Madeira Beach gives final OK to new rules for liveaboard boats

Shown are liveaboard boats that will be regulated under a city ordinance approved by the City Commission on Oct. 8.

MADEIRA BEACH — The Madeira Beach City Commission gave final approval to an ordinance Oct. 8 that sets regulations for boaters who live on board their boats. The law requires liveaboard boat owners who dock in city waters to get a permit costing $5, and pump out at the city marina. They can then anchor for 72 hours before having to move on.

Nearby condo owners and American Legion members favor the regulations, which many said were overdue. Liveaboard boat owners mostly opposed the law, saying they were being penalized for the irresponsible actions of a few.

Pam Rasmussen, a representative of the local American Legion branch, said the Legion commander and officers “support this 100%.”

“We see the bad things going on,” Rasmussen said. “All of our patrons see these types of things and we get a lot of complaints about it.”

Linda Mathews said she “looks right into those boats” from her condo window.

“Some are quite trashy,” she said.

Condo owner Charles Pisieczko said all the liveaboards’ trash “washes up on our property. It’s there. I’m not willing to see my property depreciate so they can have the pleasure of living on a boat.”

There needs to be some regulation, he said.

“This is the proper way to do it,” he said.

But liveaboard boat owner Crystal Slocum said “this is our culture and the way we choose to live. A few of us are a problem, but the majority of us are responsible, law-abiding citizens. We don’t want to be forced to leave.”

Power boat owner Bob Kish said the majority of transient boat owners are cruising boaters, who are tourists who spend a week or two here anchored in the city. They see the sights, shop and eat in the restaurants.

“They spend money here and are a huge revenue generator for the city,” he said.

Kish said the new regulations are not needed.

“We have the tools to enforce these rules now,” he said.