State Senate bill threatens anchorage

State Senate bill threatens anchorage

A bill recently introduced by the Florida State Senate could have adverse affects on Marathon City Marina and the businesses serving the cruising community.

Based on a study performed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, both the state House and Senate are considering tightening maritime legislation in regards to derelict vessels and anchorage. FL Senate Bill 1548, would impose a substantial statewide restriction on overnight anchoring within 200 feet of the high water mark of residential property.

“This would remove 61 boats anchored around the mooring field,” said Ports and Marina Director Sean Cannon. The city of Marathon Marina has 226 mooring balls and Cannon said the marina has become so popular in the cruising community that a waiting list begins mid-December.

“The anchorage is our waiting room,” he added. “We had a total of 290 boats on the waiting list last year with as many as 30 on the list in one day.”

Although owned by the city, the marina operates more like a business or what’s called an enterprise fund. The marina does not rely on ad-valorem taxes.

House Bill 7123 deals with derelict vessels without changing current anchoring law.

The bill was introduced by Florida Keys State Representative Holly Raschein, who also serves as the Vice Chair for the Highway & Waterway Safety Subcommittee.

Monroe County officials and business leader will be addressing these issues and more next Tuesday at the annual Florida Keys Day lobby session in Tallahassee. Organized by Representative Raschein’s office, the day includes meetings with senior legislators like Speaker of the House Steve Crisafulli, a photo-op with Governor Scott and a reception featuring Keys cuisine in the capitol courtyard.

 

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