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St. Augustine Anchorage Program Gets Green Light from FWC
Approval of local ordinance is contingent upon some key changes

Posted Nov. 17, 2011

 
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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on Thursday in Key Largo approved St. Augustine's proposed boating ordinance for the anchoring and mooring pilot program coordinated by the FWC. However, the approval was contingent upon the city changing the length of stay for anchoring to 30 consecutive days in any 45-day period.

Local governments for the five communities participating in the pilot program are responsible for soliciting public input for their ordinance-development process. Since the June Commission meeting, when the final participant was selected for the program, FWC staff has been attending the sites' public-input meetings to provide information on the pilot program.

The city of St. Augustine held its public input meetings to gather suggestions and information on local problems related to anchoring and mooring in the area. In compliance with state statute, FWC staff coordinated review of the ordinance developed from that information.

"The ordinance addresses boundaries for vessels related to navigational channels, mooring fields and harvest areas; time restrictions for anchoring outside of mooring fields; and a usage requirement to prevent improperly stored, abandoned or derelict vessels," said Maj. Jack Daugherty, leader of the FWC's Boating and Waterways Section.

The ordinance also specifies penalties for violating these regulations.

Commissioners discussed and asked questions, ultimately deciding to approve the ordinance with the contingency. This makes them effective in St. Augustine until the time-limited pilot program expires July 1, 2014. The Legislature can then decide to reenact some or all of them.

Public meetings have also been held in the other four participant sites: Monroe County, in coordination with the cities of Marathon and Key West; Stuart, in coordination with Martin County; and the cities of Sarasota and St. Petersburg. The developing ordinances from these areas will be presented at future Commission meetings.

The goal of the anchoring and mooring pilot program is to explore potential options for regulating the anchoring or mooring of non-live-aboard vessels outside the boundaries of public mooring fields. Among other things, this should help promote public access to Florida's waters, enhance navigational safety and protect the marine environment.

The FWC's role is to provide consultation and technical assistance on the issues. For more information on the pilot program, visit MyFWC.com/Boating or call 850-488-5600.

 
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