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OUR WATERWAYS tion expressly forbidding it. south of it, which also enforces It seems that those at anchor an illegal anchoring bylaw by who object to being told to move evicting boaters from South on are told (and not always Lake) so special that they can courteously either, according to flaunt the law? Does being the some reports) by the attending self-proclaimed yachting capiofficer that they can tell their tale tal of the world give them speto a judge—a tactic which cial privileges? Is it the preponsilences most critics, whose goal derance (and influence) of the is wintering in the islands, not mega rich living on the waterbeating into heavy legal seas in ways who object to the sight of some courtroom. any boat but their own? In my discussion with the Neither, actually. It’s simply The anchorage at the Vinoy Basin in downtown St. Petersburg. marine officer (who was clearly that no one has challenged expressing the company line), he was quite definite that either of these communities in court on the illegality of their boaters at anchor for an extended period would be dealt with, actions. Given the legal outcomes in Naples and Stuart, and that, in his opinion, this was legal, despite what the state given the Supreme Court rulings regarding the “exercise of plainly says in 327.60. He didn’t wish to discuss the situation rights of navigation” vis-a-vis anchoring, Fort Lauderdale in Naples, where a local judge threw out, with great gusto and doesn’t stand a prayer of winning should someone challenge to the exuberant cheers of boaters, that city’s anchoring bylaw. their Section 145 regulation limiting anchoring to 24 hours. That decision has been appealed, for the second time, after It’s about time someone challenged the status quo in procedural issues scotched the city’s first appeal. Fort Lauderdale in my opinion. Quite frankly, I believe that Looking around Florida, we find that Stuart has ceased city officials and politicians who deliberately and flagrantly enforcing its anchoring bylaw after a local boater challenged violate state law in this manner need to face some court time it. In fact, Stuart dropped its case before trial, apologized to themselves. We’re often told that ignorance of the law is no the defendant and paid his legal fees (to a certain limited excuse. If that’s the case, then what excuse is being used by extent), in the full knowledge that its anchoring ordinances the officials of Fort Lauderdale to justify their illegal actions? were illegal. In Melbourne, after an article I wrote on the issue was Brevard County to Acquire published in Southwinds in 2007, the police ceased enforcing their anchoring bylaw, going so far as to inform cruisers, Waterfront for Public Access including acquaintances of mine who were anchored in Eau By Roy Laughlin Gallie, of this fact. What Melbourne city officials couldn’t know, but were fortunate in avoiding, was that a local group Brevard County is set to buy 2.75 acres of waterfront properof boaters were even then making plans to challenge the ty for public access. The property, located on the west shore city’s ordinance by courting a ticket, as was done in Naples. of the Indian River and on the north side of SR 520, is curSo what makes Fort Lauderdale (and Hollywood to the rently a “working waterfront.” It is a traditional fishermen’s landing and currently has a crab house on the property. In early April, Brevard County was awaiting state cabinet approval to purchase. That will begin a process of propPROTECT BOATERS’ RIGHTS…Join erty appraisals and contract drafting and review. Ernest Brown, director of Brevard County’s Natural Resource Management Office, said the purchase could be completed (FOWS) by the end of the year. Some of the purchase money will come from the 2008 • Protect ancient & established boaters’ rights Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Florida Forever Grant • Ensure access to Florida waterways Program. These funds are designated for waterfront redevel• Protect anchoring rights in waterways • Promote responsible anchoring/mooring and boater recreation opment to foster fisheries and other traditional commercial waterfront activities. The grant funding is not contingent in LEARN ABOUT AND ENDORSE OR OPPOSE exclusive use, however. Public access the site provides will LEGISLATION CONCERNING BOATERS’ RIGHTS give cruisers on the Intracoastal Waterway a convenient and sheltered shore landing close to one good crab house and the JOIN US NOW – $20/YEAR Merritt Island commercial district that includes a West Marine store, grocery stores, restaurants and other stores Learn about current issues, within a mile, most well within that distance. pending legislation, existing laws and join at: This purchase to preserve public access is notable, because it is the first move by local governments to provide, in central Brevard County, new public access to the FOWS is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization. Intracoastal Waterway, stemming—at least in a small way— 100% of membership fees go to support the organization’s mission. the opposite trend toward privatization and Additional donations are welcomed and appreciated.



May 2009


Southwinds May 2009

Southwinds May 2009