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Archive For: NORTHERN GULF – All News

  • AGLCA Discussion: Mobile to Fort Myers

    Lots of good advice for our West Florida and Northern Gulf cruisers in these threads from our good friends at America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association.

    We live in Gulf Breeze (next to Pensacola) and are very familiar with the area you’re asking about. The waterway depths are ample throughout – all the way to Apalachicola, and you’ll have no trouble with a four foot draft (or much greater) in the channel. Greens to starboard in the ICW heading east from Mobile Bay.
    Best, Tim and Marguerite Burr READ MORE!

    The panhandle portion of the ICW from Mobile to Apalachicola the depth is good in the channel as tows travel it daily.
    Gary & Coleen Barger

    Sanctuary is a 4+ ft draft boat. We have done the OWW at all lake datum levels – high and low – many times; crossed Lake O in late-May, 2017, where Route 1 (cross-lake route) was at only 5.1ft; we have never grounded on OWW, but there are places that can happen. Watch the areas around hurricane gates. Generally, follow the outside bend on curves. Be extremely cautions in Clewiston channel to stay in that channel; MUST be able to backlight there.
    All of the panhandle and all of western Florida is shallow by Great Lakes standards. If you stay between the markers, you’ll be good to go with your draft. We traveled inside from Mobile to Apalachicola to Carrabelle without incident. Tides in those bays are 2 ft or less. During neap phase, there is only one high tide per day along the gulf coast. In SW Florida, that occurs in mid-to-late afternoon.
    In many places in the SE, I see false shoaling hazard markers in ActiveCaptain. I really believe many cruisers do not understand the markers. Markers on pilings are often placed beyond the actual edges of channels. Often in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida, day markers are actually out of the water – dry – at low tide. Sometimes, that’s because of how the markers were surveyed and sometimes as a result of ongoing shoaling. In general, DO NOT CUT TOO CLOSE TO FIXED DAYMARKS. Often, you will find the bottom if you do that. Floaters usually mark the edge of hazards, but not so daymarks.
    Hope this is useful.
    Jim

    As others have stated already, you’ll find sufficient depths for 4′ draft all along this stretch IF you stay in the marked channels. Consult your charts, but also watch especially for buoys–they often mark “wandering” shoals or channel restrictions. The last few times we’ve done this stretch, the shallowest area was across Lake Wimico, then the N-S channel leading from Apalachicola out into the bay (but it was being dredged this past January).
    Red ATONs will be to port generally along this entire route, since you’ll be going “out to sea” while going down Mobile Bay, keeping the “mainland” on your port while proceeding east on the ICW (that’s the lateral marker convention for the Gulf and Atlantic ICWs), and going downstream on the relatively short stretch of the Apalachicola River that you traverse. HOWEVER, there are some exceptions near major inlets when the ICW shares the harbor entrance. For example, going east from Pensacola and from Panama City you’ll have reds to starboard for a few miles each, then the convention will flip once back in the ICW-only portion.
    Alex Ertz

    With good eyes (or in my case, binoculars), lateral aids-to-navigation serving the ICW have small yellow triangles and squares you can spot to know which side to take them. The shapes of these yellow stickers are “in agreement” with the larger ATON to which they are attached (i.e., yellow triangles on reds; yellow squares on greens) except in those spots I mentioned in the previous post where what might be “returning from sea” for a major inlet also happens to be “heading towards Hampton, VA” on the intracoastal.
    -Alex

    “what is the channel marker convention when cruising from Mobile Bay to Pensacola” – use the rule ‘reds are on the major land mass side ‘ .. this is the same for the OWW and it is easy to remember ..
    for your ‘final leg’ cruise from the Panhandle to Fort Myers you may want to check out our buoy reports .. ie go to www.marvsweather.com and click on ‘buoy reports’ .. at this time we have three buoy reports for your Gulf crossing .. if you find that our reports can help you out with your crossing you can sign up for our free daily service ..
    Marv and Carol Market
    aboard M/V Dee Light – did the Loop in 2003

    The convention of marking the ICW is in a clockwise motion around the US, keeping the reds on the right. This means when you go from Mobile to Ft. Myers, keep the reds on your left. ALWAYS follow the ICW marks when following the ICW route. The red side will be marked with a YELLOW TRIANGLE and the green side will be marked with a YELLOW SQUARE. Very often, theses marks are faded or covered with bird do-do or other debris, so you must look hard to verify what the ATON (Aid to Navigation) is marking. For the overwhelming majority of the markers, the yellow triangles will be on red triangular ATONs and the yellow squares will be on green square ATONs. Be cautious anytime the ICW intersects with an opening to the ocean as sometimes there are single ATONs serving a dual purpose to mark both channels. Occasionally, you may see a red marker for the inlet display a yellow square which tells you to treat it as a red for the inlet and keep it on the right (if returning from sea) and treat it as a green for the ICW and keep it on your left if going in a clockwise direction around the US. One such marker is at the St. Augustine inlet with a 2 foot deep shoal on the wrong side. I suspect Sea Tow and Boat US towing make money from boaters who do not pay attention to this marker.

    Follow the yellow squares and yellow triangles and you should be good to go. There are a few spots where you will need to pay attention to set and drift caused by wind or current – probably the most classic example is in the “miserable mile” where you transition from the ICW to the Caloosahatchee River at Ft Myers. There is a cross current that will quickly set you out of the channel if you are not paying attention. Back sighting the markers behind you with the ones in front of you will help you keep in the channel. Keep in mind that the entire west coast of Florida including the leg to the Keys is all shallow water. Down there, they consider 6 feet as “deep water”

    I have seen many Loopers with simple “reminder aids” at the helm to help them remember which side to keep which ATON on as you transition around the Loop. They range from simple popsicle sticks with the ends painted red and green to much more elaborate “reminder aids” such as model ATONs turned from wood dowels. Pretty simple to make and easy to use as long as you remember to switch them when changing directions (ICW transition to move up a river and then change it as you turn around to go toward the ocean). I suppose you could have two sets – one red and green and one with yellow triangles and yellow squares.

    As part of your daily preview of your charts for what is ahead of you for the day’s journey (you DO preview your charts daily, don’t you?), you should make a note of the areas on the chart where there are intersections and then take a look at each marker on the chart so you know which side to be on when you arrive at the intersection. There are a few places where there are multiple intersections and correlating your chart with what you are actually seeing with your eyes is critical for safe navigation. Learn how to read a navigational chart. Chart Number One (Google it) is a key reference to reading all nautical charts. It shows you what each and every symbol on a nautical chart means. Preview the potential trouble spots and figure it out before you get there. It will be much less stressful and your confidence will appreciably increase.
    Be safe and have fun!
    Dave & Nan Ellen Fuller

  • Manatee and Sea Turtle Decals, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

    Stick on a decal to show support for Florida’s manatees, sea turtles READ MORE!

    There are more manatees and sea turtles in Florida than in any other state. More than 6,000 manatees swim in its coastal waters, rivers and freshwater springs, and thousands of sea turtles nest and hatch on its Atlantic and Gulf coast beaches.

    It’s easy to show support for these iconic Florida species by sticking on a decal.

    Every July the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) introduces new manatee and sea turtle decals available with a $5 donation.

    The colorful, waterproof decals are designed to look great on a vehicle’s bumper or the side of a boat. Get them when registering or re-registering a vehicle or boat at local tax collectors’ offices across the state.

    “Florida is home to more manatees and sea turtles than anywhere else in the U.S.,” said Carol Knox, who leads the FWC’s Imperiled Species Management Section. “Public support has been critical in helping us conserve these imperiled species. So please ‘stick on a decal’ and show support for our manatees and sea turtles.” 

    Decals generate funding for research, rescue and management efforts that help Florida’s manatees and sea turtles survive. For instance, when someone calls the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) to report an injured, entangled or sick manatee or sea turtle, FWC staff responds with efforts to rescue and rehabilitate the animal.

    The decals also address important conservation issues:

    • “Look out for manatees” is the message on the new manatee decal, which shows boaters in the distance as a manatee mother and calf swim along with only her back above water.When boating or using a personal watercraft in Florida waters, it is important to look out for manatees. Mature manatees grow to 1,000 pounds or more, but can be difficult to see when they’re swimming, grazing or resting underwater. Wear polarized sunglasses, and then watch and listen carefully to detect the signs of manatees nearby. Look for circles on the water’s surface indicating their underwater movement and snouts sticking out of the water as they surface to breathe. You may also hear huffing noises when they come up for air.
    • “Helping sea turtles survive” is the message on the new sea turtle decal, which shows a green sea turtle. Green sea turtles nest on Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coast beaches, and until recently were classified as endangered. Now after years of conservation efforts, the number of nesting green turtles has increased substantially. This species has been reclassified as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. That’s a major step in “green” recovery. Remember, “Hands off” is the best policy for beachgoers encountering any species of nesting or hatchling sea turtles. Watch from a distance, do not disturb them and never use a cellphone or camera to shoot flash photos.

    Learn about other ways to help conserve manatees and sea turtles at MyFWC.com/Manatee andMyFWC.com/SeaTurtle, where you also can click on “Decals” to order new or past editions of decals. Go to BuyaPlate.com to purchase a “Save the Manatee” or “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” license plate that supports those species.

  • Pumpout Not Working, Panama City Marina, Panama City, FL, GICW Statute Mile 290


    The Panama City Marina is located on the intercoastal Waterway one block from Downtown Panama City. The Panama City Marina is a newly renovated 240-slip marina facility designed for all classes of ves

    Panama City on St. Andrews Bay is home to SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Panama City Marina. If you are headed for Panama City Marina and need a pumpout, SSECN suggests you phone ahead to check the repair status of their pumpout: 850-872-7272

    This is Panama City Marina, Panama City, FL.
    Our pumpout is not working, and there may be some delay in repairing it.
    Diana Pieper

    Click Here To View the Northern Gulf Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Panama City Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Panama City Marina

  • Good News re Florida Anchoring

    Our thanks to Kim Russo for sharing this good news via AGLCA‘s Forum and also to Mike Bodin of MTOA. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that in the future this law will stand up to the pressure on legislators from wealthy landowners to restrict anchoring.

    Great news! I was just notified by our lobbyist that HB 7043 was approved by the Governor. It is law. As of now, no local municipality or county in the state of Florida may ban, restrict, or otherwise regulate an anchorage in Florida coastal waters. READ MORE!

    Loopers’ interest in this issue and financial contributions helped prevent the enactment of any setbacks that could have resulted in the elimination of any existing anchorages state wide.

    Congratulations to all Loopers, members of MTOA, SSCA, and others who supported this effort, stuck with it, and made your voices heard! You have made a difference to the boating community. Special thanks goes out to Jerry Paul of Capitol Access for his diligent efforts on our behalf. His guidance and hard work made all the difference.

    Kim Russo
    Director
    America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association
    krusso@greatloop.org 

    And this from Mike Bodin, MTOA Public Affairs:

    Thank you AGLCA, SSCA, MTOA and DeFever, for
    your continued support. Florida’s anchoring Bill now
    is law.
    Florida’s new Mooring & Anchoring bill has become law. The Governor just approved HB 7043.
    It is law. As of now, the new law explicitly states no local municipality or county in the state of
    Florida may ban, restrict, or otherwise regulate an anchorage in Florida coastal waters. This
    plainly worded section of the new law eliminates each community from setting its own
    regulations. If this section was not plainly worded it would have resulted in many lost
    anchorages over time with boaters challenging cities for the right to anchor. Instead, we got
    the pre-emotion provision … preventing any local government from banning an anchorage.
    It was important for us to ensure there were no unreasonable setbacks in this bill. But, as I have
    said in the past, the single most valuable piece of this bill is the preemption provision. This seals
    off local governments. The only way that a new anchorage can be banned is by an Act of the
    entire Legislature and Governor. We can almost always kill such a bill. Moreover, we can likely
    kill any future effort to overturn the preemption or add new band and ranges in state statute.
    With the state level preemption and no local control, we are now in a position of strength. It is
    a home-field advantage for our side. Without preemption, however, the entire issue is a home
    game for all the anti-cruisers in EACH of their local communities… an infinite number battles
    that we would not be able to fight piecemeal.
    Moreover, SSCA, AGLCA, MTOA and DeFever prevented the enactment of any setbacks that
    could have resulted in the elimination of any existing anchorages state wide.
    Finally, you did a lot to rehabilitate some of the negative imagery about anchoring cruisers that
    had made its way to the Capitol.
    Congratulations to each of you, this team, and all the members of MTOA, SSCA, AGLCA,
    DeFever who supported your effort, stuck with you, and made your voices heard… to protect
    the freedoms of cruisers.
    The above is from our Tallahassee “Boaters Rights” Lobbyists Jerry Paul of Capitol Access who
    skillfully guided this legislation through six committee hearings with unanimous approval.
    Of major importance was the fact this was the accumulation of Florida’s 9-year, multi-million
    dollar, anchoring study resulting in a 256 page report. It was thought Florida’s new law may be
    a precedent for other states along the waterway. This was a primary cause to eliminate as
    much as possible harmful to boater’s language which would be in the new law. Counties, cities,
    waterside home owners and condominium groups were for local control to establish nonanchoring
    zones. Local control was totally defeated. Today the new law requires very high
    standards for counties to satisfy to even approach the state to establish new non-anchoring
    zones.
    Another major accomplishment, within the original FWC report, waterside residents were
    insistent for non-anchoring setbacks of 150’ up to 300’ along the waterway. This would have
    eliminated many now popular anchorages. The new law eliminated these setbacks for boaters.
    During this same time, we were instrumental with Florida’s new Derelict Vessel law, the
    previous bill was defeated because we felt it was too harsh for the boat owner, fines to high
    and did not give adequate time for owner removal. The new Derelict Vessel Law corrects these
    items.
    Mike Bodin
    MTOA Public Advocate

    And this from BoatUS

    NEWS From BoatUS

    Boat Owners Association of The United States
    880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria VA 22304
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com

    Florida Bill Strengthens Derelict Vessel Fight,

    Promotes Environmentally Sound Public Access

    BoatUS thanks governor and legislature

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 27, 2017 – The results of an eight-year pilot program are in, and Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature have acted. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) congratulates the governor and legislators on Friday’s passage of HB 7043 that promotes environmentally sound public access and helps address the issue of improperly stored, abandoned or derelict vessels. “These are sound regulations supported by responsible boaters,” said BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy.

    When the pilot program was enacted in 2009, a patchwork of local anchoring regulations sometimes made stopping difficult. Some boaters reported fearing a visit from law enforcement advising that they had “overstayed” their visit and needed to move on.

    Conducted by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and five local governments including the City of St. Augustine, City of Stuart/Martin County, City of St. Petersburg, City of Sarasota and Monroe County/Marathon/Key West, the pilot tested a variety of methods of regulated anchoring, while still protecting the anchoring rights of the active cruising public. It also sought to reduce the growing population of derelict vessels in the state.

    BoatUS expressly thanks Gov. Scott, Reps. Matt Caldwell (Lee County) Holly Raschein (Monroe County), Sen. Lauren Book (Broward County) and the FWC for their work on the bill.

    Some of bill’s measures include:

    providing commonsense anchoring regulations in and around mooring fields and waterway infrastructure.
    broadening the definition of a “derelict vessel”; for boats in use, adding new penalties for those whose vessel registration is expired beyond six months; and making it illegal to affix a vessel to an unpermitted, unauthorized or otherwise “unlawful object,” affixed to the bottom of the waters of the state. This could include an unpermitted mooring or an old engine block.
    giving local governments the option to require proof of pumpout after vessels have been anchored for 10 days or longer in federally managed no-discharge-zones (portions of the Florida Keys and waters off Destin).

  • LNM: Northern Gulf July 4th Fireworks

    Week 24 of the 8th Gulf District Local Notices lists a number of fireworks displays along the northern Gulf coast. Americans love fireworks! And, as usual, SSECN admonishes all boaters who plan to view the displays from the water to use extreme caution when arriving and departing the mooring areas set apart for viewing.

    FL – GULF OF MEXICO – PANAMA CITY BEACH – Fireworks Display READ MORE!

    The Sheraton Bay Resort will be conducting a fireworks display on July 1, 2017, from 8:30 p.m. until 9:15 p.m., each day. The fireworks will be launched from a barge in approximate position 30-08-14.07N 085-43-33.29W. Mariners are urged to remain a minimum of 280 feet from the pier due to hazards associated with fireworks. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile Waterways Management Branch, at (251) 441-5976.

    FL – GULF OF MEXICO – PANAMA CITY BEACH – Fireworks Display
    The Panama City Beach CVB will be conducting its annual Fourth of July fireworks display on July 4, 2017, from 9:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from County Pier over the Gulf of Mexico. Mariners are urged to remain a minimum of 700 feet from the pier due to hazards associated with fireworks. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile Waterways Management Branch, at (251) 441-5680.

    FL – GULF OF MEXICO – PANAMA CITY BEACH – Fireworks Display
    The Boardwalk Beach Resort will be conducting a fireworks display on July 3, 2017, from 9:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from the beach just south of the Boardwalk Beach Resort. All persons are requested to remain a minimum of 280 feet from the fireworks launch site due to hazards associated with fireworks. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, at (251) 441-5976.

    FL – GULF OF MEXICO – PANAMA CITY BEACH – Fireworks Display
    The Panama City Beach Parks and Recreation will be conducting its annual Fourth of July fireworks display on July 4, 2017, from 9:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from City Pier at Pier Park, approximate position 30-12-44.74N 085-52-50.04W. Mariners are urged to remain a minimum of 700 feet from the pier, due to hazards associated with fireworks. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile Waterways Management Branch, at (251) 441-5680.

    FL – GULF OF MEXICO – Fireworks Display
    The City of Destin will be conducting a fireworks display on July 4, 2017, from 9:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from the beach on the west side of East Pass, in approximate position 30-23-15.0N 086-31-03.0W. Mariners are urged to remain a minimum of 150 yards from the position due to hazards associated with fireworks. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, at (251) 441-5976.

    FL – GULF OF MEXICO – Fireworks Display
    The Seaside Arts and Entertainment will be conducting a fireworks display on July 4, 2017, from 9:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from a barge in approximate position 30-18-55.0N 086-08-24.0W. Mariners are urged to remain a minimum of 300 yards from the position due to hazards associated with fireworks. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, at (251)441-5976.

    FL – GULF OF MEXICO – Fireworks Display
    The Jim Wilson Association will be conducting its annual Fourth of July fireworks display on July 4, 2017, from 9:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from a barge located in approximate position 30-22-50.97N 086-29-28.66W. Mariners are urged to remain a minimum of 700 feet from the fireworks barge, due to hazards associated with fireworks. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, at (251) 441-5976.

    FL – GULF OF MEXICO – Fireworks Display
    The City of Panama City Beach will be conducting its annual Fourth of July fireworks display on July 4, 2017, from 9:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from a barge near the city pier. Mariners are urged to remain a minimum of 560 feet from the pier due to hazards associated with fireworks. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, at (251) 441-5976.

    FL – APALACHICOLA RIVER – Fireworks Display
    The City of Apalachicola will conduct a fireworks display on July 3, 2017, from 9:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Fireworks will be launched from a barge in approximate position 29-43-53.35N 084-58-46.26W. Mariners are requested to remain a minimum of 150 yards from the fireworks barge, due to hazards associated with fireworks. For further information, mariners can contact U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, at (251) 441-5976.

    FL – ST. JOSEPH BAY – Fireworks Display
    The City of Port St. Joe will be conducting a fireworks display on July 4, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. The fireworks will be launched north of the Port St. Joe Marina. All persons are requested to remain a minimum of 560 feet from the fireworks launch site due to hazards associated with fireworks. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, at (251) 441-5976.

    FL – ST. ANDREW – PANAMA CITY – Fireworks Display
    The Naval Support Activity Panama City will be conducting its annual Fourth of July fireworks display on June 30, 2017, from 9:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from land at the Marina picnic area across from Naval Support Command St. Andrew Bay. All mariners are requested to remain a minimum of 420 feet from the launch site due to hazards associated with fireworks. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard, at (251) 441-5976.

    FL – PANAMA CITY BEACH – Fireworks Display
    The Grand Lagoon Coalition will be conducting their annual Fourth of July fireworks display on July 3, 2017, from 9:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from a barge in Grand Lagoon, Panama City Beach, FL. Mariners are urged to remain a minimum of 420 feet from the pier due to hazards associated with fireworks. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, at (251)441-5680.

    FL – NORTH BAY – Fireworks Display
    The City of Lynn Haven will be conducting a fireworks display on July 4, 2017, from 9:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from the U.S. Air Force Old Fuel Terminal Pier in approximate position 30-14-58.3N 085-40-04.83W. Mariners are urged to remain a minimum of 700 feet from the pier due to hazards associated with fireworks. For additional information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, at (251) 441-5976.

    FL – MEXICO BEACH – Fireworks Display
    The Mexico Beach CDC, Inc., will be conducting a fireworks display on July 4, 2017, from 9:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from the Mexico Beach Pier. All persons are requested to remain a minimum of 420 feet from the fireworks launch site due to hazards associated with fireworks. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, at (251) 441-5976.

    FL – GULF OF MEXICO – NAVARRE BEACH – Fireworks Display
    The Santa Rosa Tourist Development will be conducting a fireworks display on July 4, 2017, from 9:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from the beach near the Black Skinner Pavilion. All persons are requested to remain a minimum of 560 feet from the fireworks launch site due to hazards associated with fireworks. For further information mariners can contact U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, at (251) 441-5976.

    FL – PENSACOLA BAY – Fireworks Display
    Sertoma will be conducting its Annual Fourth of July fireworks display on July 4, 2017, from 9:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from a barge in approximate position 30-24-23.0N 087-12-18.0W. Mariners are urged to remain a minimum of 800 feet from the fireworks barge, due to hazards associated with fireworks. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, at (251) 441-5976.

    FL – PENSACOLA BEACH – Fireworks Display
    The Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce will be conducting its Fourth of July fireworks display on July 4, 2017, from 8:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from a barge offshore behind Bamboo Willie’s. All mariners are requested to remain a minimum of 700 feet from the barge due to hazards associated with fireworks. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, at (251)441-5976.

    AL – GULF OF MEXICO – FORT MORGAN – Fireworks Display
    The Beach Club in Fort Morgan, AL., will be conducting its Fourth of July fireworks display on July 4, 2017, from 8:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from the beach. All mariners are requested to remain a minimum of 300 feet from the location due to hazards associated with fireworks. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, at (251) 441-5976.

    For the full list CLICK HERE.

  • LNM: Shoaling, Northern GWW, Statute Mile 273


    This shoaling is in the Northern Gulf Waterway which exits the northwest corner of West Bay.

    FL – GIWW – WEST BAY Channel – Shoaling
    Shoaling has been reported in West Bay Channel in the vicinity of the HWY 79 Bridge between West Bay Buoy 32 (LLNR-31365) and West Bay Buoy 34 (LLNR-31375), encroaching approximately 30 feet into the channel along the north edge. Mariners are urged to exercise caution when transiting the area. Chart 11385, 11390 23/17

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

  • Safe Boating Week in Florida, May 20-26, 2017

    In conjunction with National Safe Boating Week, Gov. Rick Scott has issued a proclamation declaring May 20-26, Safe Boating Week in Florida.


    FWC: Safe boating saves lives

    In conjunction with National Safe Boating Week, Gov. Rick Scott has issued a proclamation declaring May 20-26, Safe Boating Week in Florida. Although Florida’s boating season never really ends, the traditional start is marked by National Safe Boating Week – a time for boaters to focus on simple and effective steps that make boating safer. Leading the nation with nearly 1 million registered vessels across the state, Florida is the boating capital of the world and is world-renowned as a prime boating spot for residents and visitors. Each year, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers respond to far too many tragic and preventable boating accidents, so they want all boaters to remember to boat safely.

    “Boating year-round is just one of the things that makes Florida special,” said Maj. Rob Rowe, leader of the FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section. “And even more people will be out on the water for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. The holiday and National Safe Boating Week, May 20-26, present an opportunity to emphasize the importance of remaining safe while boating.

    “Our officers are committed to keeping people as safe as possible, but we need the public’s help,” Rowe said. “We want to reach as many boaters as we can, to help them understand that most boating accidents are preventable.”

    Boaters can enjoy their time on the water even more by taking a few safety precautions such as wearing a life jacket, using an engine cut-off switch lanyard, designating a sober boat operator, paying attention and keeping a proper lookout, having an emergency locator beacon, filing a float plan and taking a boating safety class.

    The FWC’s 2016 Boating Accident Statistical Report indicates there were 714 reportable boating accidents in Florida last year, resulting in 67 fatalities. This represents a 3 percent decrease in the number of accidents, but a 22 percent increase in fatalities as compared to 2015. The leading cause attributed to boating accidents in 2016 was the operator’s inattention or lack of a proper lookout (29 percent). Falls overboard have been the leading type of fatal accident since 2003, with drowning as the leading cause of death.

    Many of these accidents could have been prevented if the boat operators had paid attention to everything going on around their vessel, maintained a proper lookout and if everyone on board had been wearing a life jacket. Sixty percent of boating-related deaths last year were attributed to drowning, which life jackets are designed to prevent.

    “A lot of people say they don’t wear life jackets because they are uncomfortable,” said Rowe. “However, with the inflatable models that are belt packs or suspenders, you hardly know you have one on. FWC officers wear inflatable life jackets all the time while on the water.”

    For National Safe Boating Week, the FWC is releasing compelling life jacket testimonials from three north Florida families whose lives have been changed by wearing – or not wearing – a life jacket when things went wrong on the water. These dramatic accounts provide vital information and a call to action for every boater to enjoy Florida’s beautiful waters safely while wearing a life jacket.

    An engine cut-off switch lanyard is a safety device that is attached from the boat operator to the ignition. If it is disconnected, the engine will shut down, potentially preventing a boater who has fallen overboard from being injured by the moving propeller of a runaway boat.

    Boating education is critical. In 2016, 70 percent of boat operators involved in fatal accidents had no formal boater education. Florida’s current boating safety education law applies to boaters born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, and who operate a vessel of 10 hp or greater.

    “We live in a great boating state,” said Rowe. “And we believe that safety truly is the key to enjoyment.”

    FWC officers patrol our waterways in an effort to keep all boaters safe by checking that they have the required equipment and are operating safely. Ensure your encounters with FWC officers are positive ones by planning ahead and paying attention while on the water.

    To report people who are operating boats dangerously, call 888-404-FWCC (3922) or text Tip@MyFWC.com. More information can be found by visiting MyFWC.com/Boating. You can even search there for the Florida Public Boat Ramp Finder to help you find a great place to launch your boat.

  • FL Anchoring Legislation Summary

    Our thanks to Kim Russo of AGLCA for posting this summary on Forum.

    Here’s a very helpful summary prepared by our lobbyist, Jerry Paul, out-lining the action to date on the current bill and what it includes. [exoand title=”Read More!“]

    HB 7043 – “Vessels”

    2017 Florida Legislative Session

    _______________________________________________

    Pursuant to Florida Statutes adopted in 2009, Florida’s FWC (Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission) conducted an Anchoring & Mooring Pilot Program which concluded in 2017. The 2009 law also required the FWC to issue a report and required the Florida Legislature to act on recommendations from the pilot program. It is this mandate that HB 7043 addresses. The bill incorporates many of the findings and recommendations from the pilot program. As of May 1, 2017, the bill has been adopted by the Florida House of Representative and the Florida Senate. The bill has been “enrolled” and sent to the Florida Governor for consideration.

    Summary of the bill:

    Prohibits local governments (cities and counties) from adopting new laws that ban or restrict anchoring and mooring outside the boundaries of existing mooring fields.This regulatory authority is reserved to the State so that local governments cannot create a confusing patchwork that varies by location.

    Provides more flexibility for removal of derelict vessels. For example, a vessel is at risk of becoming derelict if the vessel does not have effective means of propulsion for safe navigation within 72 hours after the owner or operator of the vessel receives notice of such from a law enforcement officer and cannot provide proof of purchase of parts necessary for repair.

    The bill does not create any new anchoring restricted areas.The bill does not include the drastic anchoring “set-backs” had been proposed by some local governments and anti-anchoring activists.The bill does, however, include the following setbacks:

    Prohibits a vessel or floating structure from anchoring or mooring within 150 feet of a marina, boat ramp, boatyard, or other vessel launching or loading facility, within 300 feet of a superyacht repair facility.
    Prohibits anchoring within 100 feet outward from the marked boundary of a public mooring field. A local government may establish a distance less than this (but not more) upon notification to FWC.
    Provides exceptions to these restrictions in situations such as when weather requires temporary anchoring for safety.

    Note: As stated above, the bill does not create any new anchoring restricted areas. Remember, however, that a bill was adopted during the 2016 legislative session that established anchoring restricted areas in the following locations: (a) The section of Middle River lying between Northeast 21st Court and the Intracoastal Waterway in Broward County; (b) Sunset Lake in Miami-Dade County; (c) The sections of Biscayne Bay in Miami-Dade County lying between: 1. Rivo Alto Island and Di Lido Island, 2. San Marino Island and San Marco Island, and 3. San Marco Island and Biscayne Island.

    Prohibits a vessel or floating structure from anchoring, mooring, tying, or otherwise affixing to an unpermitted or unauthorized object that is on or affixed to the bottom of waters of the state.

    Allows local governments to adopt the Monroe County/Florida Keys standard program for requiring proof of pump-outs within 10-14 days in certain locations such as no-discharge zones and mooring fields.

    Kim Russo
    Director
    America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association
    krusso@greatloop.org
    843.879.5030

    Wally Moran adds his thoughts on this legislation via his blog, LiveBloggin’ the ICW

    [/expand]
  • Is It AICW, GICW, GIWW or West Florida Intracoastal Waterway?

    Regarding the West Florida intracoastal waterway, Paul E. raises questions about official USCG terminology versus local usage with this comment:

    Just a friendly reminder that the ICW by Sarasota is officially part of the AICW and not part of the GICW. While Sarasota in along the Gulf Coast, the GICW goes from Carrabelle, FL to Brownsville, TX. 

    to which I responded:

    Re “GIWW” I try to use the USCG’s terminology. See these recent LNM headings:

    FLORIDA – GIWW – TAMPA BAY: Maximo Marina Redevelopment
    FLORIDA – GIWW – CHARLOTTE HARBOR TO TAMPA BAY – GASPARILLA SOUND CHANNEL: Construction.
    FLORIDA – GIWW – CHARLOTTE HARBOR TO TAMPA BAY – FORKED CREEK: Private Aid Hazard to Navigation

    I know Claiborne always told me that West Floridians hated having the West Florida Waterway referred to as GIWW or GICW. However, for the novice boater, I find it hard to refer to the western waterway as Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Confusing at best.

    We welcome your opinions!

    READ MORE!

    Hi Larry,

    Actually this getting more interesting. I recall reading some time back that the Gulf Intracoastal waterway extends from Brownsville, TX to Carrabelle, FL. Location along the GICW is measured in statutory miles east and west of Harvey Lock, NO. That is Harvey Lock is 0 StM, the StM values increase east from 0 to 375 StM at Carrabelle whereas westward, the StM increase from 0 StM at Harvey Lock to StM 665 at Brownville, TX. There is a wiki page on the GICW which defines the GICW as ranging from Carrabelle to Brownsville too(but just because it is online does not make it correct).

    At some level it is all semantics, in that is there is one ICW, Intracoastal WaterWay, that encompasses all, with regions of the ICW loosely defined(or loosely labled & used). The ICW has many segments, and it is probably not fair to split it in two regions. In fact, historical there were AIWW, GIWW, and the FIWW (plus I’m sure others). The well known Atlantic Inland Water Way, the Gulf Inland Water Way, and the Florida Inland Water Way (West FL & Okeechobee). While the FIWW label is not widely used, the Florida west coast region has it own layout of statutory miles going from Anclote Key (StM 150) to Sanibel/Ft Meyers area (StM 0). In fact, one very trusty online resource, CruisersNet, gets this right and distinguishes this region as “WF ICW”. See: http://cruisersnet.net/marinas/060-wf-icw-miserable-mile-to-gasparilla-island/ 

    Actually, I found the attached historical document “History of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway” by the US Army Corp of Engineers very interesting. At one point there were plans to extend the GIWW from Carrabelle through St Marks and down to Anclote Key, making one continuous GIWW which would include the Okeechobee Waterway(which I guess one could be referred as OIWW (or Oke-ICW) since it has it own StM system). Ok, I give up. But I do prefer: Atlantic-ICW, Gulf-ICW, West_Florida-ICW, Oke-ICW, … And I would rather not use the old inland waterway terms like AIWW & GIWW.-
    Paul E.
    1981 C&C 38 Landfall
    S/V Johanna Rose
    Carrabelle, FL

  • FWC Advises Taking Boater Education Classes

    Another reminder of this important advice, see 2017 NC Public Boating Safety Classes.


    FWC encourages boaters to ‘Spring Aboard’ by taking a boater education class
    March 17, 2017 Read More

    World-class fishing, crystal blue waters, endless sunshine – there’s so much about Florida’s waterways to enjoy. During the week of March 19-25, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourage all boaters to take part in the national “Spring Aboard” campaign by taking a boating safety course.

    “We know that an educated boater is safer on the water. If a boat operator has taken a boating safety education course, the likelihood of their time spent on the water being a safe and enjoyable experience is much greater for them as well as their passengers,” said Stephanie Weatherington, president of NASBLA. “March is the perfect time to take a course before the summer boating season begins.”

    Many course providers will offer incentives or course discounts for students who enroll in or complete a course during the “Spring Aboard” campaign. For a summary of Florida’s regulations and available courses, go to MyFWC.com/Boating.

    “In Florida, boaters who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1980, are required to complete and pass a boater safety education course. But everyone interested in boating should take a course – it’s the smart thing to do,” said Maj. Robert Rowe, FWC’s Boating and Waterways section leader. “Boaters have many ways to get educated, from classroom courses offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons to online offerings available anytime day or night. There’s no reason to head out on the water without this knowledge.”

    Florida boating accident statistics from 2015 indicate that, when the level of operator education was known, 72 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.

    About NASBLA
    The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. The association offers a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards and publications. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, NASBLA affects the lives of over 73.5 million American boaters.

  • LNM: Offshore Testing, Southwest of Panama City, FL, Northern Gulf

    These long term tests will occur 39 miles southwest of Panama City until the end of this year. Obviously, offshore cruisers will need to steer clear!

    FL – GULF OF MEXICO – U.S. Navy Testing READ MORE!


    Commencing February 28, 2017 and continuing until approximately December 31, 2017, the U.S. Navy will be conducting inert underwater mine and Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS) destructor testing in the Gulf of Mexico, in an area approximately 39 nautical miles southwest of the Panama City Pass. The inert mine destructors are silver and orange, 3 feet long, 6 inches in diameter and weighs approximately 2 pounds in water, while weighing 35 pounds in air. Inert mine bottom shapes and inert miner destructors will be deployed, operated and tested in the below
    test areas during this period. AMNS testing will consist of surface ship operations to include the following: R/V SEWEE or R/V PATRIOT and Project Support Crafts (PSC) 02, 03, 05 or PSC 11; however, additional R/Vs may be added in the future. It is requested that all vessels maintain a one nautical mile CPA of all vessels while operations are in progress. All U.S. Navy / U.S. Navy contracted AMNS support vessels will monitor VHF-FM Channel 16. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact Mr. Robertson at (850) 230-7698. The corners of the test areas are as follows:
    Test Area A:
    29-56-25.20N 085-54-36.00W,
    29-58-55.20N 085-54-36.00W,
    29-58-55.20N 085-51-42.60W and
    29-56-25.20N 085-51-42.60W.
    Test Area B:
    29-45-25.20N 086-21-49.80W,
    29-47-01.20N 086-21-49.80W,
    29-47-01.20N 086-19-52.80W and
    29-45-25.20N 086-19-52.80W.
  • Florida’s Anchoring Program, MTOA Updates, 1/30/2017

    Our thanks to Mike Bodin of Marine Trawler Owners Association for this updated perspective on Florida’s anchoring restrictions. See Florida Wildlife and Fish Commission Proposed Anchoring Program. See link below to donate to these lobbying efforts.

    Florida’s Anchoring Program Update 1/30/17 MTOA Read More

    Boaters’ rights to anchor in public waterways are under attack again in Florida. SSCA, MTOA,
    and AGLCA, are raising money to fund a professional lobbyist to defend our rights. The
    lobbyist team Capitol Access, Tallahassee, is now representing boaters from unjustified
    regulations. Help us to stop the attack on Florida’s anchorage areas. Please donate TODAY:

    www.mtoa.net “BOATERS’ RIGHTS FUND”  {Note: Click on Chart below Boaters’ Rights Fund, then ignore Log In to Contribute and go directly to name/address form.}

    Many wealthy Florida waterside residents, condominium units and cities complained to their local
    governments about anchoring boats spoiling their water views. Federal government owns the land
    under waterways and relinquished semi-control to Florida state. This anti-anchoring consortium
    contacted their state representatives to change the law to prohibit anchoring in front of their
    waterside property
    Florida enacted a study called Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program in 2009. The study is to be
    completed July 1, 2017. Final recommendations to be submitted by January 1, 2018. The multi-million
    dollar 244-page report is available for review. “Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program Final Report of
    Findings and Recommendations 12/21/2016” in Adobe PDF. During last year’s legislative season the
    report was accepted as submitted. 2017 is the final year. Florida legislature has stated they will accept
    the state recommendations for state law. The report has several anti-anchoring provisions that must
    be changed to better represent the needs of the boating community. One glaring item of concern; If
    enacted, county governments can easily contact the state for an exemption to control and regulate
    local anchoring without any input from the boating community. The unintended consequence of the
    legislation would be the precedent it would set for other states along the eastern seaboard to follow
    banning anchoring.
    A large “AHOY MATE” call is now being made to fellow boaters. As a boating community, we can be
    complacent, stand back and complain when our previously used anchoring areas are no longer
    available or put on some heavy weather gear and ride the storm out while still keeping the heading.
    This will ensure future anchorage availability for us and our children. How is this accomplished? As any
    boater knows you must have the right gear. 1) We need a knowledgeable professional lobbyist. 2)
    Money is required for this lobbyist: $35k, 3) How do we get the funds? The boating community unites
    and individual boaters to donate as they can. Marine Trawler Owners Association (MTOA) has engaged
    the services of Capitol Access, an outstanding lobbying firm with offices in Tallahassee to represent all
    boaters interest from unjustified regulation upon the waterways., Today combined funds from
    members of American Great Loop Cruising Association (AGLCA), and Seven Seas Cruising Association
    (SSCA) are assisting with contributions from their membership. Additional funds are required to
    continue a pro- anchoring strategy to roll back unjustified regulation of anti-anchoring language in the
    proposed bill. Your support is requested. Marine Trawlers Owners Association has set up the following
    site for your donations from the boating community at large: Go to:
    www.mtoa.net highlight tab “FL Anchoring Rights Fund”
    We need your financial support. The following is a time progression review demonstrating the need
    for a professional lobbyists and active boater participation to win the pro-anchoring debate.
    2017
    2016 over whelming defeat for pro-anchoring advocates required a change in tactics for boaters right
    to anchor. MTOA closely reviewed the situation and with board consensus agreed a professional
    Lobbyists was required to prevent 2016 outcome for the 2107 legislative season.
    We have now finalized the engagement and compliance registrations for our lobbyist in the Capitol
    (Jerry Paul of Capitol Access). As you may know, Jerry is a member of MTOA, SSCA, AGLCA and DeFever
    Cruisers. He is an active cruiser, a former marine engineer, merchant mariner, attorney and former
    elected member of the Florida Legislature. He lead our successful efforts in Tallahassee 2 years ago
    under the lead of SSCA.
    This year MTOA is the lead client and coordinator working closely with Jerry. Special thanks to SSCA
    and AGLCA for joining the team and for providing additional funding support for the effort. Thank you
    also for the contributions by members of our organizations and others such as the DeFever Cruisers.
    We are up and running. Jerry is in communication with key legislators who will be involved in this
    process throughout Florida’s Annual 60-day Legislative Session which begins on March 7. There are 3
    remaining “Committee Weeks” that will occur prior to March 7 during which legislators will be filing
    bills and even holding hearings in preparation for the regular session.
    Through the counsel of our lobbyist, we will apply the approach that worked well when we were last
    organized a couple of sessions ago. For example, he will keep us updated regularly as he collects
    information. Through him we will coordinate effective messaging (some wholesale and some retail)
    that leverages our vast number of cruisers and the merits of our position. But, it is important that we
    maintain control of the message. It needs to be tailored to the specific issues that are critical to the
    moment as legislation makes its way through multiple committees comprised of different elected
    members (and staff), each with unique perspectives. Our messaging must be respectful and
    professional. Finally, it must be timed precisely and targeted surgically in varying ways (email, phone,
    and even personal appearances in Committees). This is a running process so timing is important. Mike
    Bodin, MTOA, Public Advocate will be coordinating these activities.
    So far, it appears as though there will be a bill filed that implements some of the recommendations of
    the Report by the FWC (Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission) which was prepared to summarize the
    results of the Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Project that expires this year. This is the report that was
    recently heard by the Senate Environment Committee (the committee that originated the language a
    couple years ago, that including certain anchoring bans). A draft of the bill is not yet available. We are
    in communication with the key likely sponsors and we’re already messaging our opposition to such
    bans. So far, it appears we have some key members who associate with our view. We are hopeful that
    the initial draft(s) will not include the adverse provisions. If it does, we will work to get it removed. If it
    does not, we must be vigilant until the end of the Session to ensure that the adverse language does not
    get amended into it.
    We will report on these developments and follow up with effective calls-to-action by our members and
    all who share our desire to preserve Florida’s rich maritime history of freedom to safely anchor
    throughout the public’s coastal waters of the State
    2016 REVIEW
    Yeas, represent the Anti- Anchoring votes by the committees and legislature:
    1/26/16 House Committee Vote yeas 12 Nays 0
    2/25/16 House Committee Vote yeas 15 Nays 1 Note: Extreme spread
    3/04/16 House Vote yeas 105 Nays 12
    3/0716 Senate Vote yeas 36 Nays 2
    3/09/16 Signed by officers and presented to Governor HJ 980
    3/24/16 Approved and signed by Florida’s Governor Rick Scott (chapter 2016-96)
    7/01/16 Effective Date for state law banning anchoring by county designation. The state law banned
    overnight anchoring within areas of Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
    Once it was seen there was no opposition from pro- anchoring groups, anti-anchoring legislation
    emerged and gathered enough momentum to easily pass. Do not underestimate the extent to which
    that momentum is perceived to still exist in Tallahassee. It was quite evident at the Senate
    Environment Committee (the Committee that originated the bill we defeated 2 years ago). Notice that
    this Committee chose to place the topic on its agenda early in the process. The cruising/anchoring
    interests have been unrepresented for a while and that has been noticed.
    Note: The boating community was complacent. No Lobbyists, No boating community involvement.
    Capitol Access was not retained.
    2015 REVIEW
    No set back or anchoring restrictions—Capitol Access, Active Lobbyists, Active boating community
    2014-2012 REVIEW
    No set back or anchoring restrictions—Capitol Access, Active Lobbyists, Active boating community
    It can plainly be observed if boaters are again complacent in 2017, the 2016 results can be expected.
    We salute such groups as American Great Loop Cruising Association, Seven Seas Cruising Association,
    Marine Trawler Owners Association, and DeFever Cruisers for their active and financial support. These
    great organizations have started the process. Now your financial support is needed to continue.
    Donation site www.mtoa.net highlight tab

    Mike Bodin
    MTOA Public Advocate

  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Management Area System is 75 Years Old

    FWC celebrates 75 years of wildlife management area conservation success Read More


    In 2017, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is commemorating the 75th anniversary of the wildlife management area system, one of the state’s greatest natural treasures. The FWC oversees this statewide network of remote and scenic lands, managing them for conservation and recreation. To celebrate the milestone and help people discover the opportunities these public lands offer, the FWC is hosting free events throughout the year.

    “Florida has one of the largest systems of public lands in the country at nearly 6 million acres, and these lands are the best of the best of what wild Florida has to offer,” said FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski. “These natural communities span a variety of habitats from longleaf pine uplands and pine flatwoods to the hardwood hammocks and sawgrass savannas of the Everglades. Not only are these areas beautiful, they are managed to provide habitat for many species of wildlife and access for people to enjoy hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing and more.”

    Florida’s first WMA, Fred C. Babcock/Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area, was established in late 1941 in Charlotte and Lee counties. By the 1960s, there were 28 WMAs. Today, the FWC is the lead manager or landowner of over 1.4 million acres, and works in partnership with other governmental or private landowners on another 4.5 million acres. These healthy habitats are essential to Florida wildlife – both common and imperiled species. The FWC uses its scientific expertise and a comprehensive ecological approach to manage a variety of wildlife while balancing public access to these wild lands.

    WMAs provide many recreational opportunities including paddling, fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, photography, wildlife viewing, and target shooting at areas with a public shooting range. They also offer a wide range of hunting opportunities including special hunts for families and people with disabilities. Throughout 2017, the FWC will host a variety of events to celebrate Florida’s WMAs. Events include a statewide geocaching challenge, volunteer work days, a photo contest, guided hikes, fun opportunities to explore WMAs, and citizen science bioblitzes where members of the public help document wildlife species at WMAs.

    To learn more about upcoming events or to find a WMA near you, visit MyFWC.com/WMA75. Share your visits to Florida WMAs on social media by using #WMAzing.

  • New Year’s Eve Fireworks, St. Joesph to Mobile, Northern Gulf

    Except as noted, most of these displays begin at midnight and last about 10 minutes. As usual with night time navigation, great care must taken in the vicinity of anchored spectator boats, especially following the displays.

    St. Joseph Bay            10PM
    Panama City Beach    Midnight
    Mexico Beach              Midnight
    Cinco Bayou                8PM and Midnight
    Fort Walton                 Midnight
    Santa Rosa Sound      Midnight
    Destin Harbor             8PM
    Mobile                          Midnight

    Enjoy!

  • Question re Height of Fort Walton Beach Bridge, NGICW Statute Mile 223


    If you have local knowledge of the air clearance extremes at this bridge, let us hear from you. With a charted clearance of 50ft, but noted as 48ft, Brooks – Fort Walton Beach Bridge – crosses the Northern Gulf ICW at Statute Mile 223 – west of the Waterways exodus from Choctawhatchee Bay and unlighted daybeacon #4A.

    What height sailboat can pass under this bridge? Ours is 47.5 feet from the waterline to the top of the mast. Info says if 48 or higher you will not pass under. Is this measured at high or low tide?

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Northern Gulf Bridge Directory Listing For Fort Walton Beach Bridge

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Fort Walton Beach Bridge

  • Stolen Sailing Vessel, Panama City, FL

    If you sight this vessel, please contact Tony at 850-851-8619, local authorities or SSECN via email contact@cruisersnet.net.

    About two weeks ago, a crewmate stole my 43′ Gulfstar sailing ketch from Panama City Florida. The name of the boat is “The Solution”. She has white hill with red sail covers and red canvas over the cockpit.
    The guy who stole it is 18 yrs old named Bear McGinty. He has his girlfriend on board with her 6 month old baby boy. Believe they are headed to Galveston Texas.
    If anyone sees the boat please call me at 850.851.8619.
    Much thanks,
    Robert A. (Tony) Hicks

  • Log of the Ideath, Surviving Hermine, Captain Randy Mims, September 3, 2016

    You only have to spend a short time talking with Randy Mims to know that he has the

    Randy Mims

    Randy Mims

    soul of a true sailor and, as you will read in the log below, he is the very essence of the DYI! Randy not only built his 27ft gaff-rigged cutter, Ideath, but each year he single-hands the cutter from North Carolina to the Northern Gulf Coast and back again. “Ideath” is pronounced Idea-th and loosely translates as “house of ideas”. Randy stops along the way to visit maritime museums and, indulging his passion for music, he volunteers to sing and play in church choirs along the way. He also takes time to share his travels with his friends and has agreed to allow SSECN to post his emails. For more photos and more on Randy, go to http://towndock.net/shippingnews/ideath?pg=1 from TownDock.net in Oriental, NC. See previous installment: http://cruisersnet.net/157772.

    CLICK HERE FOR LOG OF THE IDEATH
    Dear Friends,
    Let me begin by apologizing to everyone that does not follow me on Facebook or Youtube for not sending a text update when I arrived back in Apalachicola. I posted a video about the nice sail from St. Pete to Apalach but forgot to tell everyone that I had made it. OOPS! Since I arrived, I have been playing a lot of music. In addition to practicing four instruments for half an hour each almost every day, I have played at the Apalachicola Farmer’s Market and various Open Mics. Of course I have resumed doing a Prelude for the church service every other Sunday and play flute along with the organ on the Processional and Recessional. I hope everyone had a great summer. It seems strange that just when you get the faintest hint that fall is actually going to get here that Hurricane season get’s the most active. Back is 2002 I went across the creek from the dock at low tide and cut a hole in the marsh grass. On what I remember as probably the hottest day there ever was, I dug a three foot deep hole that measured three feet by two feet. Out each end of this hole I dug a trench two feet deep that was about a foot wide and eight feet long. Into this trench a went a “landscape timber”. Around this timber I fastened a length of five-eights inch chain. Into the big hole (which of course was beginning to fill with the tide coming back in) I mixed eight ninety pound bags of concrete mix. This produced about a six hundred pound anchor with which to hold the boat out in the creek and off the dock when the storm surge actually gets higher than the dock. When I got back this time I noticed that the buoy that marked the end of the chain was missing. Investigating I found that over the years the massive chain had melted into something that wouldn’t hold a rowboat in place. It took weeks for there to be a low tide that wasn’t in the middle of the night. Thankfully last week the tide was right at about seven thirty one evening. With shovel and post hole digger and a piece of 3/4 inch nylon anchor line that I had prepared with a loop spliced in one end and a thimble spliced into the other I paddled across the creek not looking forward to what I had to do. Actually I had my doubts if it would even be possible. But with a positive attitude and only about an hour and a half till dark, I dug a hole on the side of the block away from the creek and a smaller hole down beside the block on the creek side and lying face down in the mud I began trying to push a drain cleaning snake through the mud under the anchor from one hole to the other. I lost track of how many tries it took but with the light failing I hit the other hole. Hallaluja!! I had my anchor back. This proved to be a very good thing. Depression Nine about which the weather service didn’t seem to have a clue did indeed become a hurricane though thankfully not a powerful one and came right to Apalachicola. I spent last night with IDEATH tied to the dock and fore and aft to the anchor across the creek and with an anchor down the creek. Every hour (until the barometer started going back up) and then every two hours I went out into the thirty to fifty mile an hour wind and the DRIVING rain and checked and adjusted lines and was thankful that the storm wasn’t worse. I love living on the boat. It is not always Fun and Relaxing, but NOTHING is more beautiful than the sunrise after a storm. The air is completely clean and the world is peaceful and new.
    Peace and Love to you All,
    Randy
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