Friday, November 18, 2011

St. Augustine 10 day limit defeated

The FWC met today in Key Largo FL, in part to review the proposed St. Augustine ordinances. They denied the city's wish for a 10 day anchoring limit, upping it to 30 days. This is very much a pyrrhic victory - the FWC did not amend any of the other serious issues pointed out by Boat US and myself, the hold harmless clause on boaters' insurance when renting a mooring, or the privacy and other issues Boat US noted in its presentation. The failure to address the insurance issue ensures that it will get no attention in the other four pilot program cities and we're now forced to live with it.
However, the purpose of this post is to point out the following consideration for all to see.

I believe that what is happening is that the five cities of the Pilot Program wish to pass two or three ordinances in particular, ordinances that will give Florida municipalities the ability to control where we anchor in such a way as to placate their largest source of anchoring complaints - waterfront homeowners who object to boaters anchoring near their homes.
I strongly believe that one of those is the 300 foot setoff, which would effectively eliminate anchoring in almost all of Florida and most certainly 90% of east Florida - and end anyone anchoring too close to 100% of the shoreside mansions that now object to our presence. Should this ordinance be permitted by the FWC, and brought into law in 2014 for all of Florida, it will eliminate anchoring in almost every conceivable location in Florida.
It's an old tactic - throw out a few unimportant decoys to attract your opponents' attention and, while they're busy celerbrating a win over a throwaway issue, slide in the ones you really want.
Consider this - if you can't anchor anywhere suitable because of a 300 foot limit, does it really matter how long you can anchor for? Not really, because you simply won't anchor, you'll move on. Does that sound like what communities such as Naples, or Miami Beach, want? Of course it does.
The ten day anchoring limit never had a chance of being upheld. If the FWC hadn't trashed it, someone would have challenged it in court in a heartbeat - and won. The cities know this. And they don't care - they want to make anchoring outside of a mooring field so onerous with two or three specific rules that boaters will take the easy route and move onto a ball. Ten days would have caused a fight - thirty days is a compromise we can all live with and they know that.
Now, we have Charmaine Smith Ladd of BARR (which I had a hand in founding until we realized we couldn't work together and parted ways) crowing about a phenomenal win. Except it isn't, and people shouldn't be fooled into thinking it is. A phenomenal win will be stopping the 300 foot ruling in Stuart, and regaining anchoring rights in Manatee Pocket.
Note the process by which Manatee Pocket came to pass. At the first public meeting, which was very well attended, inclusion of MP was not an issue. It was brought into the program by local politicians at the second, poorly attended meeting, where objections and public scrutiny were muted. Maps were not available at either public meeting to see, visually, just what areas were affected by the 300 foot rule. Thus, most people simply didn't realize, until this site made an issue of it, that Manatee Pocket was now off limits for anchoring.
Even Henry Morgan, the cruiser who has called for the St. Augustine boycott, was fooled into believing that the Stuart proposals were good for cruisers. BARR's Smith Ladd wrongly claimed (after misinterpreting a press release from Waterway Guide) that Stuart's coastal engineer could get changes made provided lots of emails protesting the Manatee Pocket inclusion were sent to her. Within just a few days, both Martin County and the City of Stuart approved the draft ordinances. Now our only recourse to get this changed appears to be the FWC.
The next meeting on the Stuart/Martin County proposals is Tuesday November 22.
In order to protest this outright theft of Manatee Pocket, write to the following individuals
Captain Tom Shipp, FWC –
City of Stuart/Martin County–
and also write to
Copy Florida Anchoring Issues at

Make very sure you outline your condemnation of what is happening and demand that the 300 foot anchoring setback not be allowed.
Be sure to 'like' and forward this  to your boating friends on Facebook (see FB link below) and in your email list. It's important, if we expect to retain our rights to anchor in Florida. 

The new St. Augustine ordinance is actually 30 consecutive days out of 45. This would appear to mean that one can anchor for 29 days, up anchor for a day, then return for another 29. Clearly, no one has thought of just how difficult it will be to enforce this rule, or get a conviction in court. Most certainly, no one has considered what the costs to St. Augustine of enforcing this rule will be.


  1. So wally.. would it not be correct to give credit to the real writer of this article instead of plagiarizing it...

  2. YOU did not have a hand in founding BARR that is a flat out lie Wally...

  3. I did give credit Little Bird - see the name at the bottom of the post? That's the author. I wrote it last night.
    I'm leaving your accusations of plagiarism up here because I want you to be fully discredited for your behaviour. I am quite annoyed with you following me around the internet making baseless accusations. FYI, the last person who harassed me in this manner got a visit from their local police about his behaviour. The moment I can prove who you are, instead of just a good guess, you'll be next. You need to grow up, your behaviour is that of a child throwing a tantrum.
    Also - you might ask Charmaine just who was responsible for the creation of BARR - it was John Kettlewell, Jay Bliss, myself and Charmaine. I have all the emails I need to prove it, but you might ask Charmaine about it - or John or Jay.