Anchoring Restrictions along the ICW

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With the summer cruising season rolling in, Dozier’s Waterway Guide (see http://www.waterwayguide.com) has reported on various new anchoring restrictions along the Intercostal Waterway. From Maryland to Florida, cities along the east coast are considering or are in process of implementing anchoring restrictions, for local and transient boats. These restrictions are, for the most, in response to problems directly tied to neglected boats in the harbors. The following is a run-through of some proposals in Florida under consideration. (Other cities participating in the FWC pilot program include Sarasota and St. Petersburg)

Florida Keys, FL: Monroe County, which envelops all of the Keys, is also set to participate in the pilot Florida FWC mooring program. Key Largo, Marathon and Key West, all of which have mooring fields, are being explored for potential anchoring restrictions. All three sites have held workshops, allowing the county to gather public commentary on the various possibilities. As is policy in the FWC program, any restrictions on anchoring in the vicinity of mooring fields will need to be approved directly by the FWC.

In past years, anyone who cruised through the Keys noticed the Boot Key Harbour anchorage prior to its cleanup and the placement of moorings by the city of Marathon. Now, rather than dishevelment and abandoned boats, the area has been transformed into an organized mooring field replete with boats that any of us would be happy to live by. The city of Marathon provides a secure mooring, pump-out service, dinghy dockage, shoreside facilities with laundry, bike rakes, trash collection and other services for a modest fee. This is only one instance of moorings improving an area, and overall, as long as restrictions on anchoring are limited to populated regions with a large amount of boaters, a mooring field with its amenities can offer advantages over anchorage.

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