Page 12

FROM THE HELM

STEVE MORRELL,

EDITOR

An Anchoring Rights Lobbyist in Florida?

J

ust mention the word lobbyist and it brings up all sorts of negative prejudices. Why? Because everyone thinks our lobbyists buy government favors. Well—they do. After all, if spending money on lobbying the government didn’t pay off, no one would be doing it. But not all lobbying is equal. Lobbying is trying to get the government to pass laws that protect or promote the interests of the people, and what’s wrong with that? Basically, two groups are lobbyists. The largest group is for profit entities, which is basically large corporations. In 2015, reported lobbying expenditures at the Federal level were about $2.6 billion. In this instance, it’s the interests of corporations being promoted. The second group that lobbies government is publicinterest groups and unions, which spent about 1/34 what corporations spent in 2015. Similar proportions of money spent on lobbying occurs at the state level. Although it’s debatable whether corporate lobbying fairly promotes the public interest, there is little doubt that public-interest lobbying does. For the last 15 years, anchoring rights in Florida has become a hot topic of interest by boaters as they argue that their rights are slowly being taken away by the state marine patrol, local marine police and local governments. Back in the early 80s, I cruised SE Florida waters and never saw or heard of any harassment or restrictions to anchor. When I returned in the early 2000s and purchased SOUTHWINDS, I watched as complaints grew about anchoring restrictions and being stopped and inspected by the water police—both state and local. It was before social media took over, and we received hundreds of letters complaining and looking for help to control not only the police but local communities who wanted to limit or eliminate anchoring in areas where

boaters have anchored for decades—all in the belief that anchoring and cruising rights in navigable waterways were sacrosanct, age-old rights of boaters. Cries for pressuring the courts and the state government to protect those rights grew. But what happened? The opposite. While a few court cases were won protecting rights, local communities passed laws and then the Florida Legislature began passing laws to help them. Why? Because wealthy waterfront homeowners didn’t like boaters anchoring in places where boaters were anchoring—even it boaters had been doing so long before those homes were there. Who was lobbying the state legislators? Not the landowners—at least not directly—but the local governments where they lived were, along with the local state legislators representing those landowners—because they all answered to those who pay the most taxes. And most cruisers don’t pay any local taxes—outside of the taxes they pay every time they purchase something. And many of those boaters come from out of state. So, who is going to promote the rights of the boaters? BoatUS helped tremendously, but still boaters were losing. Maybe they needed a lobbyist in Tallahassee. Along comes the America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association (AGLCA), the Marine Trawler Owners Association (MTOA) and the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA). They and their members got together, found a lobbyist and started a movement to pay the lobbyist to promote anchoring rights. And that brings us to today. A fund has been setup by these groups to get individual contributions from anyone interested to fund a lobbyist to promote anchoring rights in Florida. At last, someone has done something that can really have an effect (I hope). Read more about the fund and where to contribute on page 36.

Contribute to Southwinds – Articles and Photos Wanted Sailing Experiences: Stories and photos about experiences in places you’ve cruised; anchorages, marinas, or passages made throughout the Southern waters, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Boat Reviews: Review your boat. See the ad on page 43 on reviewing your boat Charter Stories: Have an interesting Charter story? In our Southern waters, or perhaps in the Bahamas or the Caribbean? Write About Your Yacht Club or Sailing Association: Tell us about your club, its history, facilities, major events, etc. Youth Sailing: Write about a local youth sailing organization or sailing camp Bahamas and the Caribbean: Trips, experiences, passages, anchorages, provisioning and other stories of interest.

Our Waterways: Information about the waters we sail in: disappearing marinas, boatyards and slips; mooring fields, anchoring rights, waterway access, etc. Maintenance and Technical Articles: Repairs, emergency repairs, modifications, additions, etc. Individuals in the Sailing Industry: Interesting stories about the world of sailors out there, young, old, and some that are no longer with us but have contributed to the sport or were just true lovers of sailing. Fun and Unusual Stories: Got an interesting story? Unusual, funny, tearjerkers, learning experiences, etc. Cover Photos: SOUTHWINDS is always looking for nice cover shots, which are always paid for. They need to be a high-resolution vertical shot, but we sometimes crop horizontal photos for vertical use.

For more information, to discuss ideas, payment and requirements, contact editor@southwindsmagazine.com. Go to www.southwindsmagazine.com, and click on Writer/Photo Guidelines. 10

March 2017

SOUTHWINDS

www.southwindsmagazine.com

Southwinds March 2017  

A free, printed sailing magazine reporting on sailing in the southeast U.S: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missi...

Southwinds March 2017  

A free, printed sailing magazine reporting on sailing in the southeast U.S: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missi...