Although I recognize the problems created by derelict vessels, the proposed legislation that would require live-aboard boaters to move their boats every three months would create far more problems than it would solve. .

Socially, the new mandate would create a  dangerous situation for live-aboard boaters. To upset and reset a mooring every three months puts the boats and their owners at risk, because the longer an anchor is set the better it holds against weather events. Freshly set anchors are far more likely to break loose in a wind storm, setting the boat adrift to crash into other boats and wind up destroyed ashore or sunk in deep water.

Economically, the impact would be felt throughout the community. Live-aboards need to maintain routine so they can get to work on time every day. Having to move every three months would be very disruptive to their ability to function productively. Living aboard a boat is already difficult. Adding the danger of dragging anchor and moving their mooring every three months would make it too much for most, and the labor force would simply vanish, disrupting local businesses and causing widespread economic harm.

Environmentally, resetting anchors is destructive to marine life on the bottom. And boats broken loose and washed ashore or sunk in deep water pose an even greater threat to the marine environment, as tanks of fuel and human waste are likely to be broken and spilled into the water.

A far better solution is simple to enact, easy to administer, uses existing resources and can even provide a revenue stream for the city. Currently, live-aboard boaters buy permits from the Harbor Master on a monthly basis to dock their dinghies. Why not issue a $50 monthly permit for mooring, and dispense it through the Harbor Master with the dinghy permit? Boaters would place a colored decal on the transom of their boat each month, and boats without the decal would be subject to towing. Derelict boats would then be quickly and easily identified, their owners given notice and their boats removed at their cost when necessary. The money collected by these permits would easily cover the cost of a monthly survey of the harbor, and the task of administration would be greatly simplified.

I urge local legislators to consider this alternative and vote against the proposed legislation.

John Yates

Key West

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