Anchoring Restrictions Pass in South Florida
Florida Governor Scott signed into law House Bill 1051 Anchoring Limitation Areas which will restrict anchoring at five locations in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. The law will go into effect July 1, 2016.
Boating organizations Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) and Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) worked tirelessly against this bill. Despite the setback BoatUS says it’s looking forward to the results of the state’s on-going Pilot Anchoring program this fall. The Florida Mooring and Anchoring Pilot Program, created through legislation in 2009, allowed five localities to experiment with anchoring ordinances to find practical recommendations to develop a uniform statewide anchoring solution. A report is due to be submitted to the Florida legislature by January 2017.
Florida HB 1051 prohibits anchoring from a half hour after sunset until a half hour before sunrise on the Middle River N.E. 21st Court and the Intracoastal Waterway in Broward County; Sunset Lake in Miami-Dade County, and sections of Biscayne Bay in Miami-Dade County between Rivo Alto Island and Di Lido Island, San Marino Island and San Marco Island, and San Marco Island and Biscayne Island.
Several exceptions have been written into the law addressing vessel mechanical failure, weather conditions and commercial and recreational fishing.
Violators will be charged with a noncriminal infraction, cited for the infraction, and cited to appear before the county court. The civil penalty is $50, except as otherwise noted. Any person who fails to appear or properly respond to the citation will be charged with failing to respond to the citation and, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. A written warning to this effect will be provided at the time the citation is issued.
The bill contains a provision that will remove these anchoring restrictions once statewide anchoring regulations are enacted.