Florida anchoring bill faces vote today

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The Florida state legislature will set a terrible anti-boating precedent with an expected vote sometime today on a bill (HB 1051) banning overnight anchoring in selected areas. All Florida boating interests should oppose the action right now.

BoatUS has provided a quick way for you to respond. Just go to www.boatus.com/gov and click on the take-action line at the top. But since the vote is likely happening today in the Florida House of Representatives, your immediate action is needed.

For the last three years, a small group of waterfront homeowners has worked to pass state legislation that would prohibit overnight anchoring near their South Florida properties. HB 1051 aims to ban overnight anchoring in Sunset Lake, Middle River and between three sets of islands in Biscayne Bay.

The bottom line is that if it passes, it will allow a privileged few residents to bypass an ongoing statewide pilot mooring and anchoring program that seeks a practical and uniform solution for all Florida residents and boaters.

“The results of the Pilot Anchoring Program for five test areas are due this fall and should be fully reviewed before any new anchoring laws are passed,” BoatUS president Margaret Bonds Podlich said. “This proposed legislation directly counters the significant time, money and effort that have been spent to develop consistent and rational anchoring options for cruising boaters.”

Worse, if HB 1051 passes, it will likely start a stampede of anti-boaters pushing for more such bans all over the state. That will leave boaters in the nation’s biggest boating state facing a patchwork of local anchoring laws and bans. Act now at www.boatus.com/gov.

NMTC cancels meeting

The combined meeting of the National Marine Trades Council and the Advisory Council of Marine Associations set for mid-April in San Antonio, Texas, was cancelled.

The NMTC is the organization of marine industry association executives and the ACMA is the local and regional marine trade groups that advise the Board of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas on legislative issues.

According to Nicki Polan, executive director of the Michigan Boating Industries Association and NMTC chairwoman, the cancellation is the result of scheduling conflicts that have arisen for many who regularly attend NMTC meetings. The group last met in Orlando in November.

Because many association executives will be attending the America Boating Congress (May 9-11) this year, a combined NMTC/ACMA meeting has now been scheduled for Monday, May 9 from 9 a.m. to noon in Washington, D.C. Details about ABC are found at www.nmma.org.

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