Anchoring debate to resurface on Marco?

Marco considers working with FWC to create new anchoring rules

Article Highlights

  • Marco's last attempt to regulate anchoring was unconstitutional
  • More on this story to come as a decision is expected by Friday
  • Marco considers working with FWC to create new anchoring regulations

After years of attempting to enforce city anchoring regulations in Marco area waters, city officials may engage in new anchoring regulations.

The City of Marco Island just brought their case against Island boater Dave Dumas to a close this summer when state regulators made it clear that communities could not regulate anchoring outside of mooring fields without violating the state constitution.

Now, City Manager Steve Thompson is testing the waters to see if Marco has any interest in working with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to review the matter in more detail.

Thompson reported in his Weekly Update Monday evening that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is launching an Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program.

“This has been an issue in the past, and if City Council is interested in establishing regulations under the pilot program for mooring outside of an established mooring field, the staff will provide a letter of interest,” Thompson reported.

FWC is exploring options for regulating the anchoring or mooring of non-live aboard vessels outside of legally permitted mooring fields-- the precise issue that brought the city into a two-year court battle with Dumas and boaters' rights organizations throughout the state and country.

Coastal communities are being sought to participate in the program, which is to develop regulatory options that promote public access, enhance navigation safety, protect the environment, and deter improperly stored, abandoned, or derelict vessels.

The FWC will select two locations on the east coast, two locations on the west coast, and one location in Monroe County for participation in the pilot program.

Although it appears that the pilot program may provide an opportunity to participate in the development of rules for regulating the 'anchoring of non-live aboard boats outside of mooring fields,' something that the city attempted to accomplish through its anchoring ordinance that was subsequently challenged and overturned, one of the stated legislative goals of the program is to 'encourage the establishment of additional public mooring fields,' Thompson reported.

A subcommittee of the city’s Waterways Committee examined the feasibility of establishing a mooring field in the City of Marco

Island a few years ago. The committee subsequently recommended against it for several reasons, including lack of local demand or support, the high cost of maintaining buoys, and other costs associated with providing sewage pumpout service, police patrol and enforcement, and liability insurance, Thompson said.

Participation in the FWC Pilot program would require a commitment to work with FWC to accomplish the goals of the program, ongoing collection and monitoring of data, submission of monthly reports to FWC and coordination of the review of any proposed ordinance with FWC and all interested stakeholders including the Coast Guard.

If the city is interested in participation in the FWC Pilot Program, a letter of interest will need to be submitted by Friday.

Check back to see how City Council and the community reacts to the idea and view related links for the full Weekly Update by City Manager Steve Thompson

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Comments » 9

maharg writes:

You have to establish a state approved mooring field first. There is not enough transient traffic to warrant the expense and maintenance of a mooring field. This was already established by the past study. This is a dead horse

grunt writes:

Did you hear this Dennis, are real live mooring field in your backyard?
Of course you know there is just not enough traffic to support a mooring field. Just as you knew there was not enough traffic to support a ban on anchoring!
However, we may have some residents that would like to store their house boats and others who would like to store their older large power boats which their neighbors find unsightly on their backyard docks. Well, maybe it is not a bad idea after all!!

Pursuit writes:

The only problem i see are selfish people thinking there property extend's out into the water "control freaks" If an anchored boat is causing a behavior disturbance it should be treated the same as home disturbance,and get an official visit. other wise live & let live
Why create more taxpayer expense for a non existant problem

Fossil writes:

So how much of our tax dollars will we need to commit to the FWC? Thompson obviously has ordered Rony Joel to put crazy juice in Marco's drinking water. The city didn't care that the STRP was polluting our water and may have even broken Federal laws while doing so. Now Thompson wants to climb back in bed with the FWC to establish authorized experimental pollution fields in our waterways? These fields will be used by boat owners in SWF to moor their old leaky boats that they can't afford to store properly. Will they never learn?

lauralbi1 writes:

Fossill: I think your facts are reversed. The Septic Tanks are the devices that have been polluting our waters for years. And your speculation about Federal laws shows your propensity to expound on misleading and inflamatory misinformation. But, keep up the blogs like this. We are collecting them for publication for the upcoming election.
By the way, can you assist in finding the Miami Grand Jury Indictment and/or the Court Case against Bill McMullan from the mid 1980's that led to his Real Estate License revocation ?? It would be appreciated. I searched the Internet, but the case may be too old. I will look for your response with the information on these blogs.
Ed Issler

Debbofivestar writes:

I am for the mooring field because anything that irritates and aggravates the rich people of Marco Island is fine by me. You see, when you are poor like me and living in N Fort Myers - government interference is an everyday occurrence. Believe me, It really blows when you dont have the money to defend your freedom. Because as we all know, your only free in America when you have a big fat wallet!

Fossil writes:

Issler: The city recently confirmed that the pipes serving Marco's sewer are the cause of the majority of Marco's pollution. As you know this confirmation came from an employee of the city and the evidence was a City Commissioned inspection of the pipes that showed pipe seperations, infiltration and breakage of the old clay pipes. Septic tanks have never been the problem you claim. There never was a study finding our septics were the cause of any significant pollution on the level that the sewer pipes were. Actually, the majority of owners replaced their tanks during the past 20 years. As for your attempt to deflect and falsly make accusations against a good citizen of Marco Island, you are a cad. If you cannot find evidence to prove your allegations, accept that such evidence may not exist. You are not entitled to your own facts and your speculation of unfounded wrongdoing may lead others to take a good look at you, so stay real and stop tilting windmalls.

jimbo46marco writes:

Who is setting the priorities here...first of all the ORIGINAL proposal by the police department, which also may not be legal, gave them the right to chase people off after two weeks...plenty of time for someone to have a nice visit on their way to/from the Carribean.

The three day not in my back yard deal was dead meat when it was passed.

The courts have decided this already.

Spend your time on something productive city manager.

If there ever becomes a problem there will be ways to deal with it.

jimbo46marco writes:

A productive idea...Under present laws, what conditions need to exist before the police can make a boater move?

I would guess waste in the water, be it sewage or trash. Leaky tanks of any kind. Noise or other distractions. Boat not in navigation. Boat abandoned. If that were clearer then citizen complaints would be on target and the police would have lots of eyes and ears.

In reality what we want to do is encourage the transient yacht dwellers and discourage squatters.

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