FROM THE HELM
Florida’s Pilot Mooring Field Program Comes to an End In 2009, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) began setting up the pilot program for anchoring rules and mooring fields in Florida. The program’s deadline was January 1, 2014. Over the years, as more and more Florida communities began establishing mooring fields in waters they have jurisdiction over, controversy has arisen, because these communities have not been able to legally enforce any local rules over anchoring outside those mooring field boundaries. Plus— problems of derelict boats, pumping waste into the water and other issues surfaced over time. By Florida law, communities already have rights to control liveaboards who just stay in one community, but full-time cruisers are different and have rights. So the controversy on new laws did not affect liveaboards. The FWC wanted to resolve the situation, so in 2009, it began work on a pilot program that would help establish temporary rules that would protect boaters’ rights, local community rights, the environment and reduce the number of derelict boats. Their plan was to choose five Florida locations that would act as pilot programs for establishing anchoring rules. It would then work with the local communities to set up these rules and see how they worked out in achieving their goals. After these temporary rules and programs were in place for a few years, the FWC would report to the governor and Legislature, by Jan. 1, 2014, with recommendations based on what they learned. The temporary regulations at the five locations will stay in place until July 2014, at which time they will become void, unless and until the state makes a decision and adopts statewide rules. On Sept. 23, I received notice that the FWC was opening a two-week period that the public could post opinions on the anchoring rules online. The deadline to receive comments was Oct. 7. That means I heard about it on Sept. 23 and the two-week period was ending two weeks later. I was amazed
that they sent no early notice out and allowed only two weeks for feedback on a program that they started four years earlier. I went to the website and wrote that that was a ridiculously short period, and there was essentially no notice. I wrote that it appeared they didn’t really want the public’s feedback if that was all the time and notice they were giving. If they really wanted feedback, they should have given notice early enough that we could print it in the magazine for one or two months, and the time open to post opinions should be at least a month. What they offered, I thought, was a complete joke. By now, they should have presented their recommendations. Let’s hope they are fair. We’ll report about them as soon as we receive them.
New Online Southern Sailing Business Directory In the December issue, I printed an ad for our new directory, the Southeast U.S. Sailing and Cruising Business Directory. The ad said it would be launching in December. Because of my busy schedule, technical difficulties and beta testing, I decided to postpone the launch until January, which I am confident will happen. This new directory will list sailing- and cruising-related businesses in the Southeast Coast from North Carolina to Florida and west to Texas. Readers will be able to search by zip code, name, city, state, category (e.g., sail loft, marine store, boatyard, etc.) to find businesses—whether you live in an area or are cruising through.You can search by map and click on a city for all the businesses in that city and narrow it down to one category in that city. Free listings list businesses and their addresses. Expanded, paid-for listings include more information, including photos and Google maps. Paid-for listings start at $10/month (paid annually) and will allow small businesses to get their names out there at very low cost. Even after launching the site, we will still have a long way to go in improving it and getting it to the point that I envision will be a great service to all sailors and businesses serving them. Stay tuned for the launch date. www.southeastsailing.com.
NEW! Launching January 2014 SOUTHERN SAILING BUSINESS DIRECTORY
SOUTHEAST U.S. SAILING & CRUISING www.SoutheastSailing.com Area Covered
Some of the 40 categories listed
Find a business
North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Florida Alabama Mississippi Louisiana Texas
Marinas Boatyards Marine Stores Sails Canvas Rigging Yacht Brokers Surveyors Captain Services
Search for products and services by keyword, state, city, zip code, or product
Sailing Schools Diving Services Boat Services Dinghies/Life Rafts Mechanics Outboards & Repair Used Gear Stores Charter/Fractional Small Sailboat Rentals
List your business • Over 600 businesses listed - claim yours or list a new one • FREE LISTINGS with basic information • Expanded listings as low as $10/month (paid annually) • Standard & Premium listings include Google maps, & add logos, photos, products, services, etc.
Steve Morrell, SOUTHWINDS editor
941-795-8704 or email@example.com 8