Bill Banning Anchoring Approved in Committee Hearing
The bills seeking to further limit the ability to anchor overnight near the City of Miami Beach are moving through the Florida legislature quickly. House Bill 437 is scheduled for its second reading on the House Floor next week. Its Senate companion bill (SB 192), which we hoped would not progress quickly, is now scheduled to be heard by its first committee on Tuesday, January 23rd.
What do we need?
We need members, whether you are Florida residents or not, to contact Florida legislators to oppose these bills.
- Email or call all House members, the Senate Environmental & Natural Resources Committee members, and the bills' sponsors (Rep. Porras for HB 437 and Senator Garcia for SB 192). Contact details are attached. If you are a Florida resident, make sure to make special contact with your elected House member. The Senate Committee Members on the contact list must be contacted prior to Tuesday!
- Leave voicemails and keep emailing until you speak with the legislator (which is unlikely to happen). Example:
"Hi, this is Sally Looper and I am Rep. Porras' constituent. This is my 4th voicemail to him about his bill 437 that I oppose. Please contact me at 555-2222-1112”.
"Hi, this is Sally Looper and I am a boater who spends time and money cruising in Biscayne Bay. This is my 4th voicemail about HB 437 (or SB 192) that I oppose. Please contact me at 555-2222-1112”.
Please be sure that all communication with legislators or their aides is professional and courteous while requesting that they vote against the bill. Below are some talking points you might discuss with them. Please select a few that are meaningful to you to include in an email or a conversation with a legislator.
- Boating brings a significant economic impact to the area surrounding Biscayne Bay. (Insert how much you typically spend per day on fuel, entertainment, dockage, food, supplies, etc when cruising an area like Miami Beach.)
- We agree that boats that are abandoned, derelict, and long-term stored on the waterway are problems that must be addressed.
- Banning overnight anchoring is not the answer. Telling a sunken boat that it can’t stay overnight does nothing to get that boat out of the water. Without funding included in the bill to remove the boats, nothing will happen to resolve the problem.
- There are already laws in place that prohibit sewage discharge and other pollution, noise ordinances, and unlicensed business operations. There is already the statutory ability for counties to restrict anchoring to 45 days which was enacted to help with the derelict vessel issue. Enforcement of existing laws is the solution, rather than adding more laws.
- Anchoring for responsible boaters who abide by laws and are stewards of the environment should not be limited due to a few bad actors.
- This area is a vital staging ground for cruisers heading to the Bahamas. For safety's sake, slower boats need to anchor in Biscayne Bay the night before crossing to the Bahamas, or the night after returning, to avoid the dangers of navigating at night.
Some of you may be thinking that anchoring in this area is not that important or that it represents just a small portion of the Great Loop. However, if we lose these anchorages, more cities will attempt the same next year. The domino effect could be substantial. Please call and email legislators! And if you haven’t already contributed to our Advocacy fund that enables us to work to keep anchorages open, please do so now!