A neighbor does not have a superior right to depend on his neighbor’s sovereign submerged land lease in order to accommodate very large boats at his dock.  That was the ruling of an Administrative Law Judge and DEP late 2018. On March 12, 2020, the Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed and affirmed the DEP’s decision to grant the Sailfish Marina’s permit to rebuild the northernmost dock in its 93 slip marina.

The Buccaneer Condominium challenged the Sailfish Marina’s permit, arguing that the new dock would prevent the Buccaneer from mooring large boats in excess of 60 feet long at their dock.  Administrative Law Judge Gary Early ruled in 2018 that the Sailfish Marina held a sovereign submerged land lease entitling it to the superior right to use that leased area for the docking of boats and installation of docks and pilings.  Judge Early rejected the Buccaneer Marina’s claimed “right” to depend on the neighboring Sailfish Marina’s riparian area and submerged land lease in order to increase the size of boats that could dock at the Buccaneer.  According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Sailfish Marina’s submerged lands lease will have no negative impact on navigation on appropriate sized boats using the Buccaneer’s dock or the adjacent Lake Worth Navigation Channel. Judge Early’s 63 page Order was adopted by DEP in a Final Order on December 14, 2018.  Now, after an appeal of this Final Order by the Buccaneer, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has affirmed DEP’s Final Order effectively rejecting the Buccaneer’s challenge.

Click here for the Recommended Order

Click here for the Final Order

Click here for the Opinion 4th DCA PCA


For more information, contact Andrew Baumann at or at 561-640-0820.