The first problem came when the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) allowed the borders of the five pilot areas to expand vastly. Here's a link to the FWC site. With permitted mooring fields in Key West and Marathon in the Keys, the entire area of Monroe County became a pilot area. This covers most of the Florida Keys! In conjunction with a mooring field in Stuart the FWC allowed Martin County to be included. The cities of St. Augustine, Sarasota, and St. Petersburg round out the five trial areas.
Despite the wording in the statute, which says in part that the program will allow for regulations governing anchoring of non-liveaboard vessels "outside the marked boundaries of public mooring fields," the law is being interpreted to mean almost anywhere within the entire jurisdiction of the permitted cities and counties. In other words, St. Augustine is now pushing for laws to limit anchoring within the entire city limits, and Monroe County is considering anchoring limits in Key Largo, some 40-50 miles from the nearest mooring field. Sarasota, like St. Augustine, is also considering anchoring restrictions everywhere within city limits. Same in St. Pete. Martin County wants to limit anchoring at Jensen Beach, many miles from the moorings at Stuart. Talk about taking a mile when you're given an inch!
Already St. Augustine has drafted ordinances including a 10-day anchoring limit, requirements for boat inspections, and other ordinances that not only infringe on boaters' traditional rights of navigation, but are actually in direct contradiction to the goals stated in the ordinance itself! One of the stated goals of the Pilot Program is to "Promote public access to the waters of this state." It is impossible to see how anchoring restrictions accomplish this goal.