NEWS

Bill would make it illegal to anchor a boat overnight at Crab Island

TOM McLAUGHLIN 315-4435 | @TomMnwfdn tmclaughlin@nwfdailynews.com
A Fort Myers lawmaker wants to make it illegal to anchor a boat overnight at Crab Island.

A Fort Myers lawmaker wants to make it illegal to anchor a boat overnight at Crab Island.

State Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-Fort Myers, has introduced legislation that would make it a non-criminal law violation to anchor or moor a vessel overnight at any of seven designated “recreational boating zones” in the state.

Six of the targeted boating zones are in Broward or Miami-Dade counties. The single exception is Okaloosa’s famous Crab Island.

State Rep. Matt Gaetz, who sits on the State Affairs Committee Caldwell chairs, wasn’t sure if his friend from South Florida had ever actually visited the popular water covered island just west of Destin.

Caldwell couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

Gaetz conceded he likely influenced Caldwell’s decision to add Crab Island to the recreational boating zone list.

“We have held several hearings and workshops on overnight anchoring,” he said.

The bill Caldwell introduced this week would allow “everything to happen on Crab Island that happens now during the day,” Gaetz said.

Its intent is to target the permanent and semi-permanent structures that pop up around Crab Island during the summer months by forcing their removal from the area at night.

“We want a fun and festive place, but the floating trailer park atmosphere is not consistent with the type of community we’re building,” Gaetz said.

Caldwell’s bill, which Gaetz said is still very much a work in progress, bars the anchoring of any vessel in a designated zone from a half hour after sunset to a half hour before sunrise.

Violators would pay a $50 civil penalty.