All politics aside, supporting this rescue fund by urging you to purchase these handsome decals is a project SSECN is proud to advocate. Let the FWC know that boaters do care! Decals may be purchased at MyFWC.com/Manatee or MyFWC.com/SeaTurtle
This article/opinion by Katie Tripp of KeysInfoNet.com highlights how this ruling to reduce their protected status might affect manatees on the East Coast and the Florida Keys.
Odds already stacked against manatees in federal study for possible downlisting
By KATIE TRIPP
In response to a lawsuit by the Pacific Legal Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided downlisting manatees from endangered to threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act may be warranted, and the agency is embarking on a five-year status review as part of the process.
Let me be very clear about the seriousness of the situation.
From 2010 to 2013, 2,441 manatees died in Florida waters, which is 48 percent of the highest minimum population ever recorded (5,077 in 2010), but we’d have to wait until after 2015 to be able to include this data. However, ignoring this information would also constitute a substantial and unacceptable bias.
For the complete story, go to:
In light of recent night-time boating safety concerns (http://cruisersnet.net/?p=143534), SSECN thinks you should be aware of the following event in Biscayne Bay listed in this week’s Local Notices. If you venture out unto the water after dark, please use good seamanship and go slow!! Claughton Island is immediately south of the Miami River/AICW intersection.
FL-MIAMI-BISCAYNE BAY-CLAUGHTON ISLAND: Fireworks Display
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Fireworks Display will be held July 31, 2014 between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. in Miami, FL this display will be launched from a barge on the waters of Biscayne Bay south of Claughton Island, Chart: 11467, Ref: LNM 24/14
Inlet Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR! borders the eastern banks of the AICW, immediately south of the Vilano Beach high-rise bridge. We continue to hear good things about Inlet Marina and their personal service.
Hey Jay….Once again it was nice to see you again . (May 2014) If you boaters north and southbound don’t stop at the Inlet Marina and see Jay, you are missing a great Guy and a nice boating experence. Jay, see you in 2015!!!
Ray & Bernie Smith – “Fire Dog”
Following the deadly crash off Dinner Key, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=143395, several groups are seeking regulations to curb speeding after dark in these popular and congested waters. Our thanks to Chuck Baier for bringing this article to SSECN.
Safe boating efforts build after tragic crash on July 4th
There’s momentum building to how recreational boating can be made safer after the tragic Fourth of July crash on Biscayne Bay.
BY SUE COCKING
Since the Fourth of July boating crash on Biscayne Bay — the worst in Miami-Dade County in recent memory — members of the recreational boating community have launched an informal but passionate campaign to try to prevent similar tragedies.
Four people died and several others were seriously hurt when a 32-foot Contender broadsided a 36-foot Carrera, then struck a Boston Whaler following holiday fireworks. The skipper of the Contender, 23-year-old Andrew Garcia and two of his passengers, Kelsie Karpiak, 24, and Victoria Dempsey, 20, were killed, along with Carrera passenger Jason Soleimani, 23.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which is in charge of the investigation, said evidence of alcohol was found aboard the Contender. No charges have been filed.
The accident happened about 10:30 p.m. off Coconut Grove’s Dinner Key, despite a heavy on-water law enforcement presence. Witnesses described a chaotic scene, as hundreds of boats zig-zagged across the bay in a race to reach local boat ramps and marinas after the fireworks.
If you plan on spending the winter in Fort Lauderdale, be sure to check out the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW 5th Ave, (954) 462-0222, https://www.browardcenter.org/, located an easy walk from the New River/Downtown Municipal Docks and Cooley’s Landing Municipal Docks.
Coming for the 2014-15 season will be national touring company, Broadway Tour Fort Lauderdale, with six all-time favorite musicals, including Annie and Phantom of the Opera. See http://broadwaytour.net/broadway-fort-lauderdale for dates and ticket information.
New Smyrna Beach City Docks and Park, located on the New Smyrna Beach waterfront, lies on the west side of the Waterway just north of the New Smyrna/Harris Saxon Bridge. Our thanks to Skipper Reeves for sending these comments and beautiful photos!
New Smyrna Beach is a friendly town with a free city dock.
Vero Beach Municipal Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!, lies on the eastern shores of Bethel Creek, moving northeast and north from the Vero Beach/Merrill Barber, high-rise bridge, south of flashing daybeacon #139.
Tucked in at Vero Beach Marina. A very nice city marina with fuel and amenities we liked. The beach is a short bike ride away. Dock master and crew very helpful and accommodating.
Peck Lake Anchorage, immediately off the AICW’s path and south of the Waterway’s intersection with the St. Lucie Inlet, had been virtually unusable because of the onsite equipment related to the dredging of St. Lucie Inlet. From earlier reports and now confirmed by Skipper Reeves, it seems that the dredge barges have been removed ahead of schedule and the anchorage is back in business.
Next stop was for a night at Peck’s Lake. MM992 No dredge in sight! South of tide station is very shallow. We went in at Green and stayed off the tide station a few hundred yards in 7-9 ft of water. Nice and quite on a Friday night. Very narrow beach to walk dog. Short walk across to the real beach where dogs are not allowed.
I ran aground here 15 years ago, anchored in 6-7 ft and woke up on a sand bar the next AM. Called Boat US and was off in a few. If you have not run aground you have not cruised much.
Lantana Anchorage lies on the west side of the Waterway channel, immediately south of the Lantana bascule bridge. Protection is only fair here and you are subject to the wake of passing vessels. Our thanks to Skipper Reeves for this report and excellent photos.
After our adventure we headed North via the ICW and many bridges in Ft. Lauderdale that we cleared at 22 ft. A few we had to wait on opening. At MM 1031 we anchored near the Lantana bridge on the South side in 7-8 ft near a restaurant , The Old Key Lime house http://oldkeylimehouse.com/
A normal June afternoon rain shower came and went while we were there. A quiet anchorage.
Easy in and out. A walk around to the other side of the bridge is a city park with boat ramp. Don’t go too far West after entering anchorage. We stayed opposite double boat ramps on shore near restaurant.
Back in April SSECN hosted quite a discussion on the issue of increased rail service across Florida, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=136159. This is one of those easy-to-be-torn conflicts in which one wants to see the increase in rail service to, hopefully, cut auto congestion along the coast, but at the same time, keep vessel traffic flowing smoothly through all those railway lift bridges. We welcome your arguments, pro and con! Our thanks to all who have contributed to this discussion.
NEWS FLASH 6/30/2014:
FYI, this matter will be discussed at the next Jupiter Town Council meeting, this Tuesday, 1 July 7:00 PM. If you know anyone in Jupiter, encourage them to attend. See http://www.jupiter.fl.us/AgendaCenter/Regular-Meetings-4
Beached in Jupiter
I asked Beached in Jupiter to keep us posted and these links were sent:
Tcpalm.com is probably doing the best news coverage of this issue. They have editorial position against AAF.
Palmbeachpost.com also covers but more of a pro AAF position. Miami to WPB favors trains; Jupiter north mostly oppose.
FTL marina industry very opposed due to blockage of New River most of the day. Will kill marinas.
A plan, supported by the Florida Governor, to create a high speed rail system from Orlando to Miami will use existing coastal railroad right of way. This right of way is the one which includes the Florida East Coast drawbridge in Stuart and train bridges on the New River, Loxahatchee River, and the St. Lucie River. This plan would include adding 32 ADDITIONAL train crossings a day. The current estimate is mariners could face bridge closings totaling 9-9.5 hours a day — particularly if locales are successful in slowing the trains down for safety reasons as they pass through the highly congested south Florida.
The dialog is highly polarized with jobs being balanced against revenue against safety. Because the issue affects Waterway Navigation, there is room for non-locals and non-Floridians in the dialog. For boaters and residents east and west of the bridges, the principal goal is to move the high speed RR to the west. Others want it stopped completely.
More can be found at:
Don’t forget the St Johns River bridges, especially near Sanford. They have a new commuter rail system there now.
If you’ll notice on the All aboard Florida [website above] there is no completion date. If it ever happens, it will not be any time soon.
Good overview by Chris and Janet Waln, thanks! And thanks Cruisersnet for helping to get the word out on this situation.
Chris and Janet are correct about the bridge closings; Jupiter Inlet District (JID, http://jupiterinletdistrict.org) has monitored and photographed all vessel transits and lift bridge operations at Loxahatchee crossing since January.
In April, JID recorded just shy of 8000 vessel crossings. Not much more than kayaks and dingys can pass under this bridge when down for train to cross; ~4 ft air draft at high tide. Average total bridge closure time was 19 minutes per train. With at least 2 passenger trains per hour and one or more freights, that’s not much time for vessels to pass.
Even if you do not navigate these rivers, this affects traffic on the ICW, as boats back up into the channel while waiting for the bridge to open. Currents at this point can be quite strong with tidal flows, so accidents are a concern. Less experienced skippers may find it difficult to hold position for 20+ minutes. See https://firstname.lastname@example.org,-80.0897772,16z
The St Lucie bridge is especially problematic due to the great number of vessels moored and berthed in marinas upriver, west of the bridge. With the bridge down most of the time, boaters may be limited to only a few brief crossing times each day. See https://www.google.com/maps/place/St+Lucie+Riveremail@example.com,-80.2676983,1258m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x88dee87938e18c99:0xc036915cb56e0c0a
The RR bridges are ~90 years old and in poor repair. see http://captainkimo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/florida-east-coast-train-single-engine-crossing-railroad-draw-bridge-jupiter-florida.jpg. RR begins lowering bridge 15 min before trains are due, to make sure they have time for emergency stop without ending up in Loxahatchee, in case it doesn’t work.
Even without passenger service, increases in freight are expected. Freights of course are slower and longer so bridge impacts are even worse.
Draft EIS (for the $1.6 Billion taxpayer guaranteed loan) is due for review something this summer; will be available from Federal Railway Administration (https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0672). Public comment is limited to 75 days so many winter cruisers will likely never know about it. Informal networking is critical to inform the boating community.
More info at http://www.tcrpc.org/special_projects/AAF/AAF4.html,
Beached in Jupiter
Jim King Park is the newest of Jacksonville’s dock/boat ramps and is still undergoing construction of some phases. The ramp is used as headquarters for the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament, and is closed to the public during the tournament. The facility is located just north of the intersection of the St. Johns River and the Waterway. All of the facilities are new and the docks are listed as unlimited as to size of vessel. Skipper Reeves sends two good photos of the new floating docks. Sisters Creek bascule bridge has a 24ft closed vertical clearance.
For a listing of the facilities, go to:
Inlet Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR! borders the eastern banks of the AICW, immediately south of the Vilano Beach high-rise bridge. As you can see, Skipper Reese was definitely pleased with the service!
Just fueled up@ Capt. Jay ‘s Inlet Marina. Great service from Capt Bob!
Rivers Edge Marina in St. Augustine, FL, is found well off the AICW, on the San Sebastian River, near this body of water’s upstream cruising limits. Our thanks to Skipper Reeves for this report and photo.
When we travel the ICW to visit St. Augustine we stay at Rivers Edge, back when it was Oyster Creek we stopped in our sailboat. Why do we stop here for overnights rest and relaxation? Easy in and out, Quiet, No or little current.
Paul the dockmaster is the best! Sure the docks are old and the walkways are some what tricky. Watch you step type of tricky. But there is a fresh fruit and veggies market around the corner with great prices. Hurricane Patty’s is on the site with a discount for boaters that Paul will give you. Low price fuel delivered by truck, Call Paul before hand. Stores and Sailors Exchange in walking distance or ride your bike.
The old city is a long walk or a shot bike ride away. Enjoy!
Like others before, Skipper Reeves sends good remarks about the facilities at Palm Coast Marina. This marina is found on a small canal which indents the Waterway’s western banks south of St. Augustine and north of Daytona Beach.
Great stop over! Clean restrooms showers, nice dog walk. Easy walk to restaurants and shops. The pizza at Mezzaluna Pizzeria is above average. Very little tide or current. Sheltered from high winds.
It’s a 13 mile cruise up the St. Johns River from the AICW to the Jacksonville waterfront, where mariners will discover Jacksonville Landing, on the north side of the St. Johns, midway between the Main Street Bridge and the Acosta Bridge. This complex is a downtown shopping mall/food court with a stage area for special events and concerts, featuring its own dock for visiting pleasure craft.
Skipper Burnhams’ experience with the Main St Bridge illustrates the navigation headaches that Jacksonville boaters have suffered the past year. For a recent posting on the Main Street Bridge, go to http://cruisersnet.net/?p=140564
Additional info: At the Jacksonville Landing the “No Wake Zone” is often ignored and smaller cruisers can be rocking the night away. If overnighting at Jacksonville consider the more comfortable floating berth at the Metropolitan Park Marina. Also there is a free “light rail” Central station just north of the Jacksonville Landing that will give to a ride every 30 minutes over to the south shore where you can visit the MOSI museum and fall asleep for a short nap in the comfort of the planetarium…:D
A note about the Main Street Bridge: It was recently under repair with 2-4 hour reservations required for openings. I called 904-891-2191 at 0345 on Sunday morning and was given an 8am reservation at the bridge…maybe she thought it was a hoax because when I called the bridge tender on Channel 9 at 7am to let them know I was tied up at the Jacksonville Landing, HE told me that as no one was working on the bridge on Sunday that he was opening the Main Street Bridge on demand, of course!
Mill Cove is east of Jacksonville, 4 nautical miles upstream (west) of the point where the Waterway crosses the St. Johns and lies on the south side of the main shipping channel. This anchorage should not be confused with Mill Cove in Doctor Lake south of Jacksonville.
Anchored here last month and again last night in our 54′ motor yacht with 4.5′ draft. We found a spot about 200 yards back from the entrance near the charted 14′ area on the west side. Holding was good in 10-15K winds and one 180 degree tidal swing. Not much small boat traffic or waking from the main river channel, but still pretty exposed. Fun watching the container ships loading/unloading across the river. Could easily accommodate vessels to 60 feet. Anchor came up clean as a whistle in the morning.
Crandon Park Marina at 4000 Crandon Boulevard, Key Biscayne, FL, is a Miami-Dade County facility asociated with Crandon Park Beach. They do take transients on a space-available, no advance reservations basis. Located on the eastern shore of Biscayne Bay, the location looks very inviting.
Crandon Park Marina
I’m surprised that no one mentioned this marina which is about due east of Dinner Key on the other side of Biscayne Bay, on the northern end of Key Biscayne. I have kept my Sabre 28 in the mooring field there for over 10 years with no complaints. I know they accept transients, if they have available moorings. You can hail them on VHF or call them at 305-361-1281. The only downside is, it is not convenient to restaurants or food markets, although there is a store at the dockmaster’s which sells soft drinks and sandwiches, as well as a fuel station.
Port Orange Bridge crosses the Waterway at Statute Mile 835.5, south of Daytona Beach and south-southeast of unlighted daybeacon #56.
63′ on the gauge on June 1, 2014 near high tide.
The derelict issue, problem, controversy, whatever one chooses to call it, has loomed large and will continue to be hashed about in political and economic circles all along the Eastern Seaboard until a feasible plan is found to address abandoned vessels. We are grateful to Chris Waln for sharing his research with us. To access the Derelict Vessel map features, click Queries at lower right, select a county, then Search.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (http://myfwc.com/) as an excellent (not yet fully implemented) online tool (https://public.myfwc.com/LE/ArrestNet/DerelictVessel/VesselMap.aspx) for tracking location and essential information on derelict boats. For the Florida East Coast, when the underlying data is parsed it reveals:
66% of derelict recreational boats are Florida registered, and this percentage is slightly understated because the “Registration NA” boats probably contain some number of Florida registered boats.
Of the derelict boats for which length data is available (87%), the median boat size (all types) is 26 feet and the mean is 27 feet (discounting an outlier). Two thirds are between 22 and 32 feet.
Across both registration categories sailboats account for 40%, cabin-power for 19%.
75% of the 170+ derelicts are in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Brevard and Broward Counties, but…
In Broward County 68% of the boats identified as derelict are in slips.
Most of the pictures of “Registration NA” boats and many of the “FL Registered” depict hulls so old that removal would entail little legal effort.
The few commercial hulks, barges, etc were not counted.
The boat registration and length data is extracted from graphics files in the FWC tool by hand; there may have been a few errors.
What can we draw from this?
The registration data doesn’t support derelict boats being driven by out of state/foreign cruisers.
The size data doesn’t support derelict boats being driven by cruisers, period. Yes, we have taken over 500 and 1000 mile trips in a 23 footer (1976) and a 29 footer (1980), but what we see on the waters today is 35-45 footers. Although to be balanced, 18% of the measured derelicts are 35 feet or greater — the same percentage as boats 21 feet or less.
From the FWC photos, the sailboats, with few exceptions, are not equipped as long range cruisers, they look to be local boats that were either uninsured or insured and totaled, and the local owners just walked away.
Broward County’s slipped derelicts should be discounted when talking about anchoring issues.
Money for removal is more of an issue than authority for removal.
Finally (well, that apparently never happens in this debate), we don’t like looking at or being anchored near derelicts or imminent derelicts any more than any other Floridian. We don’t like them clogging up our few and far between safe anchorages. We don’t like them driving municipalities to create maritime ghettos that wipe out those few and far between safe anchorages.
We believe the data above is a reason for the latest shift to attempting to ban anchoring on the basis of defamatory accusations rather than data. It’s pretty clear from the data, cruisers don’t come to Florida to abandon their boats.
Derelict boats are completely different than cruising boats. It’s the difference between a car driving down the freeway, or parked at a rest stop, and one jacked up on blocks on the side of the road. I don’t for one minute believe that the people behind the anchoring restrictions can’t make this distinction, and I still believe the derelict boat problem, while a real problem, is being used as a smokescreen/false flag operation, for getting rid of non-derelict cruising boats that are messing up the views from waterfront condos of people who are used to getting their way on everything.
Interesting analysis. I would add that another important factor in anchorage bans is financial. There are interests that think boaters anchoring for free are getting away with something and they should be forced to pay for the privilege. The funny thing in Florida is that this often involves creating a mooring field at huge expense that is paid for by taxpayers that then forces boaters to pay for moorings and marina space that even then is not self-supporting. The Marathon mooring field and marina only survive due to hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds. These fields are not self supporting in Florida. I have yet to figure out why Florida mooring fields are so hugely expensive to construct, but the per-mooring cost is often four or five times what it would cost for an individual to put in the finest mooring set up. You would think that purchasing in bulk, etc. would save money. Someone is making money off of that aspect of this too.