Mariners' BARR on Facebook has an interesting story regarding anchoring in Boca Grande. It seems the owner of the Gasparilla Inn and the Pink Elephant Restaurant is not only not cruiser friendly, he insists that the bottom land is private. The police have been out there to shoo those anchoring away, but it appears that the police response depends on which officer is running the show. Some have indicated that there is no problem with anchoring, but according to a posting at BARR, Lt. Brown of the Sherrif's office stated, “As long as vessels were in compliance with State and Federal regulations, his deputies would not force anyone to leave, as ownership of the bottom lands was undecided.”
In another incident brought up on BARR, apparently, a local Captain was verbally berated by a sherrif's officer when he brought up the subject of anchoring in Boca Grande and that Florida state law 327.60 made any action to enforce and/or restrict anchoring by the sherrif's office illegal.
Apparently, the FWC has been notified of the situation and it is being looked into.
The greater issue is what I'm concerned about: what will happen in 2014 when some of the Pilot Program laws are enacted statewide? The 300 foot ruling for example. What if you cannot anchor within 300 feet of any marine infrastructure? What will that do to your favourite anchorages? In many cases, it will either eliminate them, or restrict them so severely, they'll be unusable.
We need to fight this unconscionable theft of our historical right to anchor in Florida. If you haven't as yet done so, contact Captain Tom Shipp of the FWC at firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know your opinion on this. Be sure to copy Florida Anchoring Issues at Florida Anchoring Issues.
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