Friday, August 12, 2011

8/12/11 Report - Riparian Rights & Staying Out of Trouble

Four Tropical Waves.

It looks like the Atlantic is getting active.

Yesterday I showed the photo of that old house on Indian River Dr. I'm sure some of you thought that might be a good place to detect. I heard from one person that obtained permission to hunt there in the recent past, and he reported finding nothing of note except for a lot of roofing nails and junk in the yard. I do know that the yard had been detected at least a few times before that.

If you look at the back of that house, on the top floor you will see where there appears to be an oddly shaped room. The house was constructed with a hidden room, which is not apparent from the inside. I just thought that was interesting.

Yesterday I also wrote about some of the rules and regulation that relate to detecting. I often get questions from people wanting to know what they are allowed or not allowed to do. Sometimes I can give an easy general answer, and sometimes with all of the complications it is too tricky to even attempt an answer.

[I removed a couple of paragraphs here because I am not 100% sure that I was right and the statements were causing more confusion rather than helping. I'll do some more research and see if I can clarify the issue before commenting further. In the past I thought the issue was too tricky to answer, and after having tried to provide an answer, I learned that I was right to have avoided the issue in the first place.]

If you run into an overzealous park ranger, security guard or whatever, don't make trouble for yourself.

The law is almost always tricky when you get down to the fine points and technicalities and often the authorities don't actually know the law. Security guards, park rangers, life guards, police officers, wild life officers, home owners, and activist citizens often do not have a complete understanding of all of the applicable laws and might tell you something that is not correct. Trying to educate an overzealous authority is seldom successful. Don't make trouble for yourself.

In my opinion, if you use good common sense, try to do the right thing to the best of your ability, and avoid making someone, especially someone with real authority, angry, you'll probably stay out of trouble.

If you have a question, ask someone who really should know. People often don't know if they can detect on a particular beach, for example. If there is a life guard on duty ask them. They'll generally know.

On the other hand, it is better not to bring attention to some things.

Some beach clubs or hotels will try to keep you from detecting on the beach in front of their property when they do not have the authority to do so. Don't get into an argument, but you can follow up with the appropriate authorities if you want to know for sure if you are in the right. Call the county offices or whoever can tell you what the truth is. Get it in writing if you can.

There have been times when I received information from government officials that made it possible for me to be one of the first to detect a park that had not permitted detecting for a number of years. On another occasion they told me where the markers were that defined the area owned by a beach club, and told me I could detect up to those markers.

Always ask for permission before hunting on private land.

One concept that you should probably know something about is "riparian rights."

Florida navigable waterways are owned and controlled by the state. They are held in trust for the use of the public. The public is free to use those waterways for legal activities such as boating, fishing or swimming.

On navigable tidal bodies of water you are allowed to walk along the waterway below the mean high tide line. If you go above the mean high tide line, you might then be on private property. The easement is determined slightly differently on other bodies of water such as creeks and rivers.

If you want to learn more about riparian (and littoral) rights here is place to start.

Don't get bogged down in the technicalities. And don't get yourself into trouble. Avoid conflict, use the available resources, and learn as much as you can.

Yesterday I received an email from someone that has a law degree. What he said might help you put this legal stuff into perspective.

Here it is.

Laws are not as simple as yes and no or wrong and right. Laws are just to keep people somewhat honest and not for people who are figuring a way to circumvent the process ... They [laws] are just a general guideline to follow.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

As you can see from the photo above, there are now four tropical waves in the Atlantic. I would say the two that have the most chance of affecting us are the two that are now closest to Africa. They also have a good chance of developing. Keep an eye on those two.

The wind is now out of the west/northwest and the seas running about one foot. The surf web sites are still predicting a little increase around next Wednesday.

Until then, conditions remain the same - poor.

Happy hunting