To the Editor:Attention all visiting boaters and yachtsmen intent on anchoring in Boca Grande Bayou, in proximity of the Pink Elephant Restaurant. Be advised of the existing attitude of the Gasparilla Inn management,who said that visiting boaters and yachtsmen, are not welcome, and that boats anchored in the location will be charged with trespass and the owners arrested.
The Gasparilla Inn claims ownership of the bayou bottom land. However, during a recent interview with Lt. Jim Brown of the Lee County Sheriffʼs Office regarding this anchorage issue, Lt. Brown stated, “The sheriffʼs office could not prove or disprove ownership of the aforementioned bottom lands, as existing records are incomplete, and that it may never be known who does own these bottom lands.”
Lt. Brown also stated that, “As long as vessels were in compliance with state and federal regulations, his deputies would not force anyone to leave, as ownership of the bottom lands was undecided.”
It is this writerʼs learned opinion that, as long as this bayou is open to navigation, and since anchoring is an integral function of navigation, anchoring in this location is permissible, as long as vessels complywith state and federal regulations.
The Innʼs position may be in violation of state and federal statues regarding interference with navigation and anchoring, as defined in Florida Statute 327.60.
I recognize that, in the past, abandoned and derelict boats have been problematic. However, that issue has been effectively addressed. The issue at hand is the right of visiting boaters and yachtsmen to seek safe harbor and anchor in the bayou, and allow them access to visit the beautiful town of Boca Grande without fear of intimidation and threats of arrest.
Terry SibleyBoca Grande
E-mail (required, but will not display)
Notify me of follow-up comments
Click for a larger view