Water Ownership

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Thread: Water Ownership

  1. #1
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    Water Ownership

    In most navigable marine areas, isn't the water below the high tide mark owned by the government? What are the exceptions? I always see where residential areas have keep out signs and try to block the waterway, but do they actually own the water?

  2. #2
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    General rule is that if you can get to it by boat from a ramp/launch thats useable by the public, the water belongs to the public. I have encountered this problem several times over the years when fishing in Saint Andrews bay/Panama city area. There are a lot of inlets/bayous in this area and some folks that live on the water will yell and shout and threaten to call the FWC/police if you don't get away from their dock or just get out of the immediate area. I usually smile and tell them that I'll be standing by until the law arrives. (they never do). Fresh water lakes and contractor dug bayous fall under completely different rules. My sister lives on a lake in Orlando and its surrounded by houses, but the city/county owns a boat ramp on the lake, so they can't keep the public off of the lake (they've tried). If a contractor cuts waterways as a part of a development they may be able to restrict access to residents. I'm not sure about that issue. I do know that if you are on public/navigable water that the water is public and you can fish/dive/swim all around any docks/piers that are on the water as long as you don't touch them. I know some home owners in this area that put obstacles in the water around their docks so lures/hooks would hang up and discouage fishing. A few have even put motion activated sprinkler systems in so you get wet if you come to close to their property/dock. Their official story is that its to keep the birds off.

    FLCoyote

  3. #3
    Senior Member Roc N Rol's Avatar
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    If the marina was dug out of dry land to create a marina the marina owns the water and bottom. The same with communities that have dug canals for dockage. There property line is still where the property was before they dug the ground out.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Team Sabatage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roc N Rol View Post
    If the marina was dug out of dry land to create a marina the marina owns the water and bottom. The same with communities that have dug canals for dockage. There property line is still where the property was before they dug the ground out.
    Wrong. Once a marina operates the owner only owns the land under the water and such structures as may be attached to the land. Unless it can be shown that the dug area has been flooded with water previously owned by the permitee, then the land has been flooded by public owned water and that water is retained by the public.
    All water in the US is held in the public trust for public use if it is not wholey surrounded by private property or subject to previous water laws, such as those out west. That goes back to the Magna Carta. As we speak even the water laws of the west are under constant challange as to the public access allowed on them.
    Once the marina allows a boat to exit it's property and into the public waterway all waters from which the vessel origionated are now commercially navigable by definition. If the marina owner does not charge a any fees, then the commercial navigability is in question, but the marina will not exist very long.
    You going to talk, or fish?

  5. #5
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    Correct

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roc N Rol View Post
    If the marina was dug out of dry land to create a marina the marina owns the water and bottom. The same with communities that have dug canals for dockage. There property line is still where the property was before they dug the ground out.
    I am sure this is correct.

  7. #7
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    Property lines don't change when you dig a canal or basin, but the ability to "navigate" in that area may still be in the public hands. Example is my neighbors. I live on the Hillsborough canal in Deerfield Beach. There are three "lagoons" associated with our neighborhood and the bottom of those lagoons is title to the adjacent property owner. This comes into play with dock permits, etc, and there is even a deed restriction that prohibits anyone from increasing land mass by filling water. But, they can't keep fisherman out of the lagoon.
    Due to the Current State of the Economy,

    The light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Capt.Ed's Avatar
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    As a marina owner/operator, of a dug out basin. I can tell you that the marina waters do belong to the owner. If you or your vessel are a problem to the operation of the marina or any navigational hassard I can and have had people removed from the waters in my marina.
    Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with boats entering or fishing in the marina waters, However I must take into account the private properties of the boat owners docked at my marina.
    With that being said, if you are coming close, touching or otherwise interfearing with any normal day operation of my marina I will call the law and the law will escort you away from my property and waters. If you do not comply, you will be arrested for trespassing.
    Yes, this HAS occured at my marina on a couple of occaisions.
    One a (bad) fisherman (couldn't cast worth a crap) kept casting and catching boat rails etc. The boat owners complained to him and he told them he has every right to be there. He caught a couple more boats and the law (FWC) was called. One of the boat owners (he has casted on) filed a complaint and the fisherman was arrested for tresspassing and obstruction of a business operation?? (I never said a word so I don't know how they added the second charge to that one)
    another time a boat came in an anchored up in the middle of the marina to fish, I asked them politely to move the boat to one side or the other (they refused) I asked them to leave (they refused) I called the sherriffs office, cops arrived and asked them to leave. They said they had every right to be there and refused to leave, Cop asked them to come to shore and talk.. again they refused. Cop called FWC, surprisingly FWC showed up in short time and brought the vessel and occupiants to shore where the Cop arrested the boat captain for tresspass and refusing to obey a police order??

    Now let me get this streight, I have NO problem with people fishing around the marina, just please be polite and do not obstruct the marina patrons for their daily rutine.
    It will be a sad day when the last little mom and pop marina is gone to developers and only the rich will be able to enjoy the waters of Florida.

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