SSCA forces withdrawal of Florida anchoring law

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Cruisers are continuing to fight a battle over anchoring rights in Florida. During a recently ended Florida legislative session, the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) and its allies were successful in helping to preserve anchoring rights in Florida waters. The SSCA lobbied with Florida legislators and helped to block a bill that would have banned overnight anchoring in North Lake and South Lake, south of Ft. Lauderdale in Broward County.

From the SSCA Commodore's Bulletin: "At the beginning of the Session, the City of Hollywood, Florida, filed bills (SB388/HB1001) sponsored by Senator Gary Farmer (D-Ft. Lauderdale) and State Representative Joe Geller (D-Dania Beach) to ban overnight anchoring on North Lake & South Lake, south of Ft. Lauderdale in Broward County. Because SSCA and our fellow coalition members (AGLCA, MTOA, and the Defever Association) have remained active in the fight to preserve anchoring rights, we had already retained a lobbyist to advocate in Tallahassee on our behalf. Jerry Paul of Capitol Assets worked diligently to make our views known to legislators. As a result, these bills never made it out of the committees to which they were assigned, and therefore, could not be brought to the floor of the Senate nor the House for a vote. In a last-ditch effort to ban anchoring in North Lake and South Lake, Farmer and Geller each attached an amendment to other bills being brought to the floor of their respective houses. Again, our lobbyist worked with legislators to make our position known, and pointed out to them some procedural errors in the way the amendments were filed that would likely ensure they could not be brought to a vote. Our coalition also reached out to all our members in Florida with requests that they contact their legislators to urge a “no” vote in the event the amendment did proceed to a vote. Due in part to our efforts, both Farmer and Geller withdrew their amendments prior to a vote on the bills they were using as vehicles to carry this issue to the floor. With the legislative session now over, we can celebrate our success in defeating efforts to ban overnight anchoring in North Lake and South Lake. No additional funds were needed from any members of the coalition to wage this year’s fight in Florida, as enough was previously collected to continue to fund the effort. In the off season, the coalition will meet to develop a strategy moving forward. It’s likely that anchoring in parts of Florida will remain under attack in coming years and we need to be poised to once again defend boaters’ rights to anchor. Thanks to all our members who contributed financially, and with their time, to this effort! Our success would not be possible without your help!"

By Ocean Navigator