Mooring Field 2/11/2020

There was a public meeting sponsored by the city on February 11, 2020, to discuss the feasibility of establishing a Mooring Field for Biscayne Bay.

If approved, this has the potential to bring needed regulation to boats that are anchored in Biscayne Bay from the Sunset Harbor Marina extending south to MacArthur Causeway.

Currently, per state law, the city of Miami Beach has no authority to regulate any of the boats anchored in the Bay. Over the past few years, the Bay has been taken over by long term boats anchored in the Bay, some remaining permanently in the Bay. Many of these boats have no sanitation facilities on board and dispose of their waste in the Bay. Under Florida state law, if a Mooring Field is established that meets specific state requirements, then the state may authorize local jurisdictions to gain some regulatory compliance over the boats in Biscayne Bay. Addressing sanitary and environmental issues would be a key goal along with setting time periods to be anchored in a defined area which would improve many environmental concerns.

Facilities for the Mooring Field may be established near the public docks at Maurice Gibb Memorial Park in Sunset Harbor.  

About 60 residents attended, including the consulting company performing the feasibility study, city staff, and Commissioner Ricky Arriola who is at the forefront of the mooring field proposal.

The audience consensus was that the current “anything goes” situation needs to change. The audience complained about loud music, dogs barking, human waste pollution, derelict boats, boats docked illegally to the seawall, boaters trespassing on condominium private property. A mooring field would require that each boat and owner be registered with an onsite dock master, pay a daily fee which includes the use of a bathroom and laundry facilities, and mandatory septic service. All vessels and owners would be required to follow a set of rules that would be established.
Boats would tie up to a buoy that is attached to a permanent anchor screwed into the seafloor. This would reduce damage to protected Seagrass in the Bay. Boats would be evenly spaced and lined up neatly. Mooring location would begin at section 1 next to Gibb Park with capability up to 150 boats. It could expand to 3 additional sections extending all the way to MacArthur Causeway. The project timetable is approximately three years once approval is given from the City Commission.

The residents attending were generally in favor of a mooring field because boats would then be required to follow a set of rules. In addition, many in the audience stated they want the city to immediately tow away problem boats.

There will be additional public meetings to discuss the mooring field proposal and WAvNA will post those meeting dates in future newsletters.