Boycott St. Augustine

posted by Henry Morgan on Mariners BARR, reprinted with permission

Although we haven't yet heard whether or not the FWC will approve St. Augustine's 10 day anchoring limit, I believe it is time to punish them for even proposing it and make an example of them for the other Pilot Program cities.

If every cruiser migrating south this year were to refuse to use the moorings and as they pass St. Augustine they call the city marina on the radio to tell them why, it would send a strong message. Tell them that their city council is hostile to cruisers and even though you have enjoyed their city in the past and spent money there, this year you will spend your money in places that are more cruiser friendly.

Google the St. Augustine Chamber of Commerce (St. Johns County Chamber) and click on "Contact Us" to send them a message that you will not be supporting their businesses this year due to the hostile attitude by the city council to cruisers (tourists who arrive by boat instead of car). Let them know that the word is spreading among the hundreds of boats migrating south that St. Augustine is hostile to them and that they will be boycotting it this year. Let them know that the migrating boats have lots of baby boomers aboard with money to spend even in this poor economy but that they will be spending their money elsewhere this year. Everyone always says "It's all about the money." Well, let's let our money talk!

Spread the word to all the cruisers you know and all those you meet as you head south. The mooring field needs to be mostly empty and losing money to send them the message. I am well aware that there are few good anchoring locations just north and south of St. Augustine. So anchor for a night, enjoy an evening aboard, keep your money in your wallet, and call the city marina as you pass to tell them why you are skipping St. Augustine this year. Then come one down here further south and enjoy Florida which is still a great cruising ground and a great state!

Perhaps I can add to this by noting a remark that was made and noted in the minutes of the Boating Advisory Council regarding St. Augustine, Aug. 17, 2011 -

          "We are disappointed that St. Augustine hasn’t wanted to abide by the issues that we were 
            trying to solve. 
            They have gone back to the way things were the way before we passed the bill. "

That would be bill 327.60, which removed the ability of municipalities to legislate anchoring. In other words, St. Augustine is, even in the opinion of those mandated with implementing the Pilot Program, not playing the game fairly.
If you want to have an even more powerful impact, then send your remarks to the following individuals:

Joseph L. Boles - Mayor/Commissioner
Mailing address: 19 Riberia St., St. Augustine 32084
Business phone: 904.824.4278

Kirk Wendland
St. Augustine Chamber of Commerce Exec Director -

Captain Tom Shipp, FWC -

Marg Podlitch, VP Government Affairs, Boat US - 

AND - if you are going to boycott St. Augustine, leave a comment here telling us your thoughts.

NOTE - I will NOT be staying at St. Augustine on my trip south this year, in support of this boycott, unless St. Augustine reverses its position on anchoring and time limits.


  1. This StAugustine Port Waterway and Beach Commissioner and tax-paying resident of StA offers:
    1. For whatever reasons, City has never been before the Port to present the Pilot Program Ordinances. City DID, at our last Port meeting, ask for Port endorsement of the PPO's. Vote was 3-2 in favor. The vote might have been different had the Ordinances been presented in text form, and especially if Port Board had been sent copies to review prior to Port meeting.
    2. The PPO's are not a done deal. Calling for a boycott is premature. Hope beateth eternal....
    3. The thrust of the PPO's is reducing anchoring opportunities: law enforcement will be reduced to (electronic?) measuring on the water. In a court, they'll have to provide calibration documentation. Why any municipality would want to subject its boating public AND its law enforcement officers to that circus is incomprehensible. FL Statute covers it: No vessel shall a manner which shall unreasonably or unnecessarily constitute a nav hazard.
    Jay Bliss

  2. I agree that St. Augustine is being absurdly hard or middle and working class boaters with their increasing anchoring regulations and should therefore be boycotted by cruisers, but there is no particular need to boycott the entire area as anchoring is still permitted on either side of the city, I suggest anchoring either near the Usina county boat ramp about 3 miles North of the city on the East side of the waterway, or near another boat ramp about 2 miles South of the city on the West side of the waterway, near the hospital. Usina has few shops or sevices in the immediate area so the ramp on the South side might be better for shopping. I think that when the City Council sees the cruising activity pick up just outside the city line and patronize the businesses that are just outside the city, that they will get the message in a hurry.
    Moultrie Creek, a bit further South of the city, has a third boat ramp and is navigable by dingy all the way to the route 1 bridge, where one can also land a dingy and shop well beyond city jurisdiction. The route 1 shops thin out a bit as far south as Moultrie, but there are a few.
    -Alan Ditmore

  3. Alan: Can you give us some ICW markers to locate these anchorages, or maybe a lat/long? Also, based on the city limits and from what I read, it is still legal to anchor just south or north of the Vilano Beach Bridge, as long as you stay out of the various marked channels. The city line is near the west end of the bridge and extends north-south approx. to the western shore of Salt Run. There is also good anchorage in the deep water just south of St. Augustine, south of the bridge, and south of flasher #18. A promising development may be the new Publix supermarket going up near the eastern end of the Vilano bridge, which may be accessible from a public dock near the public Vilano Beach pier. I haven't confirmed how good this access is.

  4. Also, when city council sees most cruisers anchoring outside the city line while their mooring balls mostly sit empty, they will have no choice but to discount their mooring ball rentals to fill them. As it stands, the vast majority of city moorings are going to waste and they will continue to do sountil the city offers them at affordable prices. There is no way the city can rcouptheir investment in moorings etc. but they can still cut prices enough to reduce their losses.

  5. I inquired about mooring permits and recieved a map indicating that the city owns the bottom of the waterway somewhat beyond the city limits, and I don't know which line they will use for their anchoring jurisdiction. The Northern city line runs about from the West end of the inlet jetty to the East end of the Vilano Boat Ramp jetty, but the map I recieved says the city owns the bottom of the waterway almost to the North end of Comachee Island near Fort Mose Creek, But at least the Vilano Beach Publix won't be paying city property tax.
    You mighthave to teach me how to find waterway marks on the computer, but according to Yahoo Maps, I think Usina Ramp is near 29.949029&lon=-81.310114 , Vilano landing and Sea Love Marina are near lat=29.916971&lon=-81.299192 , The south side ramp near the Hospital is near here: lat=29.855205&lon=-81.312174 , and Moultrie Creek is here: lat=29.829864&lon=-81.308623 . As I wrote, I don't know if the anchoring enforcement will include Sea Love Marina and the South side ramp or not. The mooring permit map I saw had city bottom ownership extending to near here: lat=29.934665&lon=-81.310157 Which they call Robinson Creek which has Fort Mose.

  6. This looks useful. Looks like what I'm calling Southside is actually the Doug Crane Boat ramp, and the Shore Drive Boat Ramp is on Moultrie Creek. The Doug Crane Ramp is closest to the big box stores.

  7. This city limit map should be able to tell you pretty much which stores to boycott for paying city taxes, though Nix Boat Yard, on the lower Sebastian, remains unlear. I have always been impressed with the ability of that area to give middle class cruisers access to big box stores, most of which are outside the city. Oh, and I disagree with Bliss about waiting for an ordinance to pass before initiating a boycott, proposing the law is bad enough and it certainly is under official consideration, that is plenty of reason in itself.

  8. My opinion is that the mooring field issues mask a more serious problem facing boaters in this area. The local city govt't is behaving like a fiefdom still surrounded by moat. They seem to care less whether the surrounding area merchants and not just historical district might benefit from boater revenue. I am advocating a complete boycott of SA. I just spent thousands on a recent refit, and will not return. There are plenty of fine folks everywhere, and I choose to throw my money there. You can read my further comments on the Cruisers Internet guide.

  9. Carol: Give us a URL for the "Cruisers Internet Guide." Can't find it.

  10. John the site is:

    The Salty Southeast Cruisers Net, and go to Last Chance for St Augustine Anchorage, and click for Charmaine'll see a comment by my husband Steve

  11. Thanks Carol, I know Claiborne's site well and you may notice some comments from me over there from time to time.

  12. Alan: Take a look here at chart 11485 of the area: I think the Usina ramp may be north of the ramp noted opposite lighted marker 54, which I think is a county ramp on Boating Club Rd. The Sea Love Marina is the 3 on the chart just north of the east end of the Vilano Bridge, I think. Thanks for the info. I will have to investigate further.

  13. I went there and the Doug Crane Ramp, on the South Side, and near the big box stores outside the city line, is next to marker #16, not 18, and is marked by a speed limit sign. Also, Sea Love Marina changed it's name to "Inlet Marina" and is also just outside the city on the Northeast side. Usina Ramp is between marks "51" and "52". The ramp on the chart is one of two that are next to each other. One of these belongs to the private boat club and I don't know if the other is public or not. Also, if one has enough money to rent a slip, but are still interested in the boycott, the Comachee Island Marina, with it's upscale shops, are also outside the city. It is just North of the West end of Vilano Bridge. Also, the shore between the Inlet Marina and the county pier looks suitable for landing dingys just outside the city. The West end of the 312 Bridge would be an excellent area to land a dingy and walk to the big box stores, but the shore there is muddy and marshy. Also, what I called "Nix" marina, on the lower Sebastian River, may have changed it's name to "Cat's Paw Marine." I am not sure if these marinas pay city taxes or not as they appear to be right on the city line, but they are very near the big box stores just outside the city. Fish Island Marina, just North of the east end of the 312 Bridge, also appears to be just outside the city to the Southeast, but it is farther from shopping which is mostly accross the bridge. The 312 Bridge actually has a ladder up from the bridge pilings, but I don't know if it is legal for public use.

  14. I went there and talked to the staff and the "Cat's Paw Marina", which has a big sign on the Sebastian River, is just inside the city line, but the "Intercoastal Marina" which, counterintuitively, is the next dock North, is outside the city line. Both are very close to K-Mart and Home Depot. Unfortunately Home Depot appears to be inside the city, as is West Marine, but K-mart and Sears etc. appear to be outside the city.

  15. The proposed anchoring ordinance seems to be referencing the "city boundaries" and not the waterway bottom that seems to be owned by the city but outside the city boundaries, so this would be the applicable map, both for unregulated anchoring and for businesses to boycott. That is with the exception of Cat's Paw Marina on the Sebastian river, which looks on the map to be outside the city line, but the staff says they are inside the city.

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  18. Cannot disagree with excluding Sailor's Exchange from the boycott - I'll try to get in touch with them about this and see if I can post some information touching on their views on the subject.

  19. I just posted here in an effort at coalition building, with a link back here in my post.!/OccupyStAugustine?sk=wall

  20. There is another used marine gear shop at Oyster River in St. Aug., and very unfortunately, I don't know of any used marine shops outside the city but still in the area, especially any that are walkable to the water. The area sorely needs some. The cheapest marine gear shop outside the city that I know of is the boating section of Wal-Mart (mark 16), which is surprisingly good for a variety store department.

  21. I confirmed Fish Island Marina is outside the city, to the Southeast, and the owner opposes the anchoring regs.

  22. I am no longer clear on Inlet Marina being outside the boycott area because the owner told me he pays the city for the seabed under his dock, the same may be true for Comachee, Fish Island, and Intracoastal Marinas as well, as they are all just outside the city line but apperantly not competely outside the city's ability to charge fees.

  23. This statement that was posted by "A" on October 29, 2011 at 4:25 PM is false:

    "Still the pirate event of the year was when the Black Raven, pirate tour boat "accidently" ran over an anchorage regulation sign."

    Black Raven has never been involved in such incident and I consider such statement as a pure slander.

    On the other hand, the schooner that visited St. Augustine last winter, did run over a marker just outside the City Marina. That became a first page store in the local news paper.

    Gunnar Hedqwist
    Black Raven

  24. Based on Voyager's comments, the post in question has been removed - people do make mistakes and I'm sure no slander was intended.
    Please people, when you post, be sure of your facts so that you do not inadvertently harm someone.
    Blog admin

  25. My source was a Port Authority board member, but it was likely a careless mistake on his part. Too bad because the ship involved wasn't "pirate". I do believe it was in an E-mail newsletter he published.

  26. Still, it means the regulatory markers involved are, in themselves, hazards to navigation. I'm going to ad that in the area, speed is restricted to idle near the bridges, and the current is often above idle speed, so a vessel obeying the law can often make no headway against the tide.

  27. I went to the St. Augustine Pirate Gathering today with a sign on my shirt that read "END CITY ANCHORING REG.S" but I found the pirates were much more interested in dress-up than by advancing the pirate code or administering comunities more like pirate colonies. Also, there is one St. Augustine business that would be a real shame to boycott as it has been actively on our side at least under the previous ownership, and that is the Sailor's Exchange on West King St.

  28. A, thank you for the clarification and for reposting, much appreciated.
    As for the idle speed issue, it refers to actual boat speed, so if you have to rev her up to move, that's not illegal.

  29. Voyagers's comment above shows something I have run into several times. Local businesses would not be so defensive if they were not living in a climate of fear, fear of the city, and clearly a city that is creating so much fear in the local inhabitants needs to be avoided. Does voyager think the city actually has enough mistaken evidence to fine, sue or cost him anything whatsoever??? All such an error can possibly do is enhance his pirate credentials. It is the fear itself that not authentically pirate.

  30. My 12' dingy can't always beat the current at hull speed, and the sign still says "idle" not "hull" speed. Also, excessive regulatory signs are eyesores as well as hazards to navigation. Also, thank you Voyager for providing me with a copy of my original post by E-mail, so that I could repost the accurate portion. I take it the schooner that did hit the sign was in no way immitating piates?

  31. I really regret my failure to take my "END CITY ANCHORING REGS." sign to the Occupy St. Augustine rally last saturday. These landspeople have local votes and are very inclined to vote with us if they are aware of the issues. I did post our issue to their facebook wall and recieved positive feedback there. They are clearly the convincable and not either the choir or the opposition and so are the perfect target audience; much better than government comment sites.

  32. Here is a link to the story that produced my error. It was a privateer rather than a pirate that hit the anti-anchoring sign, and privateers were royalist lackeys anyway:
    Here is why communities should be run more like pirate colonies and so why pirate enthusiasts should do more than dress up:
    And Moultrie Creek, with it's access to route 1 and shopping south of the city, is at marker #26. Moultrie Creek has 3 potential dingy landings for cruisers. One is at the embankment of the route 1 bridge, quite a ways up. the other 2 are both at the Shore Drive Boat Ramp, not far up on the North side of the creek. The ramp has a small dock and a rather muddy landing, and although the other boat ramp docks are strictly time limited, this dock does not seem to have any time limit signs that I could see. There is also a second public landing about 200 yards to the East of the dock and ramp. It is about a half mile walk from any of these landings to the significant shopping on route 1.

  33. I've just launched a website, mostly geared toward cruisers passing through St. Augustine. We are live aboard our sailboats in the area. We have a page with specifics about free anchoring in the area that we intend to update frequently.
    take a look:

  34. The boat pictured at the top appears to be the Tequestra of Boston, which is now on a city mooring and thus definitevely NOT boycotting. Did you give up? Despite a city election challenge and recently lax enforcement during the election. I don't think any of the challengers have taken a position on the anchoring ordinance. Is the boat in the photo not the Tequestra?