Florida's Local Government Regulation of Navigation

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Chapter 327, Florida Statutes; The "Florida Vessel Safety Law"

Chapter 327 of the Florida Statutes, known as the "Florida Vessel SafetyLaw," is administered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission(FWC). This law primarily relates to various safety considerations, such assafe operation, accident procedures, personal water craft requirements, uniformwaterway markings and restrictions on local government regulation of boating relatedactivities including anchoring.

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Florida Statutes, Section 327.60; Local regulations; limitations

This statute defines what local governments (cities & counties) may and may not regulate. The State determines what aspects of navigation are 'off-limits' to local government regulation. This guide breaks this statute down into the three sub-paragraphs contained in the statute.

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Section (1) 327.60

327.60(1) The provisions of this chapter and chapter 328 shall govern the operation,equipment, and all other matters relating thereto whenever any vessel shall beoperated upon the water of this state or when any activity regulated hereby shalltake place thereon.

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Section (2) 327.60

327.60(2)Nothing in this chapter or chapter 328 shall be construed to prevent the adoptionof any ordinance or local regulation relating to operation of vessels, except that acounty or municipality shall not enact, continue in effect, or enforce anyordinance or local regulation: (see subsections (a) through (h)).

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Section (2) 327.60; subsections (a) through (f)

327.60 (2) (a local gov't. shall not enact or enforce any ordinance or local regulation doing the following things):a) Establishing a vessel or associated equipment performance or other safetystandard, imposing a requirement for associated equipment, or regulating thecarrying or use of marine safety articles;b) Relating to the design, manufacture, installation, or use of any marine sanitationdevice on any vessel;c) Regulating any vessel upon the Florida Intracoastal Waterway;d) Discriminating against personal watercraft;e) Discriminating against airboats, for ordinances adopted after July 1, 2006, unlessadopted by a two-thirds vote of the governing body enacting such ordinance;f) Regulating the anchoring of vessels other than live-aboard vessels outsidethe marked boundaries of mooring fields ...(cont. next section).

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Section (2) 327.60; subsections (f) through (h) continued

(continued)327.60(2) (f) Regulating the anchoring of vessels other than live-aboard vessels outsidethe marked boundaries of mooring fields permitted as providedin s. 327.40;g) Regulating engine or exhaust noise, except as provided in s. 327.65; orh) That conflicts with any provisions of this chapter or any amendments theretoor rules adopted thereunder.

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Section (3) 327.60

327.60(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit local government authoritiesfrom the enactment or enforcement of regulations which prohibit or restrict themooring or anchoring of floating structures or live-aboard vessels within theirjurisdictions or of any vessels within the marked boundaries of mooring fieldspermitted as provided in s. 327.40. However, local governmental authorities areprohibited from regulating the anchoring outside of such mooring fields of vesselsother than live-aboard vessels as defined in s. 327.02.

Additional Resources

Florida Statutes, Chapter 327 "Anchoring Away; Government Regulation and the Rights of Navigation in Florida." Authors, Tom Ankersen, Richard Hamann, Byron Flagg. A publication sponsored by the Florida Sea Grant.

Florida Statute Chapter 327 "Florida Vessel Safety Law"

Anchoring Away; Government Regulation and the Rights of Navigation in Florida

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