A bill aimed to address the continuing vessel anchoring challenges facing some Florida counties while balancing the needs of responsible vessel operators became law with the signing of FL S.B. 1946 by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Boat Owners Association of The United States supports the legislation that protects active cruisers in the Sunshine State, giving them critical access to important shoreside services and amenities while also addressing continued challenges with at-risk vessels that anchor on a long-term basis.
The national recreational boating advocacy, services and safety group applauds Rep. Wyman Duggan, R-Jacksonville, and Sen. Tina Polski, D-Palm Beach, for their leadership in sponsoring and gaining passage of the bill.
“Representative Duggan and Senator Polsky worked diligently with us to ensure that the needs of active, responsible cruisers and vessel operators were included,” said BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy. “We were pleased they listened to BoatUS’s solutions for this long-standing challenge and included them in the final bill. Representative Duggan took the lead in the House while Senator Polsky took the lead in the Senate, shepherding the bill through all of its committee hearings. This bi-partisan team gave responsible cruising boaters and local governments the tools they will need to address anchoring,” Kennedy added.
Florida S.B. 1946 allows counties to establish anchorage limitation areas adjacent to urban areas that have a combination of significant boat traffic, narrow waterways and residential docking facilities. Counties are permitted to set up anchorages that give active cruisers or any vessel operator access to high-demand harborage for reasonable amount of time – up to 45 consecutive days in any 6-month period. The state has long had challenges with derelict and abandoned vessels and this legislation hopes to reduce those numbers.
“This law gives responsible active cruisers traveling Florida’s waters the ability to stay in an anchorage limitation area for 45 days, which we believe meets the needs of most cruisers,” added Kennedy.