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Archive For: NORTHERN GULF – All News

  • 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

  • Good Words for Bay Point Marina, Panama City Beach, Big Bend Gulf Region


    These words of praise come our friends on the AGLCA Forum. Bay Point Marina is located along the Grand Lagoon, which lies northwest of the St. Andrew Bay entrance channel in Panama City Beach, Florida.

    We second the place to stop or leave your boat for the holidays is Bay Point Marina in Panama City Beach, Fl. We have spent four winters at this marina. The folks are so friendly, gated community, golf course, Publix and Winn Dixie close bye, close to beach and just a great place to be. We just finished 18 months in Nashville with both of us having surgeries and rehab. We had never spent more than 6 months in a marina since we moved aboard our Gulfstar in 2003 so we were ready to cruise. FINALLY we have been given good bill of healths and are on our way by boat to Florida to Bay Point Marina for the winter.
    Roy and Elvie Short

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

  • Thanksgiving Lunch at Turner Marine, Dog River off Mobile Bay


    We have had many positive comments about Turner Marine over the years and this Thanksgiving lunch is typical of their care and concern for boaters. Turner Marine is the first facility to starboard as you cruise under the high-rise Dog River bridge. This notice comes to us from our friends on the AGLCA Forum.

    Hi everyone! Turner Marine want to remind everyone about our Thanksgiving lunch on Wednesday Nov. 26 at 12:30. Everyone is invited, all we ask is that you bring a dish. We will be providing the fried turkeys and paper products. The rest of the menu is up to YOU! Please call the office to RSVP and to make reservations for your boat, at 251-476-1444 or email at TMYS97@aol.com. We look forward to seeing everyone next Wednesday!
    Roger and Christie Turner

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

  • Five-Year Study on Florida’s Red Tide

    Here is an interesting article on red tide which had a recent bloom in the Big Bend region of the Gulf, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=144423.

    fwc-banner

    FWC, partners unlock some mysteries behind red tide in 5-year study

    Last month, researchers at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) published new findings on Florida’s red tide organism, Karenia brevis, in a special issue of the scientific journal Harmful Algae. This publication is the culmination of an unprecedented collaboration on red tide research in the Gulf of Mexico led by the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) and funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
    For more on this study, go to:

    http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLFFWCC/bulletins/dbfa20

    redtide2

  • Red Tide Outbreak on Florida Gulf Coast

    This notice is of especial interest to offshore boaters in the Big Bend area of the Northern Gulf. Our thanks to Jonathan Gorham for submitting this information.

    We have been following the progress of a red tide outbreak on the Florida Gulf Coast as we make our travel plans to the area. Currently (as of September 17) the red tide bloom has been located from 10-20 miles offshore from Levy to Pinellas Counties. It appears to come closest to shore in the area around Cedar Key. Fish kills and respiratory irritation have been reported in the bloom areas. The Florida FWC has a great site with regularly updated maps and lots of background information at:

    http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/statewide/

    Jonathan Gorham
    M/V Top Cat

    redtide

  • Seventh District False Flare Cases are Costly Events

    As detailed in this article by Adam Linhardt in KeysNews.com, this is a real No-Brainer, and surely no SSECN reader would ever be guilty of abusing the use of emergency flares. However, it is a good topic of conversation to have in public places where some of the less-informed might overhear!

    False flare cases plague Coast Guard
    BY ADAM LINHARDT Citizen Staff
    alinhardt@keysnews.com

    Misuse of emergency marine flares is giving the Coast Guard headaches and costing taxpayers a ton of money, the agency said last week.
    Since June, the Coast Guard Seventh District headquartered in Miami, of which Sector Key West is included, reported more than 60 flare sightings. Watchstanders then launched air and boat crews in every instance at a total cost of more than $5 million, according to the Coast Guard.
    Each search typically costs between $60,000 and $90,000 when fuel and manpower needs are totaled, according to data released by the Coast Guard.
    “Shooting a flare in a nondistress situation is no different than dialing 911 and hanging up,” said Capt. Todd Coggeshall, chief of response management for the Coast Guard Seventh District.

    To read more, go to:

    http://keysnews.com/node/57961

  • Vessel Insurance in Florida

    One of our readers is looking for recommendations for an insurer for a 40ft trimaran while in Florida. While SSECN is happy to pass along this request for advice, we cannot serve as a broker or even a kiosk for various insurers. Please offer Skipper Laletin your suggestions via a personal phone call to the number listed below or by email at chrislaletin@mac.com. Thanks!

    I recently relocated my 40 foot trimaran from the Chesapeake to Florida for this winter. Enough freezing snow last year and I don’t want my baby freezing again. Progressive Insurance will not renew my policy in Florida since i’m over 35 feet. Boat US wants 10% of my policy value as a premium. Any suggestions on an insurance company that will insure a 40 foot trimaran. I have never made a claim and never used my Boat US towing. JAZ is presently stored on the hard in Saint Augustine. I can be contacted directly by text or voice call at 808 seven seven two 2133.
    Chris Laletin

  • A New Guide Release and a Commitment to a Worthy Cause

    We are greatly indebted to Captains Susan Landry and Chuck Baier, owners of Beach House Publications, publishers of “The Great Book of Anchorages,” for providing superb, in-depth articles for our readers! This west coast anchorages guide is a welcomed addition to their previous guides and includes a dedication to the late Claiborne Young, co-founder of SSECN.

    A New Guide Release and a Commitment to a Worthy Cause

    Media Information: For immediate release
    Sarasota, Florida – September 1, 2014 — Publishers and long time boaters Chuck Baier and Susan Landry of Beach House Publications announce the release of their fourth guide in The Great Book of Anchorages series, The Gulf Coast, Cape Sable, FL to Mobile, AL, Including the Okeechobee Waterway. This fourth guide has been the most requested to date by fellow boaters. The authors extensive on-the-water travels and research from their trawler Beach House provides the most comprehensive Gulf Coast anchorage guide currently in print. Previous guides in The Great Book of Anchorages series are The Chesapeake Bay, Including the Potomac River, Hampton Roads and Norfolk to The Florida Keys, Including the St. Johns River, and The Bahamas – The Route Most Traveled. Details are available on the website at https://www.tgboa.com/.

    In dedication of this current release, the authors have made a commitment to donate $2.00 from every order placed between August 25, 2014 and September 30, 2014 to one of their favorite charities, The Wounded Warrior Project, http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/. They also challenge other boating publications to offer similar donations. Owner Chuck Baier is himself a veteran from the Vietnam era and understands the need to provide support and additional services to the men and women that sacrifice so much for our country and freedom.
    Beach House Publications and The Great Book of Anchorages series was conceived in August of 2012 on a laptop in the cabin of their Marine Trader trawler, Beach House. All of the guides have been researched, compiled, edited and distributed from their trawler while living aboard and cruising full time. In addition to publishing, the husband and wife team have been freelance writers for over 20 years and have shared their knowledge and experiences in such major boating publications as Cruising World, Bluewater Sailing, Soundings Magazine, Sail Magazine, Southern Boating, Lats and Atts, Marinalife Magazine, Nor’ Easter, Good Old Boat, Living Aboard Magazine and a host of internet sites. The pair often gives presentations to boating organizations such as individual Yacht Clubs, the Marine Trader Owners Association, Americas Great Loop Cruising Association and most currently, TrawlerFest Baltimore 2014.

    If you would like more information on The Great Book of Anchorages series, would like to order books, or interview Chuck or Susan, call us at 713-244-4686 or email info@tgboa.com.
    Website, https://www.tgboa.com/
    Susan Landry, Publisher/Author/Editor
    Chuck Baier, Publisher/Author
    Beach House Publications
    P.O. Box 1418
    Sarasota, Florida 34230
    713-244-4686
    info@tgboa.com

  • Comments on the Report from the FWC Meeting in Tallahassee, July 22-23, 2014

    These discussions and future meetings are extremely important to cruisers who prefer anchoring to docking. Please note that the mention of derelicts, a major cause of the new regulations and a real issue for coastal communities, is not found in this report. The newly established mooring field program and other anchoring restrictions, intended to solve the derelict problem, have not worked in most cases and have, in fact, severely limited the rights of legitimate boaters.

    For an interesting Public Opinion Survey taken by the FWC, go to page 157 of a 220 page report at http://myfwc.com/media/2704721/FindingsRecommendations.pdf

    NOTE: For comments from a landowner/boat owner, see Michael Bodin’s remarks below. His contribution is lengthy, but well worth reading.

    FWC holds public meeting to discuss the future of anchoring regulations in Florida
    In response to increasing concerns between local governments and boaters related to anchoring in state waters within local jurisdictions, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) conducted a public meeting in Tallahassee on July 21-22, 2014, to discuss anchoring issues and potential ways forward to resolve the conflicts.
    Attended by interested persons representing the boating industry, resident and visiting boaters and local and state governments, the two-day meeting focused on complex issues.
    “Protecting the rights of people to use the waters kept in public trust by the state is very important,” said Lt. Colonel Jack Daugherty. “We all want to keep Florida a boater-friendly state and maintain that great part of the Florida lifestyle and economy. On the other hand, local governments have the duty to respond to the needs of their citizens. We are committed to a robust dialogue and to seeking balance between boating interests and local governments in an effort to identify points of consensus and to help resolve some of these issues.”
    This year, Florida’s Legislature extended the Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program, which was authorized in 2009 to look for solutions to these problems, for three additional years in order to allow for more time to test various anchoring strategies and to engage stakeholders in exploring possible legislative solutions. During the public meeting, a framework for potential future anchoring legislation was discussed along with several draft regulatory provisions based on components of the pilot program, each aimed at solving or minimizing specific anchoring challenges.

    FWC staff will draft language based on comments from this meeting, distribute that language to interested parties and hold at least two additional public meetings to further refine a possible legislative proposal. Meeting notices and reference documents will be posted by mid-August on FWC’s Anchoring and Mooring web page, found at http://myfwc.com/boating/anchoring-mooring

    ********

    Those promoting anti-anchoring laws often use the argument that it is about eliminating derelict boats, but the reality is very different. For example, many of the laws exempt local boats that are stored–the vast majority of so-called “derelicts.” In some cases the laws have been pushed by local influential home owners who don’t want people anchored near their property, and in other cases they are pushed by marina and mooring field owners who want to force people to pay for using public waterways. The arguments about safety and derelicts are a smokescreen. Note that boats have broken loose from so-called safe moorings in places like St. Augustine, and yet users must sign an agreement that absolves the city of all liability.
    John Kettlewell

    I’m still not buying the party line from the real estate people that this is about derelict boats. The problem is that waterfront property owners pay a lot for that property, and believe with all their little black hearts, that those high prices mean they should control everything they see from that high priced property. The bigger problem is that people who can afford to buy high priced property, can also afford to buy high priced politicians, through high priced campaign contributions. Another problem is that it doesn’t matter how many times they get these laws or regulations brought up unsuccessfully, or lose, they can get as many bites at the apple as they can afford. And, for a lot of these people, that is a lot of bites.
    In a way we’re lucky that they didn’t just decide that they wanted boats banned, because the same legislators that are carrying the water for them on anchoring restrictions, would be more than available to do it for banning boats, too.
    R. Holiman

  • Possible Threat to Manatees by Protected Status Change

    This article/opinion by Katie Tripp of KeysInfoNet.com highlights how this ruling to reduce their protected status might affect manatees on the East Coast and the Florida Keys.

    Odds already stacked against manatees in federal study for possible downlisting
    By KATIE TRIPP

    In response to a lawsuit by the Pacific Legal Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided downlisting manatees from endangered to threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act may be warranted, and the agency is embarking on a five-year status review as part of the process.
    Let me be very clear about the seriousness of the situation.
    From 2010 to 2013, 2,441 manatees died in Florida waters, which is 48 percent of the highest minimum population ever recorded (5,077 in 2010), but we’d have to wait until after 2015 to be able to include this data. However, ignoring this information would also constitute a substantial and unacceptable bias.

    manatee

  • Port St. Joe Marina to Host Kids Win Fishing Tornament, June 13-14, 2014, St. Joe Bay, Northern Gulf

    Port St. Joe Marina – Click for Chartview

    The Port St. Joe Marina is at the heart of Florida's Forgotten Coast, on the eastern shore of pristine St. Joseph Bay on Florida's northern Gulf Coast. Located between Panama City and Apalachicola, FlIf this SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR facility racks up many more laudatory comments, we may have to open a separate page. In addition to being the Official Weigh-in Station for the 26th Annual Big Bend Saltwater Classic Fishing Tournament, Port St. Joe Marina will also host the Kids Win Fishing Tournament the same weekend in June. Port St. Joe Marina is accessed from the Northern Gulf ICW by way of the Gulf County Canal, which cuts south off the Waterway between Apalachicola and Panama City.

    Saturday, June14th [Kids Win Tournament] will be having meeting and giving items out on Friday, June 13th in the afternoon.
    Clara Landry

    kids

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

  • Port St. Joe Marina to Host Official Weigh-ins, St. Joe Bay, Northern Gulf

    The Port St. Joe Marina is at the heart of Florida's Forgotten Coast, on the eastern shore of pristine St. Joseph Bay on Florida's northern Gulf Coast. Located between Panama City and Apalachicola, Fl

    Port St. Joe Marina – Click for Chartview

    If this SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR facility racks up many more laudatory comments, we may have to open a separate page. Really, from all reports, you can’t do better than coil your lines at Port St. Joe Marina. And now, Port St. Joe Marina will be the Official Weigh-in Station for the 26th Annual Big Bend Saltwater Classic Fishing Tournament in June. The marina is accessed from the Northern Gulf ICW by way of the Gulf County Canal, which cuts south off the Waterway between Apalachicola and Panama City.

    The Port St. Joe Marina will be an official weigh in station for the Big Bend tournament, registration will be Thursday evening June 12th at the Port St. Joe Marina. You can leave from here and fish and weigh in catch on Friday June 13th and Saturday June 14th.
    Clara Landry

    big bend

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

  • More on Channel at Dike Break in Northern Gulf ICW between Panama City and Choctawhatchee Bay (Statute Mile 263)

    Dike at Mile 263

    Back in July, we reported that the a narrow, canal-like section of the Northern Gulf ICW (a. k. a. the Gulf Coast Intracoastal Waterway) had been closed, due to the collapse of a dike, following torrential rains, and tons of mud and sand had been washed into the channel. Then, on 8/24/13, we published an article that dredging had partially reopened the channel, but budgetary restrictions had kept the ACOE from widening the channel to its original breadth (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=119741). Skipper Sandberg’s comments are in response to this earlier posting: http://cruisersnet.net/?p=127419

    Passed by red and green markets 2/19/14 heading west to Fort Walton. Sufficient room to pass by both markets IF I do not encounter other traffic headed in opposite heading to yours. Stay alert since marker appear when you may Not be expecting ‘aids to navigation.’!! This was our first time in Grand Canyon.
    Sandy Sandberg

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

  • Vessel Fire in Carrabelle, FL, Northern Gulf Coast

    Carrabelle, FL – Click for Chartview

    This story of a vessel fire in Carrabelle, FL was posted by Captain Janice Marois on her blog, http://janice142.com/, where she was anchored. Initially very frightening, once the fire location was determined and contained, Captain Marois was able to calmly relate and photograph the episode. For photos and the complete story, go to:

    http://janice142.com/Articles/BoatOnFire.html

  • Possible GPS Disruption near Ft. Walton, FL, February 3 -28, 2014

    This Local Notice of possible GPS outages comes to us from our good friend Chuck Baier and the Great Loop Forum.

    This location is near the Ft. Walton Beach area…
    The GPS Navigation signal may be unreliable from February 3-7, 2014; February 10-14, 2014; February 18-21, 2014 and February 24-28, 2014, (each day), from 1500Z until 1800Z, due to testing on GPS frequencies used by shipboard navigation and handheld systems. GPS systems that rely on GPS, such as E-911, AIS and DSC, may be affected within a 15 NM radius of position 30-33-19.02N 086-46-26.04W. During this period GPS users are encouraged to report any GPS service outages that they may experience during this testing, via the navigation information service (NIS) by calling (703) 313-5900 or by using the NAVCEN’s web site GPS report a problem worksheet at http://WWW.NAVCEN.USCG.GOV.
    Chuck, Trawler Beach House
    The Great Book Of Anchorages <http://www.tgboa.com/>
    Navigation Notices <http://www.marinalife.com/navigationUpdates/index.cfm>
    Our Blogs
    Trawler Beach House <http://trawler-beach-house.blogspot.com/>
    Voyages of Sea Trek <http://sea-trek.blogspot.com/

  • Update on Channel at Dike Break in Northern Gulf ICW between Panama City and Choctawhatchee Bay (Statute Mile 263)

    Dike at Mile 263

    Spoke with the Mobile USACE office this AM and the channel at mile 263 has been cleared. The Corp is still working on the dike, but the waterway is navigable. A LNM summary is below.
    See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=121823

    Back in July, we reported that the a narrow, canal-like section of the Northern Gulf ICW (a. k. a. the Gulf Coast Intracoastal Waterway) had been closed, due to the collapse of a dike, following torrential rains, and tons of mud and sand had been washed into the channel. Then, on 8/24/13, we published an article that dredging had partially reopened the channel, but budgetary restrictions had kept the ACOE from widening the channel to its original breadth (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=119741).

    What is most recent update? Planning to use this route on December 9.
    Robert Sisum

    A summary of Local Notices to Mariners posted earlier this year:
    Notice 13-24 stated the channel had been dredged and re-opened. 13-28 announced that there had been some partial shoaling from a second rain event, but since the waterway wasn’t closed we didn’t send a follow-on. There is still some minor shoaling in the area but traffic is moving.
    E. Patrick Robbins
    Chief, Legislative and Public Affairs
    Mobile District, USACE

    We are indebted to Captain Gano, who brought us one of the first reports of the break earlier this summer, for this excellent report from the collapsed dike area:

    Ok, when you last asked me what I knew of the cave-in status at this mile marker, I really didn’t have a lot of information. Today we took a 50-mile round trip over there to blow the cobwebs off the boat and to see what is
    going on. We live east of the area, but since most cruisers come through our area west-to-east, I’ll give the order of what I found heading east. At mile 263 there is still a massive dip in the dike on the south side of the channel. As the accompanying mile 263 photo shows, there is ongoing repair, and it appears that a massive sausage device, probably filled with sand, which may be the base of the repair. Contrary to the last profile of this area I saw on the USCOE website, there appears to be no serious shoaling there. I ran the boat slowly within about a boat length of the south bank and never saw less than about 14 feet of water (tide level was plus .4 foot). I see no problem here for cruisers. There were construction vehicles on site, and there may be waterborne construction craft in the area in the future; so be watching as you come around the turn just before this area.

    Dike at Mile 263

    At mile 265, as shown in the mile 265 photo, there is a break in the seawall on the south bank, but we saw no depth issues as we passed in both directions.

    Wall Collapse

    As shown in the mile 266.6 photo, there has been an unreported partial collapse on the north bank. Needless to say, the north side of the channel should probably be avoided, but we saw no depth issues as we cruised either direction in the center of the channel.

    Partial Cave-in at Mile 266.6

    A little farther on at about mile 266.8 and mile 267.1, I came upon two unlighted temporary buoys. They are new to me and may not be the only buoys in this 15-mile cut between Choctawhatchee Bay and West Bay because we did not go all the way to the westward end of the cut. The westward buoy at mile 266.8 was green and guarded a brown-looking shoal area on the south side of the channel that we could clearly see in the relatively clear water.
    The red buoy at mile 267.1 (on your chart, right at the outflow of West Bay Creek on the north side of the channel) did not guard any particular thing we could see. There were no depth issues running this area.
    All in all, barring serious rainfall (I am talking about in excess of 4-6 inches in a day like that which caused the cave-ins in the first place), the Grand Canyon seems to be in good enough shape for relatively carefree passage for mile 263 eastward. I have heard of no problems to the west of mile 263.
    Rich Gano
    Calypso (1972 Grand Banks 42)
    Panama City, FL

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

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