Saturday, August 6, 2011

Seventh Heaven

Recently I received an email enquiring about anchoring restrictions in Florida.  This continues to be a hot-button issue for boaters and certain municipalities.  In 2007 boaters took to task a restrictive anchoring ordinance in Miami resulting in a Florida Legislature attempting to corral local ordinances (see: ). 

Although there are other issues, the root of the conflict usually arises from owners of expensive waterfront homes not wanting “eyesores” anchored in the view they purchased.  And, homeowners vote locally while cruisers usually have few ties to the community.

With Serenity and now with MOTIVATOR, we have never been hassled anywhere we have decided to anchor.  I like to think we are viewed as an asset to the neighborhood, but I also think it is because we are respectful and do not overstay our welcome.  

Responsible cruisers, while usually more tolerant than “landlubbers,” also have issues with derelict boats and the permanently anchored live-aboards found in many anchorages.  In Coconut Grove, Florida, we were told that the mooring field maintained by the City used to be an anchorage until it was so fouled by derelict and sunken boats that no one dared anchor there.  The City, at great expense had to remove the wreckage and establish a mooring field.

Just south of the mooring field, a new sunken boat area is forming. 

The mooring field solution is one that is being adopted by many municipalities with varying success.  While we generally welcome the option to grab a mooring ball, other cruisers do not have the money for the fees associated with a mooring ball in their budget.  I used to silently scoff at the cruisers that would say, “I trust my anchor more than any mooring ball,” until friends broke loose in Fernandina, FL (see: , half way down the posting with the paragraph beginning with, “Around 6:30 PM,”).

 Generally, when a mooring field is established, anchoring is restricted.  This can create a host of problems, for example we were advised that now we are too big for the moorings in Vero Beach, Florida and possibly Coconut Grove.

For Georgetown, SC, Skipper Bob advises, “We have received a few comments from boaters about derelict boats in the mooring field….”  Last fall when we stopped there with Serenity that was certainly the case.  We had trouble finding room for Serenity among the derelicts, and ended up anchoring in water that was too shallow for comfort.  Because MOTIVATOR needs a lot of swing room, we decided to take a slip on this visit to Georgetown, SC.
MOTIVATOR, comfortable next to a fuel dock

It appeared that some of the derelict boats had been removed, and because it is late in the season for the transient migration north, there were few other cruisers vying for a spot. There was a row of boats that we labeled, “Bachelor Row,” because it appeared to be inhabited by single handlers on semi-permanent anchorage.

But, that raises another issue.  What constitutes an “eyesore” is in the eye of the beholder.

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