A Different Kind of Anchoring Dispute

Yesterday we left Englewood Beach and traveled up the waterway to the Sarasota area. We had a friend in their sailboat following us. It was a beautiful day to travel. I read Claiborne Young’s description of an anchorage nearby, and wanted to check it out. It’s called Robert’s Bay.


We pulled in just like the photo shows and had at least 6 feet of water (mostly more) all the way in. We set the hook mid island and settled down to enjoy the scenery. Within minutes a boat approached honking his horn and waving his arms.
“You can’t anchor here,” he yelled. Then he did the same to our buddy boat. He had a big sign on his vessel that said Custom Private Charters, with a phone number. 941-312-0800

I called the number as he drove away to discuss the matter. I can’t say he was totally rude, but he did mention running back and night on plane and possibly running us down. He said the area was a designated recreation area and therefore we couldn’t anchor. There are no signs, nor any mention on any charts or guidebooks that I have. I figured he was full of crap, but didn’t wish to start a confrontation. After consulting with our friends, we decided to leave.


It was a lovely spot, we were a little tired from the days travels, so our departure was reluctant. Today I went back over everything I could find, and remembered the Florida Sea Grant Anchorage Inventory. Here’s the listing:


I don’t see how that prevents a cruising vessel from anchoring there. We were only planning to stay the night and move on in the morning. I’ve since contacted the offending boater via his website.


I’ve also emailed the FWC for further clarification. It’s a shame, because the anchorage is quite pleasant, (if you draw 4 foot or less). So this time, it was not a landowner causing friction, it was a fellow boater. A boater who is ignorant of current Florida law apparently.

17 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Anchoring Dispute

  1. kirk chamberlain

    Bullies. I anchored in a harbor of refuge and been asked to leave, once in Road Island and in Virginia. I am looking forward to spending some time in that area but this isn’t good. It is hard to see these changes. Money buys the waterfront and they don’t want to see boats.

  2. Wally Moran

    This guy lives just off Roberts Bay according to his website. I guess, like all the rest of these people, he figures he owns the water. Ed, you should call the USCG and register a complaint. That will keep him from doing this again, since he has a business to protect.

  3. Troy Roberts

    I don’t know about the legality of anchoring there, but the area around Skier’s Island (as it is locally known) is a designated 35 mph zone at all times of the year. There is a lot of high speed traffic through that area. There is boating traffic leaving Grand Canal and traveling at 35 mph as well as boats pulling skiers, tubes, and the like most of the day.

    Again, I don’t know the legality of anchoring there, but if you are in the area again I would suggest that there are better locations designated slow speed areas for anchoring.

    Here is a document that has a map showing the location of the 35 mph zone. http://myfwc.com/media/439579/68C-22.026_June2010.pdf

  4. Steve

    You can’t let this story end here unless you are more interested in authorship than actually helping your fellow boaters. Actually I’m looking to be told who was right and who was wrong without being required to make my own “necessary” inferences, please . . .

  5. Capt. Frank

    I am the boater that asked the two vessels not to anchor there! I know the area well as I travel that spot 2 to 4 times each and every day. I informed them that they were anchored in a “Designated water sports area” this area is a 35mph area and as is mostly skiers and tubers and well as the hundreds of boaters entering and exiting from the “grand canal” daily. If you are returning from a day on the water the area they were anchored was in a blind spot. There are 4 signs posted on piles in the 4 quarters of the area clearly marked advising this as a designated water sports area. The Roberts Bay anchorage is approx.. 500 yards to the north and on the day in question I pointed to the other vessels anchored there and told them that that was the correct area. I am not the “a hole that they imply and resent being called that. If I was in theirs home area and they told me of this issue I would respect their concern and take their advise and local knowledge as helpful not as a macho insult. PS As I have reached out to the 2 boaters in question they will not reply. PSS The Sarasota Marine Patrol reached out to me and confirmed what I have said. Thanks for reading this. Hopefully the sailors in question will also read this and take down their negative posting!!! Thanks Capt. Frank 941-312-0800

    1. Sean

      Dear Captain Frank,

      There is a big difference between telling people they *can’t* anchor someplace, and that it is inadvisable to do so. FWIW, we anchor in “designated water sports” areas all the time. The water is a shared resource — areas so designated are NOT “reserved” for that purpose, it simply means that it is permissible there. That permission, BTW, does not absolve those engaged in water sports from the responsibility for their wakes. Neither does the fact that this is a “blind corner” absolve any mariner of maintaining a proper lookout and AVOIDING VESSELS LAWFULLY ANCHORED AND SHOWING PROPER DAY SHAPES OR LIGHTS.

      If you want to play water police, perhaps you should quit the charter business and join FWC or the Coast Guard. Otherwise, frame your “advice” as exactly that.

      Lastly, do I really need to point out just how ridiculous it is to tell people that it’s not safe to anchor someplace because it is a “blind spot,” but that it is perfectly safe to water ski there? Methinks you are merely trying to justify your own boorish behavior.

  6. Capt Frank

    Thank you for your opinion! Just like you are giving me “your” OPINION I was advising, not telling, the anchored boaters not to anchor there! END OF STORY! Move on!

    1. Sean

      Frank, the world does not work like this. You can’t behave this way, and then expect to tell people to “move on” because you don’t like what you hear. The original story is quite clear on what you said, not once, but apparently three times. Now that you see it makes you look bad, you are trying to convince everyone that you didn’t really do that, it was all some kind of misunderstanding. I don’t believe you. Perhaps a little contrition would have helped your image here, rather than all the defensive bluster. Six posts? Really? I think it is you who needs to “move on,” as you say. Your blood pressure will go down if you just unsubscribe from the replies.

  7. Wally Moran

    Quite frankly Captain Frank – boaters are bloody tired of Florida waterfront homeowners ‘telling’ us what our rights are. As Sean noted above, the waters are a shared resource – you might just want to read the Public Trust Doctrine and educate yourself on it. This same game is being played in Fort Lauderdale’s Middle River and it’s equally as indefensible there. If someone wants to anchor in these locations, it’s not your job to police it. Move inland if you have issues with this.
    Maybe the mothers of FL waterfront property owners never taught their children the concept of ‘sharing’?


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