The town of Longboat Key is not currently enforcing an ordinance that prohibits people from anchoring their boats off the island’s shores for more than 72 hours.
The town modified a town code in March after the Legislature made modifications that made it more difficult for town and counties to enforce live-aboard and mooring regulations.
Live-aboards, which refer to the occupancy or use of a boat for residency instead of navigation, are not allowed off the shores of Longboat Key.
However, Police Chief Al Hogle confirmed for The Longboat Observer that his department is monitoring but not enforcing at least two live-aboards, one who resides near New Pass on the south end of the Key, and one who lives near Longbeach Village on the north end.
Other live-aboard cases have been monitored in the last year near Spinnaker Lane in Country Club Shores and near Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub in the Village, Hogle said.
Town code states, however, that it’s “unlawful for any person to moor or anchor any live-aboard vessel at any location or locations upon the waters of the town for any period of time in excess of 72 hours in any 30-day period” unless the boat is docked at a commercial marina or is given a temporary permit by the town manager.
But, for now, Hogle said Marine Patrol Officer Dennis Silverio Jr. and Capt. Steve Mislyan are only monitoring potential live-aboards and explaining the code to boaters.
“I have received some information from other municipalities that there may be some issues with enforcing the portion of the code involving mooring for no longer than 72 hours,” said Hogle, who declined to divulge any more information until he can talk with town attorney David Persson. “It’s important to make sure everything is clear before we enforce this portion of the code.”
Hogle said boaters have been willing to move their boats away from shore and are, for the most part, complying with the ordinance.
Persson, meanwhile, said he was surprised to hear there may be an issue with the amended ordinance that he drafted and was approved in March by the Town Commission.
“The town modified its rules and regulations this last spring to address the change in state law,” Persson said. “The bottom line is you can’t be moored off the Key for more than 72 hours,” Persson said.
Despite Hogle’s concern, his department is not turning its back on the ordinance altogether.
A Nov. 17 police department incident report states that police responded to a complaint of a boat moored offshore near Linley Street in the Village.
The report states that the boat “has been there for several days, per the complainant. There are also numerous other vessels anchored in the bay across from the Linley Street boat ramp. These may be live-aboard vessels. Marine unit and patrol will be conducting follow-up patrols, issuing warnings and enforcing town codes where applicable.”
Contact Kurt Schultheis at firstname.lastname@example.org.