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Bimini mooring field open house Tuesday

By Staff | Jun 11, 2020

The public is invited to attend an informational open house Tuesday on Phase 2 of the Bimini Basin mooring field project.

The open house will take place at the Chester Street Resource Center at 4816 Chester St. from 5 to 7 p.m. This informal session will provide an update on the next steps in establishing a mooring field in Bimini Basin.

Attendees may come at any time. All information will be posted on the project website for those who prefer not to attend in person. Please consider social distancing.

A mooring field is where boaters may anchor utilizing an organized and permanent mooring system affixed to the bottom of the waterway for specified periods of time.

This may include short term anchoring of vessels to semi-permanent for live-aboard vessels. The mooring field area is a defined boundary that is legally regulated and complies with state, federal, and local laws.

Currently, under Florida law, there is no existing mooring field within the Bimini Basin, and therefore no legal way to regulate existing boat anchoring within the basin.

Mayor Joe Coviello said the ordinance started when the basin became loaded with sailboats, many of which were derelict.

“We want to get control of the Bimini basin as far as the anchoring. At one point there were as many as 20 sailboats anchored in the basin and residents did not appreciate that,” Coviello said. “Without a mooring field, we don’t have much jurisdiction.”

An established mooring field would allow the city to regulate boat anchoring within the mooring field once adopted and permitted.

In June 2018, the Council approved an ordinance to establish a mooring field in the South Cape waterbody, an area the city hopes will attract private investment to make it one of the crown jewels of the community.

“It will give people a place to moor their boat. There would be a small fee associated with it, and it would be an attraction for boaters to come stay for a limited time,” Coviello said. “By creating a mooring field, we have a say on how it gets utilized.”

Noteworthy regulations could include the “515” rule, which is five days in, one out, then five more days in within a given month; commercial activities would be prohibited (with the exception of pump-out vessels and water taxis); vessels would be removed in advance of special events, and unattended vessels would be removed after 72 hours unless the harbormaster is advised.

Mooring fields currently exist in many nearby areas, including Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach and Punta Gorda.