New Florida Law Eases Anchorage Restrictions
WASHINGTON, DC – Boaters cruising Florida waters may find it easier to anchor for extended periods of time in a number of cities where local ordinances limited anchorage to as little as 48 hours.
On Wednesday, Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed H.B. 1423, a general legislative package for the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that includes a provision that prevents local Florida communities from forcing boaters to leave an anchorage unless the boat is a live-aboard vessel. The law specifically defines a live-aboard vessel as one that is used solely as a residence and not for navigation; one represented as a place of business; and/or one that is declared to be a domicile. The new law also prohibits local governments from regulating anchorage outside of established mooring fields unless the boat is a live-aboard vessel.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), BoatUS, the Marine Industries Association of South Florida and the Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association have advocated for clarification within the law since 2006, when Miami Beach set an anchorage limit of seven days within any 30 day period. Ft. Lauderdale, Daytona Beach, Gulfport, Marco Island and other coastal communities soon enacted similar restrictions, with the most restrictive law being a 24-hour window for boaters anchoring in Ft. Lauderdale. The Palm Beach County Commission is currently considering a prohibition on anchoring within its city limits, but tabled the issue last week. In Gulfport, boaters are only permitted to anchor in local waters for three days.
“This law will not only have a positive impact on boaters in the area, but generate revenue for local businesses by allowing boaters more freedom to anchor,” said David Dickerson, NMMA director of state government relations. “We are encouraged by this law’s effort to make Florida more boater-friendly than ever.”
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