Long-time readers know that I've written several times about the never ending battle between boaters and homeowners who want to restrict anchoring. It happens in Vermont and every other state, but it is most intense here in Florida. Heretofore, us boaters have been united in our opposition to restrictions on our rights; and we have been mostly successful. But now, I see reason for us to flip flop on the issue.
The reason came from a news story. I read that entrepreneurs in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami region have started buying old boats which they anchor and then rent out as "apartment yachts." Considering the sky high rents for regular apartments, that could be very attractive to tenants and very profitable to landlords.
At first, the story sounded amusing. But then I remembered the years after 2004/2005 when Florida was hit by several hurricanes. There were thousands of boats damaged by the hurricanes that the insurance companies were anxious to declare as total losses so they could get them off their books. Many of them could still float, and were cosmetically fine below decks. They could be bought as salvage for mere pennies on the dollar.
Now, imagine the next big hurricane to hit Florida creating a new batch of salvaged boats. The entrepreneurs can buy up all of them, and rent them out as apartment yachts. We boaters will find that all of our favorite anchorages are full with these boats, leaving no room at all for cruisers or transients. If that happens, I expect that boaters will lead the charge on anchoring laws. If we are smart, we'll flop now, ahead of the fact.
One proposal above all others seems to address the problem while imposing minimum intrusion on cruiser's rights. That is restricting the time any boat can anchor in one spot to one week. I'm going to start backing that proposal right away. I urge you to consider doing the same.
p.s. Two questions about apartment yachts.
- Where will they land their dinghies? The landlords could provide launch/water taxi service to their tenants, perhaps for an added fee.
- Does a landlord become a waterlord when he rents an apartment yacht? :-)