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Speak Up Now for Waterway Access in Florida
January 24, 2024 by BoatU.S. Government Affairs Team

Legislation is currently under consideration in Florida that will prohibit anchoring in specific areas of Biscayne Bay. BoatU.S. is urging Florida boaters to contact their state representatives to ask them to oppose SB192/HB437. Click here to send your message: Take Action

Legislators should consider:

  • County governments already have a way to manage vessel anchorages by creating Anchorage Limitations Areas.
  • Dade County is in the process of implementing an ALA in the area covered by SB192/HB437. The ALA process allows for all interested groups to be involved with their creation and management.
  • Using state law to prohibit anchoring in specific areas takes away public access to a shared resource for the benefit of only a few waterfront property owners.
  • Writing specific areas for anchorage restrictions into state law is analogous to writing city parking ordinances into state law. It is a fundamentally bad way to manage the state's waterways.
  • The areas under consideration provide safe harbor for boaters waiting for safe weather to cross to the Bahamas.
  • The areas provide access for boaters coming to visit the Miami Boat Show, an event with multi-millions of dollars of economic impact to Florida.
  • These bills will do nothing to decrease the number of derelict and at-risk vessels in Biscayne Bay. These boats will just move to other, less sheltered areas.
  • Other issues such as derelict vessels and discharges are already covered by both state and federal laws. The state, county and city need to put resources into enforcing the laws already on the books.

 

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