A hearing has been scheduled in St. Augustine, Florida, for 4 p.m. on May 26 in the Alcazar Room of city hall in order to discuss the city's harbor management plan and the possibility of further restricting anchoring in and around the recently installed mooring fields. The city opened three mooring fields last year, partly as a response to boats that anchored long-term in the harbor. An article on Soundings Trade Only Today reports that one subject of the hearing will be to explore rules and regulations to further restrict anchoring around St. Augustine, including a potential rule that says that boaters who live on their boat for 10 or more consecutive days during a 30-day period within the city limits will be considered a liveaboard and be required to move into a mooring field. Another rule would prohibit anchoring within 100 feet of an established mooring field.
The city has issued a press release describing the mooring field. It says in part:
"Now, with the approval by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the agency responsible for the state’s waterways, the City of St. Augustine is one of five Florida coastal cities selected for a pilot program that will allow further development of the harbor management system in a way that is essentially tailor-made to meet the specific needs of this community."
"Whether a boat owner or not, it is clear that the entire community has benefited thus far from the implementation of an organized anchorage in the city’s waterways brought about by the mooring fields. With vessels restricted to designated moorings, boats are anchored a safe distance from other vessels and owners must dispose of trash and sewage properly. Additionally, the program has greatly reduced the derelict vessel problem created by boat owners abandoning vessels which become the responsibility of the city."
"The initial step towards a more developed management system is to listen to the community’s suggestions for policies that might be included. That listening will commence at a public meeting on Thursday, May 26 at 4:00pm in The Alcazar Room, City Hall, 75 King Street. Please note that one or more members of the St. Augustine City Commission may be in attendance at the public meeting."
BoatUS, the country's largest boating membership organization, encourages the public to attend the public meeting to express their views on anchoring and mooring ordinances. In addition, BoatUS has published an updated guide to Florida state anchoring regulations that is available here. Boaters planning on anchoring in Florida are advised to carry a copy of this paper with them in order to better inform authorities as to the legal status of those exercising their rights to anchor within the state.