A last-minute amendment snuck in under the radar to be attached to a piece of pending Fish and Wildlife legislation in the Florida House of Representatives and Senate could throw out a statewide effort to develop consistent and rational anchoring options for cruising boaters and severely impact anchoring in some of the most important areas along Florida’s coasts, says Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS).
The national boating advocacy group, with over 100,000 members in the Sunshine state, is urging boaters and the boating industry to speak up now against the 'Margolis/Gonzalez Amendment' which would establish a dangerous precedent for the rest of the state and completely ignore an ongoing Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission anchoring pilot program.
Florida Senator Gwen Margolis (Miami Beach) and Representative Eduardo 'Eddy' Gonzalez (Miami Springs) introduced companion amendments to House Bill 955 and Senate Bill 1126 (the Florida Fish and Wildlife Bills) that would allow Miami-Dade and Broward Counties to restrict anchoring. The Florida House of Representatives is voting on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Bill tomorrow, Wednesday, April 23, and will consider adding the Margolis/Gonzalez Amendment that would allow Miami-Dade and Broward Counties to restrict anchoring.
'We need all boaters in Florida to contact their state representatives immediately without delay and ask them to pass a ‘clean bill’ without the amendment in order to stop this anti-boater initiative,' said BoatUS President Margaret Podlich. 'The proposed Margolis/Gonzalez Amendment directly counters the state’s on-going pilot anchoring program, and leaves boaters to the whims of any special interest who decides they don’t want boats anchoring in their community.'
Added Podlich, 'Recreational boating in Florida has a $10.35 billion economic impact. For a number of years BoatUS and our members in Florida have worked tirelessly to prohibit localities from enacting a patchwork of laws and ordinances that restrict the anchoring of non-live-aboard vessels outside permitted mooring fields. We want to ensure that the active, responsible, cruising boaters continue to have an array of options, including anchoring out, using moorings and tying up at docks. We do not want to go back to the old, and broken, system of confusing local laws which make legitimate cruisers unwelcome in local waters.'
BoatUS says boaters can go here to easily email their legislators, or here to call them.