News Releases

Idle speed, no wake zone activated on stretch of Santa Fe

News Release

Monday, April 01, 2013

Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525

A 32-mile segment of the Santa Fe River is once again an idle-speed, no-wake zone, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials.

Zone 5, which runs from River Rise within O’Leno State Park west to the confluence of the Suwannee River, was activated as an idle-speed, no-wake zone Sunday because of rising water levels.

This area of the river becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Santa Fe River reaches 17 feet as indicated on the Three Rivers gauge, where flood stage is 19 feet.

“The Santa Fe reached that level Sunday. This is the second time in a month that we’ve had to activate this zone. It was originally activated March 3 and then deactivated March 21,” said Capt. Martin Redmond, area supervisor at the FWC’s Lake City office.

An idle-speed, no-wake zone means a vessel must proceed at a speed no greater than required to maintain steerageway and headway. At no time is any vessel required to proceed so slowly the operator is unable to control it or anything it may be towing.

FWC officers will be patrolling this area of the river to ensure the idle-speed, no-wake zone is enforced, Redmond said.

“We don’t expect the zone to be in effect for very long,” Redmond said. “However, the higher water levels can create navigational hazards, such as floating debris, rocks, stumps and shoaling conditions for unsuspecting boaters. We want everyone to be safe.”

The idle-speed, no-wake zone will stay in effect until the water level recedes below 17 feet.

The other four zones are:

  • Zone 1 - from the U.S. 90 Bridge at Ellaville south to the State Road 51 Bridge at Luraville. This 39-mile segment becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 47 feet or more above mean sea level at the Ellaville gauge, where flood stage is 54 feet.
  • Zone 2 - from the S.R. 51 Bridge at Luraville to Little River Spring. This 18-mile segment becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 26 feet or more above mean sea level at the Branford gauge, where flood stage is 29 feet.
  • Zone 3 - from Little River Spring to the County Road 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff. This 23-mile segment becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 24 feet or more above mean sea level at the Branford gauge.
  • Zone 4 - from the C.R. 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff to one mile below the Fowler Bluff Boat Ramp. This 51-mile segment will be an idle-speed, no wake-zone when the Suwannee River reaches 9 feet or more above mean sea level at the Wilcox gauge, where flood stage is 11 feet.

For more information about the flood zones, please call 386-758-0525. To report violations, please call 888-404-3922.  

To obtain real-time river levels, visit www.mysuwanneeriver.com.



FWC Facts:
Most horseshoe crab nesting activity takes place during high tides in the three days before and after a new or full moon.

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