UPDATE: March 25, 2:00PM EDT: Earlier this morning BoatUS sent the following media alert that includes a discussion of Florida House Committee Bill HWSS 15-06. This bill has been updated by the House and is now named House Derelict Vessel Bill and known as HB 7123. For your reference, this change has been annotated in the copy below and BoatUS continues to urge recreational boaters have their voice heard on this important issue.
The 2015 Florida legislative session is underway, and the regulation of boat anchoring and how to take care of derelict boats remain hot topics in both the Florida Senate and House. Each are taking very different approaches that could affect how Florida boat owners as well as visiting cruisers use their boats in state waters:
FL Senate Bill 1548, introduced by Senator Charles Dean (District 5), would impose a substantial statewide restriction on overnight anchoring within 200 feet of the high water mark of residential property. Additionally, it would prohibit statewide anchoring or mooring a vessel that is incapable of moving under its own power, or exhibits other specific characteristics like being partially sunken, demonstrating it is at-risk of becoming derelict.
Over the last decade, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has understood that derelict boats in Florida have muddied the waters with regard to rational conversations about anchoring. As a result, BoatUS wholeheartedly supports any effort to reduce the state’s derelict vessel population. However, BoatUS is very concerned over the chilling effect that a significant, statewide anchoring restriction could have.
In the Florida House, Derelict Vessel Bill HB 7123 introduced by Representative Holly Raschein (District 120) deals with derelict vessels without changing current anchoring law. The bill creates an “at risk” category of boats and gives local governments new tools to take care of these boats. Because local governments have sought anchoring restrictions to address problems with derelicts, BoatUS believes that Derelict Vessel Bill HB 7123 is a common sense step in providing new tools to deter vessels from becoming derelict in the first place.
TWO ACTIONS NEEDED NOW:
1. Because of its onerous 200 foot statewide anchoring restriction, BoatUS urges boaters to request that their Florida State Senator reject SB 1548 by emailing them at: http://goo.gl/TUscmr
Read Senate Bill 1548 at: http://goo.gl/lBnzeP.
2. Because of its common sense approach to derelict vessel issue, BoatUS urges boaters to voice their support of Derelict Vessel Bill HB 7123 by emailing their FL Representative at: http://goo.gl/wDZKUO
Read Committee Bill HWSS 15-06 at: http://goo.gl/XYp6Ip.
Boat Owners Association of The United States remains actively engaged with state lawmakers to ensure that active, responsible boaters will continue to enjoy the Sunshine State. BoatUS is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half million members with government representation, fighting against unfair federal taxes, fees and regulations that single out boat owners, and keeps boaters safe. BoatUS is also non-partisan. Additional information on Florida anchoring is at: BoatUS.com/gov/floridaanchoring.asp.