Houseboat Living - the new laws, rules, and regulations on boating in Florida
(North Fort Myers, Florida)
Houseboat Living - the view on anchor in Boot Key Harbor
The laws, rules, and regulations concerning boating or houseboat living in Florida are about to change. Okay, a new regulation has just passed or will be instated on October 1st, 2009. It makes some changes in the law and the way it is enforced.
First, anchoring, it is no longer an issue of how long you can stay at any anchor-able area anywhere in Florida. No town or city can tell you that you have to move in 24, 48 or 72 hours anyplace within the state.
You can drop anchor in any Florida waters where it is legal to anchor and no one can tell you that you have to move. This includes anchor-able areas of any harbor, outside any navigable channel, outside of any mooring field or off any waterway.
You can NOT anchor in any marked mooring area, and however, no one can tell you that you have overstayed your welcome and that if you don't move they will ticket or impound your boat.
There is a downloadable copy of this new set of regulations on boatus.com and click on Anchoring. You should carry a copy of this new bill if you travel like I do.
Now, the bad news, it seems that in their infinite wisdom they have also declared that if your houseboat is navigable, if it has engines and steering, you are NOT a live aboard.
I believe this is to allow them to board us without having to get a search warrant. Invasion of your home is protected under the sixth amendment of the bill of rights.
We are supposed to have the right to be secure of unreasonable search and seizure of our houses, persons, papers and effects and the authorities have to show probable cause to even get a warrant to search our homes. In the case of a car, it is not legal for the police to search it without probable cause or without having a warrant.
I, as well as many other "Live Aboards" have sold our houses and bought a boat as our home. I see no mention that our Home, cannot be a boat. If you live in a cave, a camper, a shack in the woods and it is your home it is protected under the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States of America.
Why are we considered less than legal citizens? Illegals coming into the country have more rights than we do as American Citizens.
I have a freezer on my Homeboat, and if I have lobster tails in it, I am subject to arrest and the impounding of
my boat. If you catch lobsters and take them home to put in your freezer you have lobster for Christmas dinner. I have to get out of jail if they're found, even if they are in a store wrapper.
If I have my guns aboard I am at risk of losing them if boarded. In spite of the 4th amendment declaring that my right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Okay, what do we do about having our homes put back under the protection of the Constitution and Bill of Rights? Do we have to go out and deliberately break the law to challenge it in the Supreme Court?
My boat IS my home. I cannot afford to take a boarding to the Supreme Court. What about a class action with several "Homeboat Owners"?
I have no idea of what the answer is.
I can appreciate the stepped up security but if we have to give up freedoms to protect ourselves then the terrorists have won.
Russell, Florida. Reply - Answer
Well Russell, I want to personally thank you for sharing this very important information on anchoring, mooring, or living on a boat. I can appreciate and agree with your thinking, as I can see how some boating laws and regulations are not the best for everyone involved.
Like you said, your houseboat is your home, and not just a pleasure craft
so to speak, and your HomeBoat should have the same protection under the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States of America.
I can see that this new regulation has made some good forward progress, yet has gone backwards in other areas. I hope that you will keep us posted with any future changes.Lastly
, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their experiences with the rules, laws, and regulations concerning houseboat living and anchoring. Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.
Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats
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