Anchorage registrants drift into Bradenton Beach

Sailors on extended stays in Bradenton Beach’s anchorage field are drifting into city hall to register their vessels under a new city policy.

But navigation to city hall was slow last week. As of Jan. 26, the city clerk’s office reported just three registrants who paid the $15 annual registration fee.

The city had instituted a Feb. 1 registration deadline for boaters currently staying in the field, which is just south of the Historic Bridge Street Pier and north of Leffis Key.

Last October, the city commission unanimously adopted a resolution creating the registration requirement for boaters who anchor for more than 24 hours in city waters.

The commissioners said the fee would cover processing costs, not serve as a revenue-generator for the city.

The registration form consists of two pages and asks for general identification details — name, address, date of birth — as well as details for the boat and the types and numbers of pets on board.

City attorney Ricinda Perry said the registration would make it easier for city code and police officers to contact boaters in an emergency, whether an approaching storm or a sinking vessel, as well as police the watery neighborhood.

City officials said their authority to register boaters in the anchorage field comes from Florida Statute 2006-345, special legislation enacted five years ago that extended the city’s boundaries 500 feet from the shore into the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay.

The measure, signed by then-Gov. Jeb Bush, also authorized the city to exercise certain police powers and jurisdictional authority within the waters in an effort to abate nuisances, enforce sanitary laws and regulations and suppress crime.

The vessel registration is part of a broader initiative in the Bradenton Beach anchorage field.

A city advisory committee is tasked with recommending how best to manage the field now that the city administration has decided not to build a managed mooring field.Also, boaters in the field are working to organize a yacht club that they liken to a condominium association on the water.

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