Key West has always been a magical place. The people are unique, the attitude is uninhibited, and the government is the best Uncle Louie can provide between margaritas and marijuana breaks. I know that sounds harsh, but when the local government takes over the business of marina moorings and limits its competition by passing regulations that are contrary to the maritime laws established in the 1800’s there is a problem. If you step into the wayback machine you will find the Uncla Sam setup specific anchoring rights for vessels and property ownership rights (in a nut shell(as I understand it)) that says; property ownership is limitd to the low water mark, after that it is federal/state water/property. He (uncle sam) also gave unrestricted anchoring rights to vessels transiting an area (again, as I understand it(in a nutshell)). The City of Key West is forcing legally anchored boats to move in a effort to expand its controll over anchoring vessels and it allows them to collect fees for vessels using one of their anthorized moorings. Now your saying to youself “So what, St. Augustine, Titusville, Dinner Key, Marathon, and Sarasota are doing the same thing” and you would be exactly correct. The problem is in Key West, the mooring field is a (I’m guessing) easily a 2 mile trip across a large open water area, up a channel, along houseboat row, under a bridge, along charter fish boat row to a small dock near a boat ramp where you then hoof it across a parking lot to a singlewide government issue trailer only to find a handwritten sign that says “Back in 10 minutes”. If you recall the movie “The Blues Brothers” it was quite humorus when they drove to Chicago at night wearing their sunglasses, arrived at the county tax assors office with all of the city, state and army hot on their tale only to find a sign that said “back in 10 minutes”. I was not pleased to make the journey to duly pay my mooring fee in 90 degree heat to find “back in 10 minutes”, but I was polite.
Government take a note: If you are going to force people to use your services, don’t piss them off!”