News Releases

New Santa Fe River speed zones enforceable Memorial Day weekend

News Release

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525

Five new slow-speed, minimum-wake zones are now in place on the Santa Fe River and will be in effect during Memorial Day weekend, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and county officials.

The zones are the product of the FWC and the counties responding to boater concerns about safety on the river. Each county that borders the river has created an ordinance to support these new zones.

The five zones are:

  • At the confluence of the Santa Fe and Ichetucknee rivers (Columbia, Suwannee and Gilchrist counties);
  • The U.S. Highway 129 bridge and Guy Lemmon Park boat ramp (Suwannee and Gilchrist counties);
  • At the Sandy Point boat ramp (Suwannee and Gilchrist counties);
  • Ellie Ray’s boat ramp (Suwannee and Gilchrist counties);
  • Butler Landing boat ramp and the confluence of the Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers (Lafayette, Gilchrist and Suwannee counties).

Signs have been posted on the river, marking the beginning and ending of each zone, according to FWC Capt. Martin Redmond, area supervisor.

“This is to improve boating safety on the river,” Redmond said. “The public has expressed concerns about the heavy boating traffic in these areas and the speed at which some boaters are traveling through these congested areas, especially in the areas where boaters congregate or are trying to load and unload their boats. We worked with the counties involved to attempt to resolve these safety concerns, using the minimum amount of regulation necessary.”

Not adhering to the new zones will be a boating infraction that comes with a $50 fine.

“We will be working diligently to educate boaters about these five new zones,” Redmond said. “We will be handing out informational brochures showing the zones and providing a reference for boaters to make sure they understand what the law requires when operating in a slow-speed, minimum-wake zone. Boats must be off plane, fully settled in the water and moving at a speed that makes little or no wake.”

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