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Archive For: NORTHERN GULF – All News

  • LNM: St. Andrews Marina Blessing of the Fleet, April 8, 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
    St. Andrew's Marina

    Panama City on St. Andrews Bay is home to two SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS, Panama City Marina and St. Andrews Marina. Boaters must stand clear and navigate with great care in the vicinity of these sailboats.

    FL – ST. ANDREW BAY – PANAMA CITY – Boat Parade
    St. Andrews Marina will be conducting its annual Blessing of the Fleet in St. Andrew Bay, on April 8, 2017, from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. The regatta will consist of approximately 15 boats. Mariners are urged to use caution while transiting the area. For up-to-date information, mariners can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile at (251) 441-5976. Chart 11391 LNM 12/17

    Click Here To View the Northern Gulf Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For St. Andrews Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of St. Andrews Marina

    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

  • 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: Update: Naval Operations: Moored Target Area Southwest of Panama City

    Naval exercises continue in the area of Panama City/St Andrews Bay and associated offshore waters.

    FL – GULF OF MEXICO – PANAMA CITY BEACH – Naval Operations – UPDATEREAD MORE!

    Continuing until approximately March 31, 2017, the U.S. Navy will conduct test operations in an area approximately 12 nautical miles southwest from the mouth of Panama City Pass, Florida. The Navy will be placing moored targets at various depths from the surface that will pose a hazard to navigation. The center point of this target field is in approximate position 30-07-50.70N 085-57-56.82W. The targets will be placed in the water column at various depths from the surface to the bottom. The hazard area will be marked with 8 lighted hazard buoys. The M/V TYSON B will be on-station during the entire time to further ensure and warn vessels of the hazards to navigation. Mariners transiting the area should contact the support vessel via VHF-FM Channel 16, heed all instructions and remain a minimum of 3 nautical miles from vessels on station. Charts: 1115A 11360 11380 LNM 08/17

    FL – GULF OF MEXICO – PANAMA CITY BEACH – Naval Operations
    Commencing February 21, 2017 and continuing until approximately March 31, 2017, the U.S. Navy will conduct test operations in an area approximately 12 nautical miles south southwest from the mouth of Panama City Pass, Florida. The Navy will be placing various moored targets at various depths from the surface that will pose a hazard to navigation. The center point of this target field is in approximate position 30-08-03.30N 085-57-54.07W. The targets will be placed in the water column at various depths from the surface to the bottom. The hazard area will be marked with 4 lighted hazard buoys and will be further surrounded by orange marker buoys. The M/V TYSON B will be on-station during the operation to further ensure and warn vessels of the hazards to navigation. Mariners transiting the area should contact the support vessel via VHF-FM Channel 16, heed all instructions and remain a minimum of 3 nautical mile from vessels on station, in these operating areas. Charts: 1115A 11360 11380 LNM 07/17

  • 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

  • LNM: Update on Repairs, DuPont Bridge, East Bay, GICW 295.5


    With a fixed vertical clearance of 50ft, the DuPont Bridge crosses the Waterway at Mil 295.5.

    01/11/2017: FL – GIWW – ST. ANDREWS BAY – Dupont Bridge – Rehabilitations – UPDATE
    Work continues on the fender replacement in kind and the bridge spall repairs at the Dupont Bridge crossing the GIWW, mile 295.5, EHL, east side of the St. Andrews Bay, Bay County, Florida. Additional work is needed on the bridge girders in Spans 9 through 16 and Spans 18 through 23. The main navigation channel is located in Span 16. On scene marine equipment will consist of a 150-foot by 45-foot spud deck barge with a crane and a 120-foot by 40-foot spud deck barge for materials. At times the main channel’s horizontal clearance of 180 feet will be reduced during
    removal and replacement of the fender system. The M/V LLOYD W will be monitoring VHF-FM Channel 16. The project will continue until March 2017. Contractors will work 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday, during daylight hours only. In an emergency, contact (850) 814-1918 or (850) 960-4839. Mariners are requested to exercise caution when transiting the area. Charts 11389, 11390, 11393 LNM 02/17

    11/30/2016: FL – GIWW – ST. ANDREWS BAY – Dupont Bridge – Rehabilitations – UPDATE
    Work continues on the fender replacement in kind and the bridge spall repairs at the Dupont Bridge crossing the GIWW, mile 295.5, EHL, east side of the St. Andrews Bay, Bay County, Florida. Additional work is needed on the bridge girders in Spans 9 through 16 and Spans 18 through 23. The main navigation channel is located in Span 16. On scene marine equipment will consist of a 150-foot by 45-foot spud deck barge with a crane and a 120-foot by 40-foot spud deck barge for materials. At times the main channel’s horizontal clearance of 180 feet will be reduced to 80 feet during removal and replacement of the fender system. The M/V LLOYD W will be monitoring VHF-FM Channel 16. The project will continue until March 2017. Contractors will work 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday, during daylight hours only. In an emergency, contact (850) 814-1918 or (850) 960-4839. Mariners are requested to exercise caution when transiting the area. Charts 11389, 11390, 11393 LNM 48/16

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

  • 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
  • Gulf Crossing Roll Call

    This call for a fleet formation of Gulf crossing vessels is from our good friends at AGLCA.

    Hey all,
    We are moving to Panama City today To sort of get in position for our crossing. Since it has been awhile since the weather window opened many of us have taken Eddy’s advice and been slow floating Since getting off of the rivers. Loopers are strung out from Carrabelle back to Mobile. It looks like that when a opportunity finally arrives there will be a whole armada of us moving. It would be nice to know how many, who we are and planned crossing speed.
    Probably not too early to get a roll call of vessels who are staged intending to cross at the next window since we are at many different ports right now. Our plans a capability:

    Panama City until the window is a day or so away. Then Apalachacola or Carrabelle (if there will even be room). If no room we are capable of going direct from Panama City.
    Boat speed 7 MPH to 25 MPH. Prefer 10 – 20.
    Charlie and Kay Woodard

  • More on Red Tide Risks on the Beaches of Florida

    These latest warnings must be heeded if you have children or pets playing at the beach. See “Red tide public health risks” below.

    fwc
    For immediate release: October 30, 2015
    Contact: Kelly Richmond, FWC 727-502-4784

    Red tide confirmed in Florida: What you need to know

    Red tide is a naturally occurring, higher-than-normal concentration of microscopic algae. In Florida, the species that causes most red tides is Karenia brevis. This organism produces toxins that can affect the central nervous system of aquatic organisms such as fish and marine mammals. Red tide toxins also pose a human health risk. The toxins can aerosolize and be carried to beaches with onshore winds, leading to respiratory irritation in people. Toxins can accumulate in shellfish and result in illnesses if contaminated shellfish are consumed. Shellfish harvesting areas are closed when blooms are present.

    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) researchers are currently monitoring two blooms along Florida’s Gulf coast, one located in northwest Florida and the other in southwest Florida.

    “We confirmed the presence of both blooms in September, and they have persisted since that time,” said Alina Corcoran, FWC research scientist. “The bloom in the Panhandle is currently affecting Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay and Gulf counties. In southwest Florida, patchy blooms have been confirmed along Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties. Extensive fish kills and respiratory irritation have been associated with the bloom in the Panhandle but in southwest Florida the effects have been less.”

    Red tide public health tips:

    People in a red tide area can experience varying degrees of eye, nose and throat irritation. When a person leaves an area with a red tide, symptoms usually go away.
    People with severe or chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic lung disease are cautioned to avoid areas with active red tides.
    In some red tides, dead fish wash ashore; during these conditions it is advised that beachgoers avoid swimming in water where dead fish are present.
    Pet owners are advised that red tide poses a risk to animals brought to the beach. If a pet swims in a red tide patch at the beach, rinse off its fur and paws as soon as possible with fresh water. Also, do not let pets eat fish or drink water from the red tide.
    Recreational harvesting of bivalve mollusks such as hard clams, oysters and mussels from approved shellfish harvesting areas is banned during red tide closures. To determine whether harvesting of shellfish is permitted in an area, visit the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Aquaculture website.
    FWC researchers work closely with partners, including Mote Marine Laboratory, the University of South Florida, Department of Health, Department of Agriculture and NOAA, to track blooms, share information and develop products that help to inform both citizens and scientists about bloom conditions.

    “Citizen scientists play a vital role in tracking blooms. Volunteers can provide the majority of water samples for bloom tracking in regions like the Panhandle,” said Corcoran.

    For updated red tide status reports, to track blooms or learn more about red tide, visit MyFWC.com/RedTide. To report fish kills to the FWC, contact the Fish Kill Hotline at 800-636-0511 or submit a report online.

    Additional red tide resources:

    Red tide facts and information pocket guide and Fact sheet
    Florida Department of Health
    Shellfish Harvesting Area Status
    Mote Marine Laboratory Beach Condition Reporting System at Mote.org/Beaches
    USF Collaboration for the Prediction of Red Tides (CPR)
    NOAA Harmful Algal Bloom Operational Forecast System (HAB-OFS)
    redtide4

    And this from WTSP 10 News:

    Red tide sparks tourism concerns
    Eric Glasser, WTSP 5:40 p.m. EST December 9, 2015

    St. Petersburg Beach, FL — Pictures of dead fish washing ashore in the Bay area are not the images that tourism officials want popping up on social media.
    But red tide, say marine scientists, is now here. And how long it will last, they admit, is a mystery.
    Visitors like Kathy Keleher who came to St. Petersburg from Canada to experience its cuisine and culture have seen the images of bloated fish now floating in Boca Ciega Bay.
    “And then it’s gross, and it stinks,” said Keleher, “I don’t expect that at all. I expect beautiful white sandy beaches and clear water and palm trees. Not that,” she said.
    It’s not what those who rely on tourism want people texting their friends and relatives back home.
    “No, I mean it’s horrible for business obviously,” said Wade Parrish, head chef at O’Maddy’s Bar and Grille in Gulfport.
    “You know, the smell would be a deterrent for people to come out here and sit outside and enjoy the wonderful view that we’ve got here,” said Parrish.
    Bob Weisberg with the University of South Florida’s Marine Sciences lab in St. Petersburg, says red tide, or Karenia Brevis as they call it, can kill fish and even cause respiratory distress for people and marine mammals in high enough concentration.
    “There is very little we can do about the red tide,” said Weisberg, describing it as simply too large.
    “This particular plant can get a foothold, and when it does it then dominates,” said Weisberg, “which is what’s happening right now,” he said.
    The red tide algae, says Weisberg, makes its way inland from deep in the Gulf of Mexico riding along strong underwater currents.
    Scientists, he says, could better predict how long it might stick around if they were able to take more offshore observations.
    Unfortunately, he says, the estimated $300,000 cost to consistently send a boat out into the Gulf of Mexico to take those readings is regularly cut out of the state budget.
    Commonly, red tide will begin to dissipate this time of the year, said Weisberg.
    But he also warned that there have been some seasons when the algae bloom has survived well into the summer.
    For a closer look at the underwater current charts Weisberg and his colleagues at USF use to try to predict the direction red tide may be moving, click here.

  • Cost of Pumpouts in Florida to be Possibly Paid by Boaters

    As local commissioners struggle to fund the current free pumpout service, it becomes apparent that those costs may soon transfer to boaters, as reported in the article below by Kevin Wadlow in KeysInfoNet.com.

    Boat sewage pumpout costs likely to be assessed on the boaters
    BY KEVIN WADLOW
    A boat-pumpout program launched to protect Florida Keys nearshore waters from sewage discharges stands as a model for the state, but state funding for the program is drying up.

    Money from the state’s Clean Vessel Act “dropped significantly this year,” Monroe County Marine Resources administrator Rich Jones told county commissioners Wednesday at their Key Largo meeting.
    Local contractor Pumpout USA “had a lot of trouble making ends meet this year,” Jones said.
    Monroe County in 2015 will spend about $367,000 on the program, with the state funding around $319,000 toward an estimated 18,000 vessel sewage pumpouts.
    The county’s share works out to $21.10 per pumpout. Overall, average total per-pumpout cost is about $40, down from $55.70 in 2014.
    The state Department of Environmental Protection now seeks “throughout the state to build sustainable pumpout programs, using Monroe County’s pumpout program as a model,” Jones said in a report to commissioners.
    To reduce the number of illegal sewage discharges in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary waters, the pumpouts are offered free of charge to boaters. However, commissioners have urged staff to work toward some type of fee system for boaters.
    “I am concerned about the long-term viability of free pumpouts,” Commissioner Heather Carruthers said. “We can’t count on the state for anything.”
    Commissioner Sylvia Murphy said her office receives “a constant supply of comments” from land residents “who pay for sewage” while anchored liveaboard residents “are not paying taxes or rent or anything else, and we’re paying for their sewage.”
    “I like doing something to keep sewage from going in the bay or ocean but sooner or later we’re going to get on the stick and make them pay,” Murphy said.
    Pumpouts are mandatory inside local managed anchoring areas, where Jones said compliance “is close to 100 percent.”
    Commissioners asked about extending the pumpout requirement to all nearshore Keys waters, but questions about jurisdiction and enforcement were cited as potential obstacles. Staff is “looking at any and all alternatives,” Jones said.

  • Wild Crime on the Waters in Panama City, Northern Gulf ICW Statute Mile 287


    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 vesSt. Andrew's Marina Our thanks to Rich Gano for sending this note-worthy news item. We are grateful that the FWC officer survived the shootout, which occurred on the waters of St. Andrews Bay and not in a marina. Panama City is home to two SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS, St. Andrews Marina and Panama City Marina.

    You can read the basics here http://tinyurl.com/pwed56z and http://www.mypanhandle.com/news/more-information-released-about-fwc-officer-shooting

    It appears that the FWC officer was responding to a disturbance of some sort on the boat the two criminals were aboard, and when he pulled up, one of them disappeared into the boat’s cabin and then reappeared with a gun. Seems he may have had a drug-related warrant out on him in a northern tier state and knew that an identity check would land him in jail. So, of course, murder was the right choice for him, duh. Seems to me that if you want to remain below the radar, you don’t create disturbances on the water. A Panama City Beach police officer was killed (first ever) by a criminal on the run from a northern tier state 11 years ago during what the cop thought was a routine traffic stop.

    In the current case, a gun battle ensued during which the officer ended up in the water, and even reloaded while in the soup firing at the criminals as they hijacked his patrol boat and tried to run him down before running the boat ashore and briefly escaping into a residential area where at least one resident confronted them with a gun.

    Don’t be surprised if FWC guys are a bit cautious when they pull you over these days.
    Rich Gano

    Click Here To View the Northern Gulf Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For St. Andrews Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of St. Andrews Marina

    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

  • History Essay on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway

    Here is an interesting and readable essay on the history of the Gulf ICW from the Texas State Historical Association.

    texas

     

     

    GULF INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY.
    The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is a coastal canal from Brownsville, Texas, to the Okeechobee waterway at Fort Myers, Florida. The Texas portion of the canal system extends 426 miles, from Sabine Pass to the mouth of the Brownsville Ship Channel at Port Isabel. The grand concept of a canal system that would eventually connect Boston harbor with Brownsville harbor was introduced by Albert Gallatin, United States secretary of the treasury, in a report on Public Roads and Canals submitted to the United States Senate in 1808. By 1819 Secretary of War John C. Calhoun had published his Report on Roads and Canals, which posits an urgent need for an improved internal transportation system including waterways.

    Click Here to read the essay by Art Leatherwood.

    Art Leatherwood, “GULF INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/rrg04), accessed March 23, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

     

  • Great White Caught off Panama City Beach, Northern Gulf


    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 vesSt. Andrew's MarinaThis report is from News5 WKRG.com, Panama City, home to two SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS, St. Andrews Marina and Panama City Marina, where you will absolutely never be bothered by great whites or any other sharks! Click on the banners above to be connected to their respective websites.

     

     

    Panama City Beach –
    A rare Great White Shark sighting on the Gulf Coast, this one actually caught in the surf near Panama City Beach.
    According to the Dark Side Sharkers fishing club, Derrick Keeny caught this 9′ 8 1/2″ Great White Sunday, March 1st.
    They snapped a few pictures, tagged and released the shark.
    We found these images on Facebook.
    It’s pretty unusual to see this species in the northern Gulf of Mexico, especially so close to shore.
    You can follow the Dark Side Sharkers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @DSSharkers.

    Click Here To View the Northern Gulf Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For St. Andrews Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of St. Andrews Marina

    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

  • Updated Fuel Prices at Panama City and St. Andrews, Northern Gulf ICW


    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 vesSt. Andrew's MarinaPanama City is home to two SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS, St. Andrews Marina and Panama City Marina. Click on the banners above to be connected to their respective websites.

    As of today diesel (valvetec fresh because of fishing fleet) is $3.00 taxes included. If staying overnight you get 10 cents off = $2.90 a gal. and gas is $3.65. Nice floating concrete docks, protected and convenient to GICW. Dockage is discounted ($1.50 normally)with Boat US 25% also have a weekly rate of $6.50 a foot all inclusive. If stuck waiting for a crossing weather window it is a good spot with access to good shopping and restaurants. This applies to both St Andrews and the Panama City Marinas. By the way, weather and boat permitting you can cross via the St Andrews Inlet (aka Panama City). It is well marked and maintained for ships and is a class A inlet. We’ve crossed several times both directions to/from St Petersburg via this inlet in our slow 8mph trawler but the days are a tad short
    currently so using East Dog pass this time.
    Joe Pica
    Carolyn Ann GH N-37

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of St. Andrews Marina

    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

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