boating zones," was filed by Rep. Matt Caldwell of North Fort Myers FL, who chairs the State Affairs Committee which held a anchoring restrictions workshop in Oct. 2015.
According to the bill text, "a person may not anchor or moor a vessel at any time between the hours from one-half hour after sunset to one-half ï¿¼ï¿¼ï¿¼ï¿¼hour before sunrise in the following recreational boating zones:
- The section of Middle River lying between Northeast 21st Court and the Intracoastal Waterway in Broward County. (Middle River is one of the very few viable anchorages for cruising-sized boats in the Fort Lauderdale area. At the public workshop (held by the State Affairs Committee of the Florida House of Representatives on October 8, 2015), Rep. George Moraitis, Jr. of Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale) stated that he planned to introduce a bill that would declare Middle River a "Water Recreation Area" where anchoring is prohibited. He said that he has constituents who complain that water skiers have no room due to the amount of boats anchored there – see related WaterwayGuide.com article: Anchoring setbacks and time limits discussed at Florida House.)
- Sunset Lake in Miami-Dade County. (This Miami Beach anchorage is popular for cruisers waiting for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas, and in the past afforded easy access to Miami Beach for services and provisioning. It is adjacent to the residence of one of the most vocal advocates of anchoring bans in Miami Beach, who has anchored 30 small sailboats in Sunset Lake behind his house to restrict others from the ability to anchor there – see related WaterwayGuide.com article noted above. The City of Miami Beach recently passed an amendment to an ordinance which now makes it unlawful to tie a dinghy to the canal wall to visit the city, leaving only limited dinghy access – see related WaterwayGuide.com article: Miami Beach cracks down on dinghy access).
- The sections of Biscayne Bay in Miami-Dade County lying between Rivo Alto Island and Di Lido Island, San Marino Island and San Marco Island, and San Marco Island and Biscayne Island. (This is another popular anchorage area for cruisers, and one section is adjacent to the residence of another vocal advocate of anchoring bans. These islands are connected by low causeways, and the anchorage areas are in no way well-suited for water-skiing – see related WaterwayGuide.com article noted above.)
- Crab Island in Choctawhatchee Bay at the East Pass in Okaloosa County. (This is a popular party spot in Destin Harbor. In October 2015, Okaloosa County had requested to establish a vessel exclusion zone consisting of a 40 foot wide corridor through the area "to allow unobstructed access by emergency vehicles and vessels to provide services to protect the public," according to a notice from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) – see related WaterwayGuide.com article: Vessel exclusion zone ordinance requested for Destin FL party spot.)
The bill provides that "any person cited for a violation of any provision of this subsection shall be deemed to be charged with a noncriminal infraction, shall be cited for such an infraction, and shall be cited to appear before the county court. The civil penalty for any such infraction is $50, except as otherwise provided in this section. Any person who fails to appear or otherwise properly respond to a uniform boating citation shall, in addition to the charge relating to the violation of the boating laws of this state, be charged with the offense of failing to respond to such citation and, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. A written warning to this effect shall be provided at the time such uniform boating citation is issued."
If enacted, the provisions would take effect July 1, 2016.