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Florida officials working on mooring pilot program

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission received an update recently on compliance with a new state law designed to promote the establishment and use of mooring fields.

The law requires the agency to establish a pilot program to regulate anchoring of non-liveaboard vessels outside of existing mooring fields to make boating safer and protect the marine environment. FWC Maj. Paul Ouellette told commissioners the plan also calls for promoting public access to waterways, protecting the maritime infrastructure and deterring improperly stored, abandoned or derelict vessels.

The FWC is working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to select five potential mooring field locations - two on the East Coast, two on the West Coast and one in Monroe County. In addition, the FWC will provide technical assistance to cities and counties to accomplish the program's goals, and will approve local ordinances after reviewing them with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Coast Guard, inland navigation districts and boating groups.

The pilot program will expire in 2014 unless the legislature re-enacts it.

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