GRASS ROOTS EFFORTS
SSCA joins our coalition partners in requesting your assistance with some grass roots advocacy efforts in two states—Florida and New York. Please note the Florida issue requires action by this Tuesday, February 15th and there are several attachments as references to this post.
Jack White, Legislative Affairs Director for the Florida Keys Boaters Association (FKBA), has asked us to write emails to members of the Florida Senate Rules Committee by next Tuesday, February 15th to oppose SB1432 (see attached)/HB 1065 that would reduce the mooring ball count from 300 to 100 in Monroe County.
SB1432 is revising a bill that passed into law last year that has not yet been implemented. The law required that 300 mooring balls be added in Monroe County before a 90-day anchoring limitation could be put into place there. This year, SB1432 would cut the number of mooring balls required from 300 to 100, so anchoring could be restricted to 90 days once 100 mooring balls are available. If this bill were to pass, there could potentially be no mooring balls available to transient cruisers as they will all be taken by local workforce members. This is due to the incredible lack of affordable housing in the area and most probably is an unintended consequence.
Jack and a local dockmaster will travel to Tallahassee, FL, to appear before the Rules Committee opposing this proposed legislation on Tuesday (Feb 15). To make their appearance more effective, they are asking that letters of opposition be emailed to the Rules Committee members by the cruising community. Individual emails to the committee members would be preferred but a group email will work as well. Attached is an Excel spreadsheet that has the committee members’ names and email addresses listed separately and as a group if you want to copy and paste into one email. Phone numbers are also provided for those who wish to call.
Additional background: Due to legislative action in the absence of data, FKBA requested support from the City of Key West via Resolution 21-241 (see attached). This resolution urged the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission to perform a comprehensive study, as described in F.S. Section 327.4109(6), of the anchorage surrounding Key West to provide accurate data to inform and enable government agencies to address sufficient capacity for mooring fields. FWC as of this writing has still not accomplished this study required by the legislature years ago; yet, each year FWC requests legislative changes in the absence of it.
Latest Data Results: FKBA has provided recent data made available by dockmasters in Key West to their legislative delegation. A full report of that data is attached as provided by the City of Key West. That data supports their longstanding contention that 100 mooring balls will be insufficient.
If you have concerns about affordable workforce housing in the Keys and agree that more than 100 mooring balls are needed so that some may be available for transients, please submit a letter of opposition by February 15th.
Florida Senate Rules Committee 2022
FKBA Liveaboard Study
NY Canal System
The Canal New York Marketing & Business Alliance has requested that members of Cruisers Associations participate in a campaign to press for an earlier season opening date of the NYS Canal System than the May 20 opening date announced by the NY Power Authority (NYPA). The Alliance is asking for the date to be changed to May 11 (see attached letter for more details) and they are requesting that email messages be sent to Justin Driscoll, Interim President & CEO of NYPA, about this matter. While Loopers are not usually in the Canal System as early as May 11th, it’s important that we participate in this campaign as it supports the local communities and businesses along the Canal.
You can submit a message through the New York State Tourism Industry Association’s online Advocacy Action Center. To utilize the system, follow these steps:
- Go to the NYSTIA website (www.nystia.org)
- Select the “Our Role” menu and then the “Advocacy Action Center & Resources” sub-menu.
- On the right side of the page, register to use the Center by completing the section entitled “Sign Up for Alerts”. For Region, select Other if you are not a resident of New York.
- Provide the information requested in the sign-up process and then you will receive an email code to complete the sign-up process.
- After the registration process is complete, return to the Advocacy Action Center’s main page and click on “Canal Navigation Season Opening Date Campaign” in the middle of the page.
- Review the pre-populated message in the “Compose Message” box and edit as desired. Provide/confirm your contact information.
- Click “Send Message” to have your message delivered to Justin Driscoll.
SSCA is committed to helping you cruise and anchor with as little restriction as possible. Unfortunately, there are continued efforts to limit our abilities for passage making and anchoring in several cruising areas. The danger, as we know, is if one local area limits anchoring, other areas and even states follow with similar or more restrictive processes.
SSCA works through The Boaters’ Rights Advocacy Coalition with three other organizations to help achieve our objectives in the U.S. - America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association (AGLCA), DeFever Cruisers (DF), and the Marine Trawler Owners Association (MTOA). Each year this coalition hires a professional to represent our interests in Florida which las led the country in legislative proposals impacting boaters rights to anchor.
In addition, SSCA joins with organizations in other states and countries throughout the year on issues. SSCA now monitors legislation in 30 USA states that have navigable waterways to be sure we are fully aware of any threats. SSCA also supports cruisers with VISA and entry problems in the Caribbean, Asia, and Southern Pacific, or where we are notified of issues via our Cruising Station Host efforts/and or membership requests.
Some of the successes SSCA and the Coalition have accomplished this past year include:
• Preventing additional Florida municipalities from being added to the “anchoring restriction zones” where overnight anchoring is prohibited
• Opposing the development of a space port in Georgia that would limit the free movement of boaters on the AICW in the vicinity of Cumberland Island
• Finding a non-legislative solution for an anchoring conflict at the Venice inlet.
• Opposing local legislation in North Carolina that would allow several local municipalities to set their own anchor rules. (This legislation ultimately failed to move).
• Helping cruisers in New Zealand, Indonesia and other countries to extend their cruising permits because of Covid.
SSCA’s goal for 2022 is $8,000. This helps pay for our share of the Coalition and for us to monitor the 30 states. The goal for the entire coalition is $30,000. Please give the Gift of Anchoring to help all of us continue to cruise freely! Thank you for your continued support.
SSCA Cruiser Rights Forum