South Florida Intercoastal

Advocacy Report

By: MIASF Staff

Date posted: Dec 21, 2020 Mon

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was established in 1990 to protect the sensitive environment of the world’s third largest barrier coral reef. Several years after the establishment of the sanctuary there were a number of high-profile groundings with extensive damage prompting a regulation prohibiting any vessel over 50 meters to enter the sanctuary. This is a federal regulation which Florida Fish and Wildlife has been charged with enforcement. Be sure to mention this to any yacht over 165’ planning a trip to the Keys in a proactive step to prevent a bad experience.

The next phase in the New River Bridge Study is scheduled to begin in the new year. Broward County and Brightline are in discussions on use of commuter rail along the FEC corridor following last month’s agreement with Miami-Dade. The Miami-Dade agreement is $50 million initial payment and $12 million annually. Current train bridge regulations are in the final stages of the federal approval process. The US Coast Guard (USCG) is working on a modification to better clarify the intent of minor repairs.

The ability of yacht crew to find an open US Consulate issuing visas continues to be a challenge and it is anticipated to continue to be difficult as countries enhance regulations to control the current spike of COVID-19. We are monitoring for possible changes to the current rule recognizing yacht crew as exempt from the US travel ban as essential workers as it was part of a presidential order. On January 20th our new president may have a different view on this policy. It is recommended that any vessels coming up on crew rotation should try and complete their travel before 1/20/21.

USCG Headquarters has been in discussion with Sector Miami to assist in drafting the 300gt US flag regulation proposal. MIASF has agreed to help develop the local large yacht knowledgeable working group. Meetings will be scheduled at the beginning of the new year.

In January MIASF will partner with the Water Taxi to provide the Broward Legislative Delegation with a waterway tour of the New River. Representatives who take advantage of this opportunity to learn about the issues and concerns of the marine industry before heading to Tallahassee in March should be commended for their willingness to learn about our issues.