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Florida Gulfcoast Spearfishing Post here to discuss regional action or issues about spearing on Florida's Gulfcoast.

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Old 06-06-2014, 07:57 AM   #1
Spearo|Joe
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Handling Threats/Harrassment while Spearing/Flag Laws

I've been thinking on this subject lately and want to know what other people think about these issues.

There have been many times, Esp. while legally spearing around private docks and seawalls that my friends and I have been harrassed and threatened by the homeowners. There have also been occasions that the homeowner has raised and lowered his boat lift above our heads to try and deter us from spearing his dock. I completely understand if someone wants to politely ask you, out of respect, not to spear their dock. But threatening, and saying that what we are doing is illegal and its their "property" is uncalled for. How do you handle this type of situation?

This Florida Statute is Helpful in responses to threats, although i havent gotten to use it yet, it will definitey be useful to know verbatim.

FL ST 379.105

(1) A person may not intentionally, within a publicly or privately owned wildlife management or fish management area or on any state-owned water body:
(a) Interfere with or attempt to prevent the lawful taking of fish, game, or nongame animals by another.
(b) Attempt to disturb fish, game, or nongame animals or attempt to affect their behavior with the intent to prevent their lawful taking by another.
(2) Any person who violates this section commits a Level Two violation under s. 379.401.


Also, I am also curious about how you handle boaters anchoring/driving too close to your dive location. Usually i wave them off or tell them they need to be outside of 100 ft of my dive flag. I have had some people say, "were diving too" or state that they are motoring at the approprate speed inside of 100 ft.

While technically, by what this law states, you may motor closer than 300ft as long as you are moving slow enough. Some people have seemed to use that as a loophole to get close and fish near a diver down flag.

The following is from Chapter 27 of the 2003 Florida Statutes:


(6) Any vessel other than a law enforcement or rescue vessel that approaches within 100 feet of a divers-down flag on a river, inlet, or navigation channel, or within 300 feet of a divers-down flag on waters other than a river, inlet, or navigation channel, must proceed no faster than is necessary to maintain headway and steerageway.


lets hear it.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:36 AM   #2
CaptivaCommando
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Re: Handling Treats/Harrassment while Spearing/Flag Laws

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The following is from Chapter 27 of the 2003 Florida Statutes:

(6) Any vessel other than a law enforcement or rescue vessel that approaches within 100 feet of a divers-down flag on a river, inlet, or navigation channel, or within 300 feet of a divers-down flag on waters other than a river, inlet, or navigation channel, must proceed no faster than is necessary to maintain headway and steerageway.


lets hear it.
Regarding boats approaching a diver-down flag, this probably isn't the right answer but I could care less.

When I'm offshore (15+ miles) and it's my turn to sit out a dive and watch the boat, I do not take kindly to other boats approaching our location. It's a wide open ocean and there is zero reason to run up on another boat other than to steal there numbers or be an asshole. I give leeway when on public numbers or wrecks, but if I'm on a spot and someone is willing to compromise the safety of my group by boating over their heads with a dive flag clearly visible, then I will go to any length to deter them. I've thrown and broken bottles on other boats, pointed a loaded spear gun at them, whatever it takes. Most of the time it's some weekend warrior out booze-cruising or attempting to fish past their range but the "why" is not my priority, the safety of my team is.

As for spearing around people’s dock and lifts, I can understand why that may cause some heartache despite the law seeming to be in favor of the diver.
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Last edited by CaptivaCommando; 06-06-2014 at 09:19 AM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:58 AM   #3
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Re: Handling Treats/Harrassment while Spearing/Flag Laws

Just a little problem with Fla diver down laws. With the possible exception of during mini-season in a few SE coastal counties it is almost impossible for a non-diver to get a ticket for using a dive flag as a racing pylon. The law is treated as a revenue enhancement tool to recover extra taxes from divers, NOT as a tool to protect divers. If the diver is not using a flag to mark his location for the drunk boaters to target the DIVER gets the big $ ticket. OTOH the normal drunk boater fine for hitting a diver with a prop seems to be what the prop shop charges to straighten the blades.
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Old 06-06-2014, 09:30 AM   #4
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Re: Handling Treats/Harrassment while Spearing/Flag Laws

As far as spearing around docks, there is no law preventing it unless the dock is located within the following areas. If your adamant about spearing the people's dock that don't want you there, I would print and laminate the regulations, carry them with you and share them with the home owner. They may have paid for the dock to be constructed, but they do not own the property or the water underneath the dock.

You May NOT Spearfish (excluding bowhunting and gigging):

– Effective July 1, 2001, Spearfishing of marine and freshwater species in freshwater is prohibited. Possesion of a spear gun in or on freshwater is also prohibited.

– Within 100 yards of a public swimming beach, any commercial or public fishing pier, or any part of a bridge from which public fishing is allowed.

– Within 100 feet of any part of a jetty that is above the surface of the sea–except for the last 500 yards of a jetty that extends more than 1,500 yards from the shoreline.

– In Collier County and in Monroe County from Long Key north to the Dade County line.

– For any fish for which spearing is expressly prohibited by law.

– In any body of water under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Recreation and Parks. (Possession of spearfishing equipment is prohibited in these areas, unless it is unloaded and properly stored.) Fishermen who catch and/or sell fish harvested by spearing are subject to the same rules and limitations that other fishermen in the state are required to follow.

Read more: http://www.floridasportsman.com/2011...#ixzz33rxAkdvr
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Old 06-06-2014, 09:33 AM   #5
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Re: Handling Treats/Harrassment while Spearing/Flag Laws

fred thats so messed up, guess its up to us to regulate....

lol captiva, pretty hardcore, i just shew them away
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Old 06-06-2014, 10:50 AM   #6
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Re: Handling Treats/Harrassment while Spearing/Flag Laws

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lol captiva, pretty hardcore, i just shew them away
Haha, fair enough but after you have a few close calls with some guys buzzing you while on a dive, you may decide that shooing is an under-action for anyone who chooses to run up on another boat offshore.
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Old 06-06-2014, 12:57 PM   #7
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Re: Handling Treats/Harrassment while Spearing/Flag Laws

I think spearing under someones private dock where they live is lame and if not against the law should be. There is a whole bay full of places to hunt that don't involve hunting in peoples back yard. It also reflects poorly on spearfishing in general.
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Old 06-06-2014, 02:36 PM   #8
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Re: Handling Treats/Harrassment while Spearing/Flag Laws

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I think spearing under someones private dock where they live is lame and if not against the law should be. There is a whole bay full of places to hunt that don't involve hunting in peoples back yard. It also reflects poorly on spearfishing in general.
Agree with above 110 percent! And speaking of lame, I can't stand lame ass divers asking lame ass questions!

P.s. When I see strange divers diving under my balcony I just piss on em!
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Old 06-06-2014, 04:52 PM   #9
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Re: Handling Treats/Harrassment while Spearing/Flag Laws

It's called Riparian(technically littoral)Rights. Sometimes the homeowner does own the land under his/her dock, I do. You would have to check the Deed.
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Old 06-06-2014, 10:41 PM   #10
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Re: Handling Treats/Harrassment while Spearing/Flag Laws

We had a boat run up on us 30 miles offshore.We know that he seen us from a distance and figured he would get the number. We kindly asked them to leave, we were anchored and had been on this location for 10-15 mins getting geared up to make the drop. They were total dicks about it, and started circling the boat to zero in on the spot, tossed their anchor and started fishing! they literally backed down 30' from us. We had two guys top side and three going to the bottom. Once I made my decent to the bottom, my dive knife somehow "found" the line that was connected to their anchor, just behind the 15' chain that was connected to the Fortress needless to say their day was DONE. The anchor was sold with my last boat.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:40 AM   #11
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Re: Handling Treats/Harrassment while Spearing/Flag Laws

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Agree with above 110 percent! And speaking of lame, I can't stand lame ass divers asking lame ass questions!

P.s. When I see strange divers diving under my balcony I just piss on em!
Agree with you and Moose! Why a person would have to ask about doing such a lame thing pretty much answers any further questions about future posts.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:55 AM   #12
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Re: Handling Treats/Harrassment while Spearing/Flag Laws

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It's called Riparian(technically littoral)Rights. Sometimes the homeowner does own the land under his/her dock, I do. You would have to check the Deed.

you can own the river bottom but not the water , navigable waterways are always public domain . so while technically he is legal its still a awkward situation

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Old 06-07-2014, 02:57 AM   #13
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Re: Handling Treats/Harrassment while Spearing/Flag Laws

Guess a better answer would be to come back later when they are gone People that dont dive or spearfish have many misconceptions about fish and habitat. They dont understand that the fish you spear will be replenished in time by another. They just see someone at the end of their dock shooting "their" fish. Maybe the dock owners feed the fish everyday so that when the grandkids come to visit, then they can spend quality time with them fishing. Who knows but, I know that doing these kind of things pissing off people does no good and sometimes can do harm to our community.
There are laws and then there is just common sense....
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Old 06-07-2014, 06:53 AM   #14
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Re: Handling Treats/Harrassment while Spearing/Flag Laws

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We had a boat run up on us 30 miles offshore.We know that he seen us from a distance and figured he would get the number. We kindly asked them to leave, we were anchored and had been on this location for 10-15 mins getting geared up to make the drop. They were total dicks about it, and started circling the boat to zero in on the spot, tossed their anchor and started fishing! they literally backed down 30' from us. We had two guys top side and three going to the bottom. Once I made my decent to the bottom, my dive knife somehow "found" the line that was connected to their anchor, just behind the 15' chain that was connected to the Fortress needless to say their day was DONE. The anchor was sold with my last boat.
I have a better answer about cutting their anchor line. I have in the past just buried their anchor into the reef or wreck and forced them to cut their own anchor line. Back in the day. I went out offshore with a old fisherman. He would put out 2 markers about 300 yds. from where we were going fish. The first was a regular marker. After it hit bottom, we would motor up and he would attach a second with about 150' of tuna wire and let it drift down current. When a boat would motor up to steal the loran numbers he would have me pull anchor. Sure enough the idiots would motor between the 2 jugs and get their prop wrapped up in tuna wire as we powered up and left. If they did not have wire cutters. Then, Sea Tow would be getting a call.
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Old 06-07-2014, 07:56 AM   #15
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Re: Handling Treats/Harrassment while Spearing/Flag Laws

I like to handle TREATS with the utmost care. you dont want to lose your candy before going out on the water, that shits important, so be careful.

That being said, spearing off someones dock....may be a grey area in the eyes of the law but honestly, like others have said, its a shitty thing to do. Especially if someone is home and does NOT want you there..being asked to leave while out in the open water is one thing, but if you are doing an already questionable action, take a bite of humble pie and go find a real spot to dive.
If you ever get to the point where you can afford waterfront property and also your own private dock, you'll catch my drift. It has nothing to do with fish or anything down there. The Knuckleads that spear/lobster in the canals down here, usually get the hose.. Get outta here with that shit. For all I know, you could be scoping out my neighbors bottom finder or trying to figure who's got the best rod and reels...Im no detective, I do play one on TV sometimes, if it gets to that point, ill just let the sheriff and the FWC handle it from there...


Buuuuuut, like woody also said, if no ones home or residing there at the time, and its not an obvious issue with the owner or neighbors, then there is no reason why not. But with the time spent pillaging docks, you could probably scope out some new legit spots that wont make you such an obvious target for confrontation.
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