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Archive For: KEYS-All News

  • Announcement: All Florida Keys Cruising News

    PLEASE CAREFULLY READ OUR DISCLAIMER!

    Below, you will discover our COMPLETE listing of Florida Keys cruising news/postings from fellow cruisers, arranged in chronological order, based on publication date. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO NARROW YOUR SELECTION of FLK cruising news to those messages which pertain to a specific geographic sub-region, locate the RED, vertically stacked menu, on the right side of this, and all Cruisers’ Net pages. Click on “Florida Keys.” A drop down menu will appear, with a blue background, Now, click on “FLK Regional Cruising News.” A sub-drop-down menu will now appear, listing 13 Florida Keys geographic sub-regions. Select your waters of interest, and after clicking on your choice, a list of messages will appear, confined to the sub-region you have picked!

    Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
  • A Boater Grieves the Loss of Anchorages

    Sadly, as Steve Ramsay bewails, what seemed unthinkable ten years ago is now a reality, not only in Florida, but along much of the east coast: free, public anchorages are becoming pay-for-use municipal mooring fields. (Enter “mooring” in the Search window above for a perspective on the battle that was waged against mooring fields in Florida several years back.) While welcomed by some who see the moorings as an alternative to ever rising dockage fees, those of us who boat on a budget and find the moorings restrictive, along with the prohibitive cost of boating in general, are in agreement with Steve, to the point that we can no longer afford to spend much, if any, time cruising. Steve is replying to A Disturbing Message about Anchoring.

    Like so much of our culture today, it is a case of the “HAVEs” versus the “HAVE NOTs.” We hear you Steve!

    I moved here from New England and as a boater since age 2, I am very disappointed with the availability of moorings here (Tampa area). Boating is such a healthy outdoor activity for the whole family. Go to New England, you will see boats on moorings as far as the eye can see, and they only have a 4 month season. READ MORE!

    I had planned on buying a 24 ft. sloop, but I am afraid I will have to abandon the idea altogether. Personally, at $400 per month for a mooring, I am forced to leave my favorite past time to a high end class of people who will continue to enjoy sailing as much as I did. I have been priced out. It seems like boating here is discouraged rather that encouraged and fully advocated for.
  • More from USACE on Tropical Storm and Hurricane Preparations

    With the 2018 hurricane season underway, this is additional information for boaters navigating the waters of South Florida. This notice comes to us from our good friend, Specialist Erica Skolte, US Army Corp of Engineers.

    usace_logo

    For Immediate Release, August 26, 2018
    Corps prepares for tropical activity; issues guidance to boaters & campers
    With the possibility of tropical activity in south Florida in the coming days, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District is preparing to respond as needed and providing information to boaters and campers on operational adjustments that will take place at navigation locks and recreation facilities.
    The Jacksonville District activated its emergency operations center (EOC) at noon today (Aug. 26). This
    action allows district staff to devote added attention to the response actions that might be necessary should a tropical cyclone or heavy rain develop.
    “Our staff is coordinating with state and local officials,” said Candida Bronson, Acting Operations Division
    Chief for Jacksonville District. “We will staff our EOC over the weekend, and dispatch liaison officers to the state EOC and other locations as appropriate.”
    READ MORE

    Jacksonville District is issuing the following guidance on its operations in south Florida:
    • For boaters, the Corps plans to extend operating hours for its navigation locks when a storm is 72 hours out. The extended hours will remain in place until a storm is eight hours from landfall. To ensure safety of lock operators, the Corps will suspend operations when lightning is in the area, or when winds exceed 35 mph.
    • For campers and visitors to recreation sites, Jacksonville District park rangers will monitor conditions at Corps’ campgrounds and recreation areas. If a county government issues an evacuation order for mobile homes or RV parks in an area where there is a Corps’ campground or recreational facility, rangers will order an evacuation of the facility and advise on shelter locations. Visitors should move all campers, motor homes, tents, vessels, and trailers from facilities under evacuation orders.
    • Field staff will conduct pre-storm evaluation of the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee. Significant rain on the lake or in the Kissimmee basin to the north could cause a rapid rise in the lake over the coming weeks. The current lake stage is 14.67 feet. While no imminent threat of failure exists, the lake stage is in the upper end of the Corps’ preferred range of 12.5-15.5 feet.
    More information on Jacksonville District response actions can be found at www.saj.usace.army.mil.
  • LNM: Utility Lines Removal, Key West Harbor Channel, Key West, FL


    Sunset Key is west of the Harbor District and Mallory Square in Key West separated from the mainland by the Key West Harbor Channel. Note the NO-WAKE requirement in the work area.

    FLORIDA – KEY WEST HARBOR – KEY WEST MAIN CHANNEL: Removal of Utility Lines
    Calaway Marine will be removing utility lines (surface and underwater) from Sunset Key to Pier B across the Main Ship Channel in Key West. Operations will commence August 22, 2018 and end approximately 90 days thereafter. Daily operating hours will be from 7:00am to 6:00pm. A Spud barge and multiple dive operations will be ongoing. Other equipment on scene will be a 160’ X 50’ft work barge and crane positioned within Key West Harbor Channel. Mariners are advised that National Marine Sanctuary regulations require vessels to operate at speeds less than 4 knots or in a manner to not create a wake within 100 yards of stationary vessels, which includes work barges. Mariners are advised to abide by all Navigation Rules and proceed with caution in the vicinity of the project. For more information, contact Sector Key West at (305)292-8727. Chart 11447 LNM 34/18

  • FWC: Derelict Vessel Removal Grants Available in Florida


    DERELICT VESSEL REMOVAL GRANT 2018-2019 OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is announcing the first opportunity to apply for Derelict Vessel Removal Grants for the 2018/2019 budget year.  The application period for the Bulk Derelict Vessel Removal Grant Program will begin on September 3, 2018, at 8:00 AM (EST), and end on October 17, 2018, at 5:00 PM (EST). Applications received after October 17, 2018, will not be eligible for consideration in round one. READ MORE!

    All removal applications must be complete and authorized for removal in the Statewide Derelict Vessel Database as well as demonstrate proof that due process was provided for each vessel’s owner. At a minimum, this would include an opportunity for the vessel owner to challenge the derelict vessel determination, either in criminal court or in an administrative hearing. Vessel cases not demonstrating that these opportunities have been offered to the owners of the vessels will not be considered for state funding assistance. A Letter of Authorization to remove and dispose of the vessel, issued by a law enforcement agency must be included in the application. Should funding be available for a second or subsequent round of applications, new announcements will be made.  The grant guidelines and application form may be downloaded at: http://www.MyFWC.com/DVGrant.  

    You may also receive the guidelines and application by contacting Phil Horning at (850) 617-9540 or email DVGrant@MyFWC.com. 

    Applications that meet the requirements for the Rapid Removal Grant Program may be submitted at any time after the opportunity announcement start date, but no later than November 23,2019, at 5:00pm (EST) (based on available funding). Rapid removal cases must meet requirements of published guidelines as well as due process requirements.  Total funding allocated for derelict vessel removal for fiscal year 2018-2019 was $1,000,000. Applications may be mailed to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Boating and Waterways Section, Derelict Vessel Grant Program Administrator, at 620 S. Meridian Street – Room 235, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1600 or emailed to DVGrant@MyFWC.com.

    For further information, please contact:

    Phil Horning, Derelict Vessel Program Administrator, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Division of Law Enforcement, Boating and Waterways Section, (850) 617-9540 or email Phil.Horning@MyFWC.com

  • Excellent Explanation of Florida Restrictive Speed Zones, plus comments

    We think you will appreciate the new comments from Dan, Glenn and Bill on Jim Healy’s article on wake originally posted by Claiborne in 2011.

    Jim Healy

    The very informative message below is copied from the Trawlers and Trawlering Mail List. This free list is an excellent adjunct to Cruisers’ Net, and we highly recommend it. Thanks to Captain Jim Healy for giving one of the best and most thorough descriptions of restrictive speed zones I have ever seen!

    Florida does by far the best job of identifying speed zones as any other US State. By far. (Canada is best of all, but I digress.) Florida Law defines three categories of marine speed limits: 1) “Idle Speed, No Wake,” 2) “Slow Speed, Minimum Wake” and 3) “Normal, Safe Operation.” READ MORE!

    There are several variations of “Slow Speed, Minimum Wake:” everything from 25MPH nights, 30MPH days, to date restrictions, etc. Many, many “Slow Speed, Minimum Wake” signs have small print that says “channel exempted” or “channel included.” Or, within 300 feet of the west (or) east shore.” Or, “within 300 feet of the bridge.” Or, effective dates. Take a pair of binoculars and make sure you read the small print. That small print can save you travel hours and personal anxiety.
    In almost all Manatee areas (narrow channels with shallow waters where the animals are likely to be in the deeper channel areas), you will see long stretches of “Slow Speed, Minimum Wake.” One that’s about 6 miles long runs from below New Smyrna Beach to Mosquite Lagoon. The good news is, there are actually relatively few “Idle Speed, No Wake” zones, and Florida in general does not abuse them. Remember, the best way to get compliance is when people
    generally agree that the rules are “right.” If people comply because it’s the right thing to do, enforcement is not required. So, “Idle Speed, No Wake” zones
    in Florida are generally short, and virtually always surround narrow bridges and boat ramp launch areas.
    Florida State Law defines “Slow Speed, Minimum Wake” as “fully settled in the water,” not making a wake that would cause harm to other nearby boaters, and minimum wake. For trawlers that travel at hull speeds of 7.5 kts, “Slow Speed, Minimum Wake” is essentially not much different from your normal speed. All I do is back off 200-250 rpm or so to make sure my wake doesn’t break at the crests. That’s where I’m fully compliant with the law.
    NOTE: This set of distinctions is NOT well understood, even by other boaters, so from time to time, people will yell at you. I always wave back in friendship.
    One such area is the bascule bridge tender at the Haulover Canal. Another is the area of Peck Lake, just above Hobe Sound (Jupiter Island). And yet another is at the Royal Palm bridge in Palm Beach County. They’ll yell at you that you’re in a “No Wake” zone. Not true; the zones are clearly marked “Slow Speed, Minimum Wake.” When you remind them of that (high power, channel 13 or 16, so the whole world hears), they go quiet, or mumble and mutter. But, these areas are heavily patrolled, especially on weekends, and none of the police agencies (FWC, sheriff, metro) will quibble with you. In fact, they often operate (non emergency mode) with wakes larger than your own. We’ve never been stopped, and we always wave and get friendly waves back. Good judgement is important, too, since some min wake areas are more sensitive than others.
    The pearl is, Florida “Slow Speed” zones are designed to protect Manatees by controlling heavy, powerful sportfish and sea-ray types that are fast, selfish and have exposed wheels; Manatee can easily avoid trawlers and slow cruisers. And of course, sail boats. So except for the immediate area of South Florida between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, you will rarely be inconvenienced by “No Wake” zones.
    A good guide in South Florida is to watch what the local 12 – 18 foot day boaters are doing. They are a useful indicator in unfamiliar territory. If they’re ripping along, you’re OK. If they’re dawdling along, check the signage.
    Jim
    Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary
    Currently at Franklin Lock, Alva, FL, southbound

    What you write makes sense, but unfortunately law enforcement does not always use common sense. I have been stopped in my sailboat in a `Slow Speed, Minimum Wake’ zone while creating at most a 6-inch wave which I produce at my usual cruising speed. The most infuriating thing was that moments before I was pulled over I was seriously waked by a whole string of powerboats going full tilt through the same area. Luckily, when I angrily confronted the police officer with this information he let me go. His take was that even on a sailboat throwing almost no wake we must slow down significantly in these zones.
    John Kettlewell

    I have to disagree with Jim. Here on the West Coast you better be going slower than 7.5 kts in a min wake zone. I have personally asked three FWC law enforcement officers how they define min wake and none gave me an answer other than go very slow. They did not have any definition and most just shrugged their shoulders. Even the definition you quote just says `minimum wake’ at the end. I usually slow down to 1300 RPM or around 4 knots. Even at that speed I have had sheriffs boats pull along side of me and told to go slower. At anything over 5knts on the West Coast, you’ll get a ticket.
    Dick Goldfarb

  • LNM: Look Out for Manatees When Boating


    Chances of close encounters between Florida manatees and boaters increase in the spring.

    For manatees, it is the season when they leave their winter refuges and travel along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and through inland waters. For boaters, it is a critical time to be on the lookout for manatees to avoid colliding with these large aquatic mammals. READ MORE!

    “Spring is a great time to go boating in Florida, but manatees are out there too. Please watch out for them,” said Ron Mezich, who heads the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) manatee management program.

    From April 1 through Nov. 15, seasonal manatee zones require boaters to slow down in certain areas to prevent manatees from being struck by motorboats or personal watercrafts. FWC law enforcement officers are on patrol in state waters to remind boaters of the seasonal manatee speed zones and take enforcement actions when appropriate.

    Since manatees are difficult to detect when underwater, operators of boats and personal watercrafts can help by:

    Wearing polarized sunglasses to help spot manatees.
    Looking for large circles on the water, also known as manatee footprints, indicating the presence of a manatee below.
    Looking for a snout sticking up out of the water.
    Following posted manatee zones while boating.
    Reporting an injured, distressed, sick or dead manatee to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or dialing #FWC or *FWC on a cellphone.
    FWC biologists, managers and law enforcement staff work closely with partners to evaluate current data and identify necessary actions to protect this iconic animal. Florida has invested over $2 million annually for manatee conservation, and the FWC works toward continued success for manatees in our state.

    Manatee zones and maps are available at MyFWC.com/Manatee, where you can select “Protection Zones” for links to county maps. Boaters can get tips from “A boater’s guide to living with Florida Manatees.” And if you want to see manatees in the wild or captivity, go to “Where are Florida’s Manatees?”

    To support the FWC’s manatee research, rescue and management efforts, purchase a “Save the Manatee” Florida license plate at BuyaPlate.com, or donate $5 to receive an FWC manatee decal by going to MyFWC.com/Manatee and clicking on “Decals.”

  • Florida Keys Budget for Pumpouts Slashed

    Pumpout USA provides sewage pumpouts under a program to protect Florida Keys water quality. A shortfall in state funding this year could affect the program. Pumpout USA Pumpout USA

    State slashes Keys money for boat sewage pumpouts

    A state allocation of $500,000, matching last year’s state funding, to continue the free program for anchored liveaboards was cut to $277,650 in the newly approved Florida budget.

    CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL REPORT from FlKeysNews.com

     

     

    And notice how this budget cut was presented as “Good News”

    The free mobile pump-out for vessels was funded at $227,000.
    Legislative wrap: Good news for the Keys from Florida Keys Weekly

  • Coast Guard, NOAA Seize Illegal Shrimp Catch, Dry Tortugas Shrimp Sanctuary



    Coast Guard, NOAA seize illegal shrimp catch
    MIAMI — The Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seized approximately 6,000 pounds of shrimp with an estimated price of $60,000 from the 68-foot fishing vessel Ronald E. near the Dry Tortugas Shrimp Sanctuary Preservation Area, Friday. READ MORE!

    The vessel Ronald E. was observed fishing inside the marine sanctuary and was boarded by a Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans and NOAA joint boarding team. The boarding team cited the vessel for illegally fishing inside a national marine sanctuary and safety violations.

    “This case demonstrates the importance of strategic partnership,” said Capt. Jeffery Janzsen, commander, Coast Guard Sector Key West. “Within the Florida Keys, we take protecting the National Marine Sanctuary very seriously. Boaters and fishermen should familiarize themselves with the boundaries of the sanctuary to make sure they are complying with federal law.”

    Fishing within federally protected waters is illegal.

    “The partnership between NOAA and the Coast Guard allows for efficient enforcement of the commercial fishing fleet in the waters surrounding the Florida Keys,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Wolstenholme, commanding officer, Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans. “Integrating NOAA enforcement officers into our boarding teams ensures quality at sea inspections of both required safety equipment and fishing gear.”

    The evidence package for this seizure has been forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service, who will determine if a formal Notice of Violation will be issued.

  • Local Knowledge Requested on Caesar, Broad and Angelfish Creek, Key Largo to Elliot Key, Statute Mile 1120


    Caesar Creek, Broad Creek and Angelfish Creek all connect Card Sound and Biscayne Bay to Hawk Channel with the western terminus of each channel where waters shallow being the issue for cruisers. Carlos is requesting Local Knowledge on depths in the connecting channels.

    Hello
    I have an Ericson 28+ with a 4 foot draft shoal draft keel
    Does my boat draw enough water to go through Caesar Creek, at the south end of Elliot Key in Florida; or do I cross over using Angel Fish Creek?
    Many thanks
    Carlos

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Angelfish Creek

  • Post-Irma Report from Key Lime Sailing Club, Key Largo, FL


    Key Lime Sailing Club in Key Largo, 305-451-3438, www.keylimesailingclub.com

    Key Lime Sailing Club, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, always has very special offers for their visitors! Key Lime Sailing Club is on the Inside Route side of Key Largo. Key Lime Sailing Club is a unique slice of KEYS ENJOYMENT…give it a try and let us hear about your experience.

    Welcome to our unique little hideaway. Secluded, serene, and perfectly located, our self-contained cottages have everything you need for a relaxing waterfront vacation.

    Hey Winston,  thank you very much for checking in. We’re doing fair, we have seven of our cottages open for Keylime sailing club.  We’re still cleaning up and repairing and we have yet to get to South Dade Marina. The marina still has boats sitting on top of the dock; 40% of the dock is missing; the sunken boats and boats on the shore. But we will rebuild. And I know we share the story with a lot of marinas and places of business. I count ourselves lucky and pray for the people that have suffered much more than us.
    Paul Keever

    See also /166914

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Key Lime Sailing Club

  • Irma Recovery Effort, Key Lime Sailing Club and Cottages, Key Largo, FL


    Key Lime Sailing Club in Key Largo, 305-451-3438, www.keylimesailingclub.com

    Key Lime Sailing Club, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, always has very special offers for their visitors! Key Lime Sailing Club is on the Inside Route side of Key Largo. Key Lime Sailing Club is a unique slice of KEYS ENJOYMENT…give it a try and let us hear about your experience.

    Irma Recovery Effort, Key Lime Sailing Club and Cottages, Key Largo, FL

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Key Lime Sailing Club

  • Nav Alert: Waters of the Florida Keys Hazardous with Storm Debris

    Florida officials report the waters surrounding the Keys are littered with debris and very unsafe for navigation.

    And county officials said close-in waters were littered with storm debris and presented a navigation hazard for boats.

    “Monroe County’s nearshore waters have become a navigation hazard in parts of the Keys with debris, sunken boats, loose boats, buoys and markers,” county officials said in a statement. “Do not bring a boat into the Keys.”

    Is that a fender in the water? Debris from the storm a hazard in Keys waterways from The Miami Herald

  • App for No-Wake Zones in Florida

    Our thanks to Danny Munson for recommending this app, https://www.wakewatch.com/.

    Don’t you wish everyone would use and respect those safety limits!

    There is an app called WakeWatch that maps out all of the no wake zones in FL. It also tells what type of zone – i.e. slow speed minimum wake, no wake, speed limits, etc. with the associated time restrictions. It also has all of the bridge heights and opening schedules.

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