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Free Range Human, Sailor, Writer, Artist, Videographer  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Florida Wildlife Commission Anchoring Survey

FWC, Florida Wildlife Commission, also known by less flattering names, has decided that a survey of Florida boaters’ use of Florida waters might be helpful in drafting legislation. A scary thought or a good idea?

I Took the Survey

The survey begins with an informative video outlining the next 30 minutes of your day.
Each section, there are six, is preceded by a short audio recording explaining the reasoning behind questions that follow. The topics covered are relevant to all boaters using Florida waters. The survey’s first question deals with Florida residency.  A good start.  

A Thought Provoked

The questions are difficult.  For instance, one asks if all local governments should follow whatever the state legislature passes with little or no ability to adapt the law to local conditions.  On the surface the local governments, city & county, probably should have a say in how their waters are managed.  There are 22 communities in my county.  How can anyone be expected to know and comply with all the variables likely to develop?  From my perspective I’d rather have one set of rules than 22, but then I don’t live in a coastal community.  Wait, yes I do, but the waters are only suited for kayaks and canoes. Hmmm…

Looking for Common Sense

Quite a bit of the survey is common sense or at least an attempt to achieve it.  Did you know that you can anchor your boat at the end of the boat ramp, travel lift or as close to someone’s house as you like?  With the possible exception of the travel lift, I can’t imagine anyone would want to in the first place.  You are then asked to specify the number of feet from the house/ramp/boat lift that would be acceptable.  (The survey loudly hints at 150 feet)

A Nit Pick or a Bias?

One thing I did not like about the survey is the example photos.  The section that deals with derelict boats features a photo of a mostly sunk sailboat replete with beard, a good example of the derelict boat problem.  The section that deals with the length of time a compliant boat can “stored” at anchor uses a photo of another sailboat that has obvious cosmetic damage, but not neglect.   Most compliant anchored boats I have observed are not damaged while many derelicts’ conditions are pretty obvious, if not by sight then certainly by smell.  The photos infer that there is not much difference between the two.   There are no photographic examples of power boats.  Surely there must be at least one power boat of questionable condition in this large state.

In any event, as a responsible Florida boater you should take the survey.  It raises important problems you need to think about. 

Besides, if you don’t participate in the answer you loose the right to complain later.

 Here’s the survey link 




Sunday, November 16, 2014

Remembering Elaine

Many years ago Elaine and I sat on the porch at Boca Ciega Yacht Club in Gulfport, Fl.discussing something about the finer points of sailing the old Day Sailor I boats used in the Sailing School at the time.  The discussion rambled on as they are wont to do.  Then Elaine backed her chair away from the table, stood up and announced that we were going sailing. 

A Bit of Perspective

I grew up on the Great Plains; North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.  They all have one thing in common. There are no natural lakes in any of them.  Not one.  Sailors were as common as Hippies at a National Republican convention.  Elaine and Pim lived on a boat larger than several of the dwellings Linda and I had occupied.  Elaine sailed the oceans, we “sailed” in gravel pits aboard a Styrofoam boat with a large hole in the bottom.  Elaine was a licensed ships Captain with a capitol “C”… I possessed a North Dakota driver’s license circa 1962. 

Intimidated??  OH YEAH!

We grabbed one of the O’days docked at the pier.  Somehow I was the first at the tiller; must have been a moment of gallantry or something.  I managed to sail out of the channel keeping the crew and vessel intact.  (Fear focuses the mind.)  Out on the bay we found the most perfect day there could ever be.   Sunny skies, warm but not hot, a light chop, and most importantly, a robust westerly with no calms.  Perfection that meant screaming reaches clear across the bay on one tack.   We took turns at the helm, hiked out as far as we dared, tacking and gibing, with big grins and loud hoops we tore up the bay all afternoon.  Tired, drenched, and happy we were eventually forced to sail back to the dock.

The last time I saw Elaine we were relaxing on the Sea Breeze Patio when she asked me if I remembered that sail we took so long ago.  I said yes, but before I could say more, she told me how intimidated she was asking me to sail with her.  As I continued my very good impression of a deer in the headlights, she went on to explain that compared with all my sailing experience (Ha!) she was the novice!

We laughed long and hard when the truth was known!   Neither one of us could remember the original discussion, but it really doesn't matter.  We had shared a special time together and were friends ever since.

 I miss you Elaine.

I know when the sun is out and the wind is up you’ll be with us on those screaming reaches on Boca Ciega Bay.


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Fair winds my friend..