Sarasota County Commission voting to remove the ability for any commercially registered vehicle or vessel to park, transit, moore, anchor or pick up from any county property inside Sarasota County.

Tuesday’s effort would greatly impact fishermen, both commercial and recreational

Sarasota, FL (October 17th, 2023) Sarasota area commercial and recreational fishermen are facing the consequences of a Sarasota County Commission’s upcoming vote regarding a proposed amendment to chapter 90 of the County code as it relates to park, beach, and land use. The Commission will be voting on Tuesday, October 24th to remove the ability for any commercially registered vehicles or vessels to park, transit, moore, anchor or pick up from any county property inside Sarasota County including their nine County-owned boat ramps and areas like Nokomis beach park which is a waterside park with seawall boat access

Local fishermen and the Florida Guides Association (FGA) are asking for support to STOP this amendment to the County code. This would allow further time for the FGA and its members of Sarasota County an opportunity to work with the County Commission and County staff to develop practical steps forward. Further communication and negotiation are needed between the County and fishermen that would help both the County and the recreational fishermen who visit, live in, and operate businesses in Sarasota County succeed while maintaining open access to the county’s waterways.

A presentation on the topic has been created for Tuesday’s Commission meeting but it is only one part of the lengthy agenda, further, there is no plan to show the presentation unless a commissioner requests it.

The issue began a year and a half ago when County officials and staff began to recognize a parking issue at County boat ramps and parks. Often, lots were full and parking was at capacity while more and more boating operations were conducting businesses from these locations. Currently, the FGA has been notified that the County is unable to create a permitting program or licensing requirement and is unsure if this would even be possible. The County’s short-term resolution is a vote to modify the County code to make such operations illegal until at an undetermined date in the future when the Commission readdresses the issue and creates a reasonable resolution for all parties.

Currently, Sarasota County has an agreement with FWC to maintain their nine County-owned boat launches and due to that agreement, they cannot charge fees for these boat launch areas. The Commission’s concern is that the County would be unable to create an allowable permit and/or license fee for businesses to operate legally from County areas.

FGA has only recently been made aware that the County has conducted studies and research on this concern for nearly two years and has been sending letters, emails, and surveys to charter businesses along the coast of Sarasota County and to those businesses and charters they have directly interacted with in these county parks, launches and properties along the coast.

However, the FGA was only now made aware of this potential cut to access. The FGA Board of Directors finds it extremely discriminatory and unacceptable to disallow access to recreational fisherman because the County is unwilling or unable to find other alternatives. We understand there are some issues to work towards and through and our organization is willing, able, and ready to stand with the county to ensure we can help our Florida guides in Sarasota County continue to operate legally while offering recreational fishing to residents, guests and visitors of Sarasota County.


Here’s some information on the county board of county commissioners and its make up, and their contact information

You have five Commissioners in Sarasota County for your five districts here’s the general address the office number and their names and emails.

Offices Located At:

1660 Ringling Blvd. Sarasota, FL, 34236

311 or 941-861-5000


The ones with elections next year are going to be most willing to listen if you would like to email them to implore them to help us work with the county to stop this amendment to county code. Allow us an opportunity to work with the county on steps forward to help both the county and the recreational fisherman that visit, live in and operate businesses in Sarasota County!


Capt Dylan Hubbard



  1. Matt Davie

    October 17, 2023

    We are a industry state . Given the vast amount of tourism coming into sarasota county . I would think that our government would think about what really generated revenue . Excluding the small businesses at our facilities will be a hardship for many of us making a living . I’m sure that there can be a resolution to this amendment.

  2. Appreciate your concern for our predicament here in Sarasota county area. My name is Capt Mike Konecnik owner operator of Aquanutz dive charters. We’ve been taking out divers for the last 11yrs to look for fossils/ Sharkteeth. This is my full time job. Work some days in the summer months 15 plus days in a row. We are fully booked everyday taking out 6 divers everyday it is divable. We get out 225 days a year roughly. I’ve tried to get into marinas that allow commercial activity but there are none available with space. I lists but some won’t even take any more names due to so many on the list.

    This amendment will make us have to shut down or possibly deal with any fines they put on us. This will not solve any parking issues. I pick up at Higel park boat ramp in Venice. It is never full during the summer:spring : fall months but a few times. In season Jan-April roughly we Mayb get out 30% of the days due to no divable conditions. There are some days the parking lot is full. The funny part is over the past 7yrs I’ve been picking up at Higel they have eliminated viable parking spaces on some gravel areas. Put up no parking signs. Didn’t understand why. Also when we would double park our customers cars which didn’t even effect no one they would sometimes ticket these cars.

    What will happen if the enforce this law is to punish the full time existing charters and open the door up to part time captains taking people out from these public parks without enforcement knowing. Those that have been doing it for years are known to be charters and will be shut down. The other ones the law will not know if they are a charter or just private people going out. We can have our customers lie but I can’t run a proper business doing that. What a legal enforcement nightmare.

    Other thing that will happen and has with some of my regulars would be they will but a boat. Then they would be trailering to Higel or other. Now Mayb 2 boats at ramp from the people who went on our charter instead of one trailer. They take out 3-4 friends. Now 8 people possibly with cars. More cars to park then our 6. I know I’m making up theories that might not happen but.

    Insurance concerns the county has.
    Not sure of the laws of insurance but I would think once off our boat they are the public and if something happens to them on the dock the counties insurance should pay. If something happens on our boat our insurance covers.
    The word from law enforcement for years was to collect the money on the boat. No transactions on the dock. That supposedly protected them.

    The statement about the county contacting us and keeping us informed is in correct. Never got any emails ect from them. Some law enforcement would say something that might happen. I called the county parks official last year after hearing this and he said it’s been kinda discussed but nothing solid. Talked about a possible yearly fee which I would be fine with that. But he gave the impression nit to worry about it. I honestly think they wanted to keep us in the blind and sadly I think they want all charters gone. So short sighted and wrong. This is what I depend on to pay my bills. I’m 60 and planned on doing for another 10yrs to help me semi retire. This will be devastating to my life.

    Any help appreciated. Should we hire a lawyer. If so can you recommend any.

    Appreciate your time. Feel free to call or text me any time about this matter.
    Thanks Capt Mike Konecnik
    Aquanutz charters
    Very stressed and frustrated borderline angry. 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️


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