The Search For Bright Waters

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kicked Out of Miami

There may not be any laws about the length of time you can anchor outside of South Beach, Miami but the local police have there ways of letting you know it's time to leave.  Last Monday we were told to move our boat because we were too close to a channel even though we had been there a week without a problem.  It was night so we anchored just a little further west in between two islands with nice houses on them.  That was a mistake.

The cops came back and again told us we couldn't anchor there, this time very meanly and without giving a reason and said they were gonna hold the law to a T for us.  They didn't like that we spray painted our dinghy numbers on and would write us a ticket if they saw us in it. Both times they asked when we were leaving Miami.

So we got the dinghy numbers fixed and moved our boat to the other side of the bridge near other anchored boats and thought we were safe.  Well the same two cops found us Saturday night and boarded us and gave a full vessel check.  We passed everything except our anchor light wasn't on.

We usually always keep the anchor light on but when we got to this new anchorage it was far away from any channel and only one other boat out of 15 had there lights on.  We notice that for most of the anchorages we are at. So we asked another sailor and they said that the light didn't have to be on if you weren't in a channel.  Well that is wrong because we got a $90 ticket for not having our anchor light on.  And they again asked us when we were leaving.

It doesn't end there.  Sunday while taking the dinghy into town the same cop saw us and pulled us over for not having the dinghy numbers on both sides of the boat.  We didn't have our dinghy registration with us so he wrote us another $90 ticket.  He pointed out two more things wrong with our dinghy and said he was cutting us slack but he would write us another ticket the next time he sees us and we are non compliant, which could be for anything since there are a million rules we don't know.

We get the hint, if you can even call it that.

So now we are now very ready to leave!  We finally decided to look at the weather on our own and picked Monday to leave.  Then another sailor came up to us and said they were leaving Tuesday so we are going to join them.  So Tuesday is the day, weather permitting.  We told the police we were leaving Tuesday and i'm sure if we don't they will be back to write more tickets.

Besides that, we have had a great time here. And even made it into town at night finally where it is even more crowded than during the day.  Way too expensive for us tho.  We sat down at a piano bar and ordered a drink, $12 each!  The music was good and the bartender gave us a drink on the house so $30 for an hour wasn't horrible but we promptly got out of there.

That is another reason we need to get out of here asap.  With all the delicious restaurants within walking distance, South Beach is draining us of funds.

When we got back to our dinghy that night we found a soaking wet cat in it!  We gave it food and I wanted to keep it but it was mean and ran away which is probably for the best.  Our boat is crowded enough with two cats on board.

When we got our Bahama charts we also picked up the Bahama courtesy flag and a much delayed American flag.

Friday night another boat in our anchorage lost their dinghy.  They read our blog and follow us on facebook so they saw that we were right next to them and asked us for help.  We picked Chris up in our dinghy and headed down south looking for it hoping it hadn't already made it to the ocean!  We couldn't find it but the next day Chris found it tied up at the local dinghy dock.  We are glad someone is having good luck!

Monday we will clean and prep the boat and move to a new anchorage near the ocean inlet.  And Tuesday morning at the crack of dawn we will depart!

PS: Here is a gallery of our ICW trip from Maryland to Miami

12 comments: said...

Horrible experience! I'm sorry to hear that. It's such a shame that the Miami police were like that to you. Head to Fort Lauderdale, they should be friendlier. There's a mooring field near Las Olas Road, just north of the inlet on the west side of the ICW. Tons of sailboats.

We're following your blog at Love it!

Captain Dan (Dock Bum) said...

Not sure why, but your "SPOT" is not updating with your position.

Laura and Hans said...

You do NOT have to use an anchor light if you're out of a channel. Although I did just read in one of our cruising guides that a couple of those anchorages do require it(?). I'm sorry you were treated so badly, I mean it's not like you were drunk and disorderly and you certainly spent enough money while you were there.
I think you've picked the perfect day to cross; following a week of southerly winds! We wanted to leave now too but Hans has a meeting today and then our dodger tore and won't be back from the canvas guy until Wednesday. Looks like next week for us.
Good Luck!!!

Anonymous said...

Did you remove my post? If so, that was my last one.

If you did not remove it, I will repost it. If it was too lenghty, I'll shorten it. People need to know the law.


Mid-Life Cruising! said...

Such a shame that ya'll were what I'd call harassed! What those cops don't realize is that they're giving the place a bad rap. Glad you had a good time though, and good luck on your crossing.

Anonymous said...

Guys, Turn your SPOT on Tuesday as you cross so we can watch over you.
Will say a Prayer that Gulf Stream is calm and all goes well. Great Blog and good luck. Those beautiful
blue ocean and Bahamas Bank color awaits you. Have a Blast, JC

Deb said...

Un-frickin-believable. We don't have money to sustain Medicare for poor children's healthcare but we have money enough to post cops on the water to harass liveaboards. You just gotta love the old USA.

S/V Nomad

Miami dentist said...

I have also heard a lot about miami and its beach i'll sure i'll visit at once.

Joey and Christine said...

Thanks for the comments!

Jay, we did not delete your other comment and we never will. I dont know why it didnt post, try again maybe shorter. We did read it on our email though, thanks.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for the accusation then. I did notice a few comments by others deleted but when that happened the fact that a comment deleted showed. I didn't think I had said anything too offensive.

I'll repost in two pieces.

In addition to the post I wanted to point out that the person whose land you landed your dinghy on may have started this harassment.

Anonymous said...

Part one-

I’m sorry you had so much trouble. I agree they harassed you but they know they can get away with it because you don’t have money. When I posted earlier about the dinghy this is what I was talking about. You must look like you know what you are doing to the letter of the law or one of these people can take you apart. Even if you have violations on the inside of the boat, they will be less likely to board if they see everything on the outside in proper order. So do everything right that you can.

From a pamphlet entitled “Federal Requirements and Safety Tips for Recreational Boats” dated September 2005- anchored vessels at night “All vessels at anchor must display anchor lights. If your vessel is less that 164 feet/50 meters in length, then its anchor light is an all-around white light visible where it can best be seen from all directions” They don’t say it hear but I believe some of these solar lawn light are illegal because they cannot be seen for 2 miles.

An Exception is noted-“If your vessel is less than 23 feet/7 meters in length, then it is not required to display an anchor light or shape unless it is anchored in or near a narrow channel, fairway or anchorage, or where other vessels normally navigate” Since we are talking about vessels way over 23 feet, I’d say this exception does not apply.

Anonymous said...

Part two-

A Second exception is noted- “If you vessel is less than 65.6 feet/20 meters in length, then it is not required to display an anchor light if it is anchored in Inland Waters in a special anchorage designated by the Secretary of Transportation.” Special anchorage areas are noted on the charts. My understanding is if it’s not on the chart, it’s not a special anchorage area.

Another quote regarding negligent operation (I believe failing to show an anchor light easily qualifies)-“Negligent or grossly negligent operation of a vessel, so as to endanger lives and/or property, are prohibited by law. The Coast Guard may impose a civil penalty for negligent operation. Grossly negligent operation is a criminal offense and an operator may be fined up to $5000, imprisoned for one year, or both.” Worse case, someone hits you in the dark and that results in a death- you would likely be held liable for that.

Since you run a “Hey read this book” blog, let me suggest one to you. “Chapman Piloting and Seamanship” by Elbert S. Maloney. This one could save you a lot of tickets and fines-or worse out of the country.

Also read the updated pamphet I cited and others produced by the states or foreign countries you cross through.

Most of all, it’s “Yes sir”, “No sir” when they come on board because there’s always something they can find if they look hard enough.

Lastly, the more demand there is for a destination, the more likely you will run into this sort of thing. Who bothered you in North Carolina?