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Anchoring Restrictions Proposed from MD to FL
Roundup of recent anchoring restrictions by Waterway Guide

Posted Monday, June 27, 2011

Anchoring Restrictions Proposed from MD to FL
Sign posted on the seaplane channel at Dinner Key Marina basin, in Coconut Grove, Miami, FL.

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With the summer cruising season in full swing, cities from Maryland to Florida are considering or in the process of implementing restrictions on anchoring, both for transient and local boats. In many cases, these restrictions are in response to problems directly caused by derelict boats in the harbors. However, most will affect cruisers as well as locals. Here's a rundown of the various proposals under consideration and in the implementation process, plus links you can click for additional information on each:

• Annapolis, MD — Annapolis officials, faced with a petition from Mears Marina asking that they restrict anchoring in the area adjacent to the marina on Back Creek, will hold a hearing June 28 to gather public input on the proposal. The proposed restrictions would affect only a small portion of Back Creek. However, Annapolis Harbormaster J.P. "Flip" Walters tells Waterway Guide that if a no-anchoring zone is approved off Mears Marina, other marina owners on Back Creek are likely to ask for similar restrictions near their own facilities. • Carolina Beach, NC — Carolina Beach (Atlantic ICW Mile 295) is moving ahead with plans to install a field of 10 moorings in Myrtle Grove Sound directly off of town in an area that has fallen out of favor for anchoring due to poor holding. Town officials say they hope the moorings, plus a new dinghy landing, will encourage cruisers and other boaters to visit Carolina Beach and will help to revitalize the town's waterfront. The moorings should be in place by this fall.

• St. Augustine, FL —St. Augustine will continue to gather public feedback on its proposed anchoring restrictions at a workshop scheduled for June 30. St. Augustine city officials continue to mull over potential anchoring restrictions outside of the mooring fields installed earlier this year around the Bridge of Lions and in Salt Run. The city's proposed 10-day limit on anchoring generated some controversy at a public workshop in late May, with cruiser representatives arguing that anchoring should be allowed for much longer than 10 days at a stretch.

• Stuart/Jensen Beach, FL — Stuart has just been accepted into the pilot Florida program that allows municipalities to place moorings and regulate anchoring, but has not yet formulated plans for its participation in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission-sponsored pilot. Meanwhile, Martin County has proposed a $1 million mooring field with 51 moorings that would be located in a popular anchorage located in the Indian River Lagoon south of the Jensen Beach Causeway and east of Indian River Drive at Intracoastal Mile 982.

The numerous recent notices concerning restrictions on anchorages is at once alarming while at the same time a solution. The issue looking for a solution is that some anchorages may, over time, become a home for derelict boats and misfits if there are no controls.

Anyone who cruised through the Keys in years past may remember the uncomfortable situation that existed at Boot Key Harbour anchorage prior to its cleanup and the placement of moorings by the city of Marathon. Now, instead of dozens of rag-tag and often abandoned boats and the issues that came with them, there is a well organized mooring field full of boats that any of us would be happy to live alongside. The inhabitants of the mooring field now contribute to the Marathon community rather than put a strain on it. For a modest mooring fee the City provides a secure mooring, pump-out service, dinghy dockage, shoreside facilities with laundry, bike rakes, trash collection and other services.

The anchorages being considered for mooring fields are generally located in areas popular with transient cruisers which happen to also be population centers. It should come as no surprise that areas of dense population have more restrictive policies regarding … well, just about everything. We generally accept this as the price of convenience and accessibility.

If anchoring restrictions were to spread to remote and unpopulated areas we would have serious concerns, and unfortunately. once started, those in control of restrictive government policies often have a hard time knowing where to stop. However, as long as restrictions on anchoring are limited to populated areas with a high concentration of boaters, we believe a mooring field with its amenities can offer advantages over an anchorage. Our responsibility as cruisers is to be involved in the regulation setting process to keep it from getting out of hand.

Jack Dozier Publisher
Waterway Guide/ Skipper Bob References

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