South Florida Intercoastal

Advocacy Report

By: MIASF Staff

Date posted: Nov 18, 2020 Wed

We have exciting election news to share. We will have one representative in Tallahassee who will know and care about all our issues. Kelly Skidmore has been elected to district 81 in the State House of Representatives. When you see Representative Skidmore be sure to congratulate her.

This year at FLIBS, the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection both made their annual visit to the boat show. This was a great opportunity to introduce new leadership to our industry, take them on a tour of a yacht or two, then sit down to a small round table discussion. USCG spoke about its concern that yachts are failing to file notice of arrival in a timely manner, if at all. There are currently 19 yacht cases being reviewed for violation. It is important to note that ANOA has been in effect since 2008 and filing is electronic, reducing many reasons for non-compliance.

The round table session with CBP included advice on visa extensions - be sure to file the extension, as travel is still restricted. There continues to be challenges finding consulate offices open to apply for new visas. The consulates follow the host country regulations and currently only have emergency hours in most places. There were questions about B1 visas being permitted to work on U.S.-flagged vessels and the answer was yes, under certain conditions.

MIASF’s lobbyists were in town for the show so we sat down with all three (local, state, and federal) and reviewed this year’s priorities and discovered there were many links to our issues from the local level to the state and on to federal. Locally, we continue to monitor the train bridge operations, will petition to open the Manatee Protection Plan to redistribute the slip allocation, and continue to urge active marketing of the boating industry from government agencies. In Tallahassee we are monitoring FWC legislation, campaigning for the next step of the New River bridge project to move forward and preparing to take on guiding the amended Manatee Protection Plan through the second phase of approval. Finally, in D.C. we continue to monitor the development of the regulation that will permit a vessel over 300gt to fly an American flag, prepare for the 3rd phase of the Manatee Protection Plan approval, lobby for simplified language in the U.S. Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act to reduce the requirements for yacht work, and identify grant opportunities for infrastructure (bridges, seawalls and dredging) and business assistance. Last and most critical is to develop working relationships with incoming leadership and those agencies with impact on visas, cruising licenses and entry into the U.S., and boating in general.

Speaking of the Legislature, every year MIASF participates in Broward Days and specifically the marine component. All marine stakeholders meet and determine the marine concerns critical to Broward, create an issue paper and share it with the Broward Legislative Delegation (our elected officials). Typically, during the legislative session, we go to Tallahassee and lobby our issues. This year may be different, but we are still moving forward with the identification of our goals and communicating them to our elected officials, although person-to-person visits in Tallahassee may not be possible this year. Please let MIASF know if you would like to be involved with Broward Days.

DEP’s Coral Reef Conservation Program has begun a new process specifically focused on engaging the fishing community (fishing stakeholders and industry) and to harness the capacity of this community to advance conservation and sustainable use of the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area (ECA). The new process is facilitated by a project team from the University of Florida. MIASF holds a committee seat in this group, which is tasked with developing user specific recommendations to be provided to the Coral Reef Conservation Program.